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Big 12 at a glance

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A capsule look at the teams in predicted order of finish


1. TEXAS — Whoever wins the QB battle will still run the sprint draw that Vince Young used to perfection, "but we probably won't have the third down-and-30 scrambles that we had for first downs," coach Mack Brown said ... Redshirt tight end Jermichael Finley (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) is drawing rave reviews ... Starting safety Michael Griffin could be joined in the secondary by twin brother Marcus.

2. OKLAHOMA — Senior QB Paul Thompson will start his second straight opener for the Sooners. Rhett Bomar replaced him in Week 2 and Thompson was later moved to receiver ... J.D. Quinn, who started four games at right guard last season and was Bomar's roommate, also was thrown off the team ... Adrian Peterson — who is within 1,086 yards of breaking Billy Sims' school career record — was voted preseason offensive player of the year. LB Rufus Alexander was picked the top defender.

3. TEXAS TECH — After six years of leading the nation in passing while plugging in seemingly any ol' quarterback, Mike Leach is finally going to have a highly touted prospect take over. But will it be sophomore Graham Harrell, a former Texas prep star, or redshirt freshman Chris Todd of Kentucky? ... The Red Raiders have gotten rid of AstroTurf and switched to FieldTurf.

4. TEXAS A&M — Sophomore QB Stephen McGee got his first start in the season finale against Texas because Reggie McNeal was hurt and won over fans with his tenacious effort, plus his 108 yards rushing and two TDs ... Coach Dennis Franchione switched defensive coordinators, asking former Texas coordinator Gary Darnell to rebuild a secondary that ranked last in Division I-A.

5. BAYLOR — Look out for a new offense imported from Division II, where it averaged 364 passing yards and 40 points per game for West Texas A&M ... The Bears are coming off a 5-6 season. Two overtime losses prevented them from having a winning record for the first time since the Big 12 began 10 seasons ago.

6. OKLAHOMA STATE — DE Victor DeGrate came up with the nickname "The Regulators" for the defense during a meeting last spring ... After winning two NCAA heavyweight wrestling titles, Steve Mocco is trying football. He'll be tried at defensive tackle, although he may not make it onto the field.


1. NEBRASKA — The Cornhuskers were the media's pick to win the North ... Coach Bill Callahan's conversion to a passing offense resulted in an average of 96 yards rushing per game, worst in the Big 12 last season. Much more is expected this season from TBs Cody Glenn, Marlon Lucky, Brandon Jackson and juco transfer Kenny Wilson.

2. IOWA STATE — In his 12th season, Dan McCarney is now the dean of Big 12 coaches ... DT Brent Curvey, LB Adam Carper and CB DeAndre Jackson are the only full-time starters in place from the unit that allowed the fewest points in the North division last year ... Senior RB Stevie Hicks, who had three 100-yard games last season but also was slowed by injuries, says he's 100 percent healthy.

3. COLORADO — New coach Dan Hawkins has won over players and fans since replacing Gary Barnett. Hawkins went 53-11 over five years at Boise State and much has been made of his fun-loving approach ... Hawkins' son, Cody, is a freshman competing for time at quarterback. Juniors Brian White and Bernard Jackson are the front-runners to replace Joel Klatt.

4. KANSAS — The Jayhawks should win more games simply because Texas A&M, Baylor and Oklahoma State replace Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Texas on their schedule ... Jayhawks fans are excited about their new starting QB, freshman Kerry Meier.

5. MISSOURI — Coming off their second bowl victory in 24 years, the Tigers must replace Brad Smith, a four-year starter at QB ... Sophomore QB Chase Daniel is the favorite after leading Mizzou to an OT win over Iowa State when Smith was hurt.

6. KANSAS STATE — Bill Snyder, who turned the former "Mildcats" into a national power, retired after a second straight losing season and was replaced by 36-year-old Ron Prince, who had been Virginia's offensive coordinator ... The QB battle is between Dylan Meier, who missed last season with a shoulder injury; sophomore Allan Evridge and freshman Josh Freeman.