The College Football Notebook

April 21, 2010 11:28 AM

Spring Overview: Big 12

Texas will get to reap the fruits of frustration this year. Sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert got trial under fire when he had to step in for Colt McCoy in last year’s BCS National Championship Game. McCoy’s shoulder injury may have cost the Longhorns a national title, but as a consolation, Mack Brown isn’t starting completely from scratch at quarterback anymore. Gilbert played well in the second half against Alabama and nearly pulled off an amazing comeback. Now Brown needs to get him some receivers, as the new signal-callers settles in for the long haul.

Oklahoma is the reverse of last year, when they had Sam Bradford, but little experience elsewhere and were overrated from the start. This year, with vets everywhere, but no quarterback, they are a good candidate to be overlooked in August. Through the rest of the South Division, Texas A&M is the best bet to challenge the Big Two, with most of the defense back, plus explosive quarterback Jerrod Johnson. The future has to be considered bright at Texas Tech with the arrival of new coach Tommy Tuberville, who produced consistent winners at Auburn, including a perfect season in 2004.

Up North, Nebraska is back as the odds-on favorite, so long as they can replace star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. They are the one program that can compete with the powers of the South. Kansas State looks to be moving back to respectability under Bill Snyder and Kansas is beginning a new era with Turner Gill replacing Mark Mangino, and quarterback Todd Reesing having graduated. Colorado’s Dan Hawkins is facing make-or-break time. The imbalance between the two divisions isn’t good for a conference, but it works great for Nebraska’s national title hopes.

Be back Saturday with a look at the Pac-10.

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