The chic pick is Colt McCoy, and McCoy will put up a lot of yards with the receivers he has at his disposal, but the offensive MVP will be the big receiver from Oklahoma State.
Unquestionably the conference's breakout player last season, Bowman sat out all of his first year at Oklahoma State after transferring from North Carolina. He then exploded onto the scene in 2006, catching 60 balls for 1,181 yards (19.7 average) and 12 TDs. While facing constant attention from the defense, Bowman accounted for over half of quarterback Bobby Reid's passing yards.
But was Bowman's 2006 season a fluke? The receiver position is dependent on so many factors for yardage. Was it a statistical anomaly brought on by the right circumstances? Not so fast my friend. Bowman only started playing football his junior year of high school and his ability has grown each year. He's the real deal and if Reid, who only completed 55.4% of his passes last season, can become even a moderately more accurate passer, expect a huge year from Bowman.
Ruud has slowly developed into one of the best defensive players in the Big 12 and is primed for a huge year in 2007. He's started 23 games for the Cornhuskers, racking up 162 tackles while playing primarily on the weak side. For his senior season, the leader of Nebraska's defense will play on the strong side because of his speed, which will allow him to effectively use his pass rushing and coverage skills.
The 6-3, 235-pound Ruud is on the watch list for the Lott, Bednarik and Lombardi awards and will live up to the high bar set at Nebraska by his older brother, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Barrett Ruud.
Texas entered the 2006 season with an abundance of linebackers and the best among them turned out to be an unheralded redshirt freshman named "Muck". For the first three games, Muckelroy was a tackling machine...then he got hurt. Nerve damage in his hand, suffered against Rice, sidelined him for the rest of the season. It kept Muckelroy from playing with a unit that really could have used him, with last seasons linebackers turning into more of a liability than they were a strength and were plagued by injuries.
The entirety of that linebacking corps is back, they're healthy and Muckelroy will once again be the best on the team. 2007 will be the breakout season that Muck should have had last year.
To say the Buffaloes enter 2007 with question marks on the offensive line would be the understatement of the year. Colorado had only seven offensive linemen available in spring to work under its third offensive line coach in as many years. This massive gap is also why CU's 2007 recruiting class contained eight offensive linemen.
The best in the group is Miller. The 6'8", 310-pound mauler has the size and skill to step in immediately at the position and he may have to for redshirt freshman QB Cody Hawkins to stay on his feet.
Best True Freshman Performance, Defense - Curtis Brown, CB, Texas
With a sophomore (Deon Beasley) and a redshirt freshman (Chykie Brown) potentially the starters at corner, a lot of young players will need to step up in the defensive backfield. One of those players in Curtis Brown and not only will he step up, but he'll be the top true freshman defender in the conference.
Field awareness and smooth movement in pads is important at any position, but it's especially important at corner and Brown's got it. He may not be the fastest (although he's fast) and he may not be the biggest (although he is tough), but he's a gamer and should emerge out of untested depth of the Texas secondary.
That's the Big 12 Preseason awards for 2007. Hopefully I won't be nearly as wrong as I was last year.