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In a season of surprises, no league provided more shockers in 2007 than the Big 12. From surprising teams (Missouri and Kansas) to surprising results (Colorado over Oklahoma, Kansas State over Texas), the conference opened plenty of eyes last season. The big question this season: Can the upstarts prove they have staying power while the traditional powers (Texas, Oklahoma) try to retain their places?
Missouri would appear to have a better chance than Kansas to be a 2008 contender thanks to its schedule. Last season, the Jayhawks had the good fortune to miss the South Division’s big three: Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech. This fall, they face all three, plus a road trip to dangerous South Florida. Missouri, meanwhile, has a road date at Texas, but skips Oklahoma, which handed the Tigers their only two defeats a year ago. Missouri QB Chase Daniel will have plenty of chances to pad his Heisman resume while throwing to Jeremy Maclin, one of the nation’s top receivers as a freshman.
It appears the Texas-Oklahoma rivalry will resume its place as the most important in the Big 12, unless Texas Tech can get in the way. The Red Raiders, who return with prolific quarterback Graham Harrell and receiver Michael Crabtree, plus perhaps their best defense of the Mike Leach era, could be 8-0 when Texas visits Lubbock on November 1.