11 to 2
Head coach Bill Callahan arrived in Lincoln three seasons ago ready to return the Cornhuskers to a national power while bringing the West coast offense to the heartland. Surprisingly enough it might be the Huskers defense that wins them their first Big 12 championship since 1999. Last year’s defensive unit was ranked in the top 10 nationally after recording 50 sacks and 140 tackles for a loss. This year’s squad will be very experienced led by the return of defensive ends Adam Carriker and Jay Moore. Of course the offense will still need to put points on the board to win games and it should be ready to do so. Senior quarterback Zac Taylor is positioned to set many of the all-time passing records at Nebraska thanks to a unit that now has a better understanding of Callahan’s system. No Big 12 schedule is easy but the Huskers catch a break as Texas comes to Lincoln and two of the division road games are at Iowa St. and Kansas St. Their South division cross-over games, although not easy at Oklahoma St. and Texas A & M, are better than facing Oklahoma and Texas Tech. National Championships are still expected in Lincoln and this squad could be the team to take the first step.
6 to 1
The Iowa Hawkeyes finished 5-3 last season and no team in the Big Ten can look back with more what ifs regarding not winning the title than the Hawkeyes. In order to win a conference title everything needs to fall into place and 2006 looks like it could be the year for Iowa. On the field they will have senior quarterback Drew Tate back to lead the offense. Tate might not be getting all the pre-season hype of Ohio St.’s Troy Smith and Michigan’s Chad Henne but if you’re just looking to win games Tate would be the pick in the conference. The offense also looks to feature 1,000 yard rusher Albert Young. Defensively, they will have to fill holes at linebacker but that will not be as tough a task as they will have one of the best d-lines in the Big Ten. The unbalanced schedule in the Big Ten leaves Penn St. and Michigan St. missing this year. The Hawkeyes have more than enough talent to be favorites in at least all conference games except the big two – Ohio St and Michigan. Those two games should decide the title. Ohio St. comes to Kinnick Stadium in September allowing Iowa to catch the Buckeyes early. That could make the trip to the Big House in October the Big 10 championship game.
6 to 1
At most universities the graduation of a multiple year starter at quarterback ufabet สเต็ป2 usually means trouble for the program. This theory may be proven wrong at Clemson this year. The Tigers will miss Charlie Whitehurst but the immense talent that Tommy Bowden has stockpiled at Clemson will make this a re-load not a re-build season. Last year’s Tigers finished 8-4 with all four losses decided by six points or less and two coming in overtime. An experienced team with close game experience – sounds like a team primed for an ACC title run. This year’s schedule calls for road games at Boston College, Florida St and Virginia Tech. Brutal except that the Tigers experienced defensive unit should be able to hold their own. The same can be said on offense. Whitehurst’s replacement, senior Will Proctor could not ask for a better situation as the offensive line returns totally intact which will help in the hostile environments. If that experience can keep the Tigers in the hunt early, they should be in good shape down the stretch as three of the last four conference games are at Death Valley. It also does not hurt their title chances that Miami does not appear on the schedule this year.