The Fog of '09 - South Defenses

Defensive Lines

  1. Oklahoma (DEs Auston English & Jeremy Beal, DTs Gerald McCoy & DeMarcus Granger)
  2. Texas Tech (DTs Colby Whitlock & Richard Jones, DEs Brandon Williams & McKinner Dixon)
  3. Oklahoma State (DEs Ugo Chinasa, Derek Burton)
  4. Texas (DT Lamarr Houston, DEs Sam Acho & Eddie Jones)
  5. Baylor (DT Trey Bryant, DE Jason Lamb)
  6. Texas A&M (DTs Lucas Patterson & Tony Jerod-Eddie)

That's right, all four of OU's DL starters (plus DT Adrian Taylor) return.  Granted, any of them could choose to go pro, but a) I doubt it, and b) if so I'd still probably have OU's line #1.

Linebackers

  1. Oklahoma (Travis Lewis, Ryan Reynolds, Austin Box)
  2. Texas (Sergio Kindle--for now, Roddrick Muckelroy, Jared Norton)
  3. Oklahoma State (Orie Lemon, Patrick Lavine, Andre Sexton)
  4. Texas Tech (Brian Duncan, Marlon Williams, Bront Bird)
  5. Baylor (Joe Pawelek, Antonio Jones, Antonio Johnson)
  6. Texas A&M (Von Miller, Anthony Lewis, Garrick Williams)

Seriously, OU is going to have BY FAR the best front seven in the conference.  Their offense might struggle from time to time, but they'll still be in the South hunt because of a stud defense.  Beyond OU, there's pretty much a logjam.  If Sergio Kindle decides to go pro, then UT's LBs possibly fall to about #4 or #5 because OSU, Tech and Baylor all return pretty competent units almost intact.

Defensive Backs

  1. Texas (CBs Chykie Brown & Deon Beasley, Ss Earl Thomas & Blake Gideon)
  2. Oklahoma (CBs Dominique Franks, Brian Jackson)
  3. Baylor (S Jordan Lake, CB Antareis Bryan)
  4. Texas Tech (CBs Jamar Wall & Brent Nickerson)
  5. Texas A&M (CB Jordan Pugh, S Jordan Peterson)
  6. Oklahoma State (CB Perrish Cox, ...?)

Texas aside, everybody's secondary takes a step backwards.  The Longhorn secondary, however, will be STOUT.

South Defenses, 2009

  1. Oklahoma (17)
  2. Texas (14)
  3. Texas Tech (11)
  4. Oklahoma State (9)
  5. Baylor (8)
  6. Texas A&M (4)

I'm starting to get the indication that Mike Sherman's second year at ATM won't be much better than his first.  ATM is young, and they'll have some talent, but at some point they fell a step (or more) behind everybody else in the South.

Special Teams

  1. Oklahoma State (K Dan Bailey, PR Dez Bryant, KR Perrish Cox)
  2. Oklahoma (PR Ryan Broyles, KR DeMarco Murray, K Jimmy Stevens)
  3. Texas (K Hunter Lawrence, P Justin Tucker, KR Malcolm Williams)
  4. Texas Tech (K Donnie Carona, P Jonathan LaCour, KR Edward Britton)
  5. Baylor (KR Mikail Baker, K Ben Parks, P Derek Epperson)
  6. Texas A&M (PR Jordan Pugh, KR Cyrus Gray, ...?)

No complete unit among the group, but OSU is the closest.

Coaches

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Texas
  3. Oklahoma State
  4. Texas Tech
  5. Baylor
  6. Texas A&M

If I rank them again in 5 minutes, I'll probably get a completely different order.  I didn't say this was scientific.

2009 South Rankings

  1. Texas (43)
  2. Oklahoma (43)
  3. Oklahoma State (40)
  4. Texas Tech (29)
  5. Baylor (19)
  6. Texas A&M (15)

Honestly, with the status of OU's offense, this surprises me, but there OU is, right in the thick of things.  So how do the schedules shake out?

--

-- Schedules --

Baylor

10/10 - at Oklahoma
10/17 - at Iowa State
10/24 - Oklahoma State
10/31 - Nebraska
11/7 - at Missouri
11/14 - Texas
11/21 - at Texas A&M
11/28 - Texas Tech

North schedule: @ ISU, NU, @ MU.  An unfortunate slate for Baylor, really.  Yeah, they can probably take out NU at home, but traveling to Ames makes that one something of a tossup (I picked ISU in Monday's North preview, and I'm already regretting that one) and traveling to Columbia gives MU an edge there.  I say 1-2.

South home slate: OSU, UT, Tech.  Hmm.  They're going to win one of these games, but I'm not sure which one.  Tech, maybe?  We'll go with Tech.  Two upsets here is possibly too much to ask, but it's not unthinkable.  1-2.

South road slate: @ OU, @ ATM.  You know Baylor will be gunning for their first bowl since Grant Teaff next year, and with a likely 3-1 non-conference record (@ Wake Forest, UConn, NW'ern State, Kent State), the bowl bid might come down to the ATM game.  They stomped ATM in Waco this year...but for now we'll go with the home team.  0-2.

Waaaaaaay too early prediction:  2-6.

Oklahoma

10/10 - Baylor
10/17 - vs Texas
10/24 - at Kansas
10/31 - Kansas State
11/7 - at Nebraska
11/14 - Texas A&M
11/21 - at Texas Tech
11/28 - Oklahoma State

North schedule: @ KU, KSU, @ NU.  The trip to Lincoln could be iffy, as could the trip to Lawrence, but...for now I'm sticking with 3-0.

South home slate: Baylor, ATM, OSU.  Clearly, getting OSU at Owen Field is big.  3-0.

South road slate: vs UT, @ Tech.  Only one true South road game for OU in '09, which gives them nice opportunity to break in a new O-line and possibly a new QB with fewer setbacks.  But the youth will still bite them here.  I favor UT in Dallas, and the trip to Lubbock screams "setback".  0-2.

Waaaaaaay too early prediction: 6-2.

Oklahoma State

10/10 - at Texas A&M
10/17 - Missouri
10/24 - at Baylor
10/31 - Texas
11/7 - at Iowa State
11/14 - Texas Tech
11/21 - Colorado
11/28 - at Oklahoma

North schedule: MU, @ISU, CU.  This sets up very well for OSU.  The trip to Ames might be a landmine if the Jack Trice Winds play a factor...but probably not.  3-0.

South home slate: UT, Tech.  BIG games here.  I say they beat Tech, but...Texas? Are they ready for that?  That could decide the South right there.  I change my mind later, I'm sure, but I'm going to say yes...yes, they can win that game.  2-0.

South road slate: @ATM, @BU, @OU.  The Baylor trip could be a major landmine, but we'll say OSU pulls it off for now.  They still lose to OU, though.  2-1.

Waaaaaaay too early prediction: 7-1.

Texas

10/10 - Colorado
10/17 - vs Oklahoma
10/24 - at Missouri
10/31 - at Oklahoma State
11/7 - Texas Tech
11/14 - at Baylor
11/21 - Kansas
11/28 - at Texas A&M

North schedule: CU, @MU, KU.  Yeah, 3-0.

South home slate: vs OU, Tech.  Only one true South home game, but they'll TCB.  2-0.

South road slate: @OSU, @BU, @ATM.  I said OSU would win?  Guess that means 2-1.

Waaaaaaay too early prediction: 7-1.

Texas A&M

10/10 - Oklahoma State
10/17 - at Kansas State
10/24 - at Texas Tech
10/31 - Iowa State
11/7 - at Colorado
11/14 - at Oklahoma
11/21 - Baylor
11/28 - Texas

North schedule: @KSU, ISU, @CU.  3-0?  0-3?  Anything's possible here.  I'll go homefield and say 1-2.

South home slate: OSU, BU, UT.  1-2.

South road slate: @Tech, @OU.  0-2.

Waaaaaaay too early prediction: 2-6.

Texas Tech

10/10 - Kansas State
10/17 - at Nebraska
10/24 - Texas A&M
10/31 - Kansas
11/7 - at Texas
11/14 - at Oklahoma State
11/21 - Oklahoma
11/28 - at Baylor

North schedule: KSU, @NU, KU.  2-1.

South home slate: @UT, @OSU, @BU.  Tech's been much better on the road this year than previous years, but without Harrell and Crabtree (and over half the O-line), there will be regression.  I'll still have them beating BU, but that's it.  1-2.

South road slate: ATM, OU.  2-0.

Waaaaaaay too early prediction: 5-3.

Standings

  1. Oklahoma State 7-1
  2. Texas 7-1
  3. Oklahoma 6-2
  4. Texas Tech 5-3
  5. Baylor 2-6
  6. Texas A&M 2-6

Summary

I don't think I'm giving Baylor enough credit.  They'll probably beat ATM or OSU or something, but who knows.  Also, I'm probably giving OSU too much credit--expectations could overtake them.  Honestly I'm already wanting to bump UT ahead of OSU and BU ahead of ATM, but that's just me thinking too hard.

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