The people have spoken in my recent poll, and they have told me they want more posts looking at the 2008 football season. Ask and you shall receive.
Today, I will do what I did last summer and look at each Big 12 North team's schedule and make a wildly inaccurate prediction for each game. I stick to conference games because I really have no interest in picking games between BCS teams and South-Central Idaho Tech. In this post, I'll look at the North, in the near future I'll take an even wilder stab at the South.
1. Missouri: I hate to brag, but last year I was the one who picked Missouri to win the North when everyone else said they'd Pinkel themselves in the big moment. With Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin back, I am once again picking Mizzou to represent the North, this time in nearby Kansas City. Here's how I see MU's conference schedule breaking down.
Predicted Finish: 7-1
10/4, @ Nebraska: Win for MU. I get it. Mizzou hasn't won in Lincoln since the Magna Carta was written. But Nebraska's defense has a couple (thousand) question marks, and we've seen what Daniel, Maclin and Pinkel can do to a defense that isn't on top of its game. I find it hard to believe the change in the teams and the game's venue is worth five touchdowns this year.
10/11, vs. Oklahoma State: Win for MU. It may be one helluva shootout, because I doubt OSU's defense will do much to stand in MU's way. Probably will be the first solid conference test of Mizzou's defense, as I expect Nebraska's offense will be more like sparklers than shock-and-awe.
10/18, @ Texas: Loss for MU. Mizzou has much more than a fighter's chance in this one, but in games you get up for (and Mizzou has become a team you get up for), Texas is tough to beat in Austin.
10/25, vs. Colorado: Win for MU. While improved, Colorado will wilt in Columbia.
11/1, @ Baylor: Win for MU. Not much to say here. Art Briles will find out MU's offense makes Tulsa's look like pee-wee football.
11/8, vs. K-State: Win for MU. Hate picking against my Cats, but last time we went to Columbia it was a thorough disaster. Last year in Manhattan wasn't much better.
11/15, @ Iowa State: Win for MU. See comments on the Colorado game.
11/29, vs. KU (at Arrowhead): Win for MU. A week to prepare and a KU team that will still be solid, but not up to last year's standard.
2. KU: Unsurprisingly, my KU predictions last year were by far my most inaccurate, but who can say they predicted the first EF6 tornado? Yeah, didn't think so. A tougher schedule should bring less success this year for the 'beakers, but I don't see a precipitous drop.
Predicted Finish: 4-4
10/4, @ Iowa State: Win for KU. Just can't see ISU firing on more than two of its four cylinders at this point.
10/11, vs. Colorado: Win for KU. Even in Lawrence I think the Buffs will be a test, but KU gets by with a passing grade.
10/18, @ Oklahoma: Loss for KU. The best team in the conference. On the road. Yeah, this one will be tough.
10/25, vs. Texas Tech: Loss for KU. This one is a very close call for me. With defense as its strength, KU is one of the teams that has a chance to slow down Tech. But Tech has a habit of neutralizing good defenses, and I'm not sure KU can score enough points to keep up if they do.
11/1, vs. K-State: Win for KU. Ouch. It's a rivalry game, after all, so you never know, but I'm only betting on K-State in this one if I'm playing with house money.
11/8, @ Nebraska: Win for KU. The 'beaks are yet another team that hasn't won in Lincoln since Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, but this is their best chance.
11/15, vs. Texas: Loss for KU. Another game in which KU will probably be more competitive than I'd like to admit, but I see the Horns pulling it out. Plus, I'd pay good money to see another Mark Mangino press conferece where the main subject is, that's right, dollar signs.
11/29, vs. Missouri (at Arrowhead Stadium): Loss for KU. See above comments.
3. Colorado: I guess I'm repeating the popular refrain for the team from Boulder. I expect steady improvement from Colorado again this season. Nothing spectacular, no break-out season, but improvement.
Predicted Finish: 4-4
10/4, vs. Texas: Loss for CU. Not a very warm reception to conference play with the Horns coming to Boulder. At least it's in Boulder...I guess.
10/11, @ KU: Loss for CU. Tough start to conference play.
10/18, vs. K-State: Loss for CU. OK, my homerism has now surfaced. But K-State has really had Dan Hawkins' number, handling CU handily in Boulder two years ago and in Manhattan last year.
10/25, @ Missouri: Loss for CU. Am I really predicting 0-4 for CU? I'm probably insane.
11/1, @ Texas A&M: Win for CU. New coach. Average players. And yet, a home loss to a mediocre North school. Get me a straight-jacket and some electro-shock therapy.
11/8, vs. Iowa State: Win for CU. Could be an interesting look at two programs that are probably on their way up, be it ever so slowly. That said, CU is further along than ISU.
11/15, vs. Oklahoma State: Win for CU. Pokes will be gasping for air in the moun-ains.
11/28, @ Nebraska: Win for CU. The Buffs absolutely rammed Nebraska last year, and as much as Husker fans don't want to admit it, last year does still have some bearing on this year. This is a total toss-up game for me.
4. K-State: Probably the biggest wildcard in the conference this year. If the "gamble" on the junior college recruits pays off, a solid season may be had. If not...*shudder*
Predicted Finish: 3-5
10/4, vs. Texas Tech: Loss for K-State. What's this? A conference opener at home? Unfortunately, it's against the loaded Red Raiders. A win would set the tone for a successful conference campaign.
10/11, @ Texas A&M: Loss for K-State. It pains me to pick this one, and I think it should be a tight game, but I can't pick us in the home of the 12th Man.
10/18, @ Colorado: Win for K-State. Cats pull out a victory when they need it most.
10/25, vs. Oklahoma: Loss for K-State. Could this be a Texas-2006-style upset? I doubt it, but I certainly hope so.
11/1, @ KU: Loss for K-State. Gag. See above.
11/8, @ Mizzou: Loss for K-State. Sigh.
11/15, vs. Nebraska: Win for K-State. Pelini accuses Prince of not running the score up on NU.
11/22, vs. Iowa State: Win for K-State. Total opposite of last year's season finale, and maybe, just maybe enough to push K-State into the postseason.
5. Nebraska: Not much place to go but up for a team that went 2-6 in conference last year. Will we see improvement under Bo Pelini? Who knows, but we do know his press conferences should be far more entertaining than Bill Callahan's.
Predicted Finish: 2-6
10/4, vs. Missouri: Loss for NU. See above. Mizzou is pretty good this year.
10/11, @ Texas Tech: Loss for NU. On the bright side, with Pelini at the helm, they shouldn't give up 70 points this time.
10/18, @ Iowa State: Win for NU. Probably a tougher game than NU partisans will want, but I don't see the Clones having enough to pull it out.
10/25, vs. Baylor: Win for NU. Art Briles finds Lincoln is a more difficult road destination than...Rice.
11/1, @ Oklahoma: Loss for NU. The biggest drama coming from this game should be whether Pelini can one-up Callahan's "fucking hillbillies" comment from four years ago.
11/8, vs. KU: Loss for NU. See comments above.
11/15, @ K-State: Loss for NU. This one comes with an asterisk, specifically because I'm assuming that Ron Prince's players will still be trying at this point.
11/28, vs. Colorado: Loss for NU. A home loss to the Buffs won't sit well with the natives, especially if it denies the Huskers a bowl trip.
6. Iowa State: Gene Chizik probably knows what he's doing, but it's going to take him a while to prove it in Ames.
Predicted Finish: 1-7
10/4, vs. KU: Loss for ISU. See comments above.
10/11, @ Baylor: Win for ISU. Art Briles learns ISU is a little tougher than...Rice.
10/18, vs. Nebraska: Loss for ISU. See comments above.
10/25, vs. Texas A&M: Loss for ISU. Probably a decent chance for a home win against a team with a new coach. But if I picked A&M to lose this one, who would I pick them to beat? Yeah, it worries me to think about it, too.
11/1, @ Oklahoma State: Loss for ISU. Tough trip to Stillwater.
11/8, @ Colorado: Loss for ISU. See comments above.
11/15, vs. Missouri: Loss for ISU. The Clones were surprisingly tough in Columbia last year, but I don't see them getting it done this year.
11/22, @ K-State: Loss for ISU. See comments above.
Though I don't know how anyone could possibly disagree with such airtight logic, post your thoughts in the comments.