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Nebraska or Missouri? Plus, Big 12 WR team rankings
An intriguing Big 12 North battle will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday night: Nebraska (3-1) at Missouri (4-0).
I want to know who everyone's taking. Feel free to post your score prediction below.
My prediction: Nebraska 28, Missouri 27.
For more analysis on Thursday night's game, along with a preview for the rest of the action taking place in the Big 12 this weekend, check out the latest edition of ConferenceChatterTV below:
The Big 12 continues to put up monster offensive numbers in 2009.
After the non-conference season, the conference occupies four of the top 10 spots in scoring offense. They are:
- 1. Texas: 49.5 points scored per game
- 6. Kansas: 40.5
- 9. Nebraska: 39.25
- 10. Oklahoma State: 39
The conference also represents nine of the top 20 scoring offenses in the country.
Some of the best skill players continue to play in the Big 12. KUSports poster suttonku posed an interesting question in my blog last weekend: He asked me to rank the wide receiver crews in the Big 12.
Here are my rankings, based on production on the field this season:
Dezmon Briscoe, pictured above, leads all Big 12 receivers with 110 yards per game. Kerry Meier possesses the surest hands in the conference and averages 6.75 grabs per game, fourth in the conference.
Meier has really turned it on lately, with 18 catches and three scores in his last two games (compared to nine catches and no scores the first two games).
Johnathan Wilson (15 catches, 189 yards) has had some issues with drops, but is still one of the better third wide receivers in the conference. True freshman Bradley McDougald (18-180) is an outstanding fourth option. Meier, a senior, is gone after this year and there's a good chance the junior Briscoe will be gone to the NFL. The future of the KU receiving corps is safe with McDougald.
Jordan Shipley leads the conference with 36 receptions through four games. I think he has an NFL future in the right system. He's three inches taller than Wes Welker, but could play a similar role in the right offense.
Malcolm Williams (7-73) hasn't blossomed into the big-play, deep threat UT envisioned, but he's still only a sophomore. And at the factory that is Texas, there are plenty of other options. Like sophomore Dan Buckner (pictured above), who's probably been the most pleasant surprise for UT this season with 23 receptions, 294 yards and four scores. Buckner and Shipley's 59 combined receptions are more than any other two receivers on the same team in the Big 12.
Converted quarterback John Chiles (15-155-2) gives UT quality depth that only Kansas can match in the Big 12.
3. Texas Tech
The Red Raiders have a plethora of options through the air in Mike Leach's pass-happy attack. Tech has 17 passing touchdowns, more than any team in the Big 12.
Junior Lyle Leong has five TD grabs, while emerging deep threat Tramain Swindall has four. Alexander Torres is second in the conference with 29 catches.
And I haven't mentioned Detron Lewis (22-285-2) or Ed Britton (18-174-1). It could be argued the Red Raiders have the most receiver depth in the Big 12. They just don't have a star as polished as Briscoe or Shipley.
Danario Alexander and Jared Perry (pictured above) form a respectable 1-2 combo for the Tigers. Alexander (29-404-4) is showing no signs of weakness in his surgically repaired knee, while Perry (25-381-5) is showing no weakness in his surgically repaired shoulder. The duo has formed an immediate rapport with quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
5. Oklahoma State
Dez Bryant, pictured above, was ruled ineligible by Oklahoma State on Wednesday, and his status for this weekend's game against Texas A&M is questionable. When Bryant, who has 17 catches for 323 yards and four scores, does play, he's one of the best receivers in college football.
Oklahoma State's only problem is it doesn't really have a second receiving option. If the Cowboys did, they would be considerably higher in my rankings.
The Sooners, with Ryan Broyles (23-346-7), could be higher on the list. However, Broyles will miss the next 2-4 weeks with a fractured left shoulder blade. That leaves Brandon Caleb, Cameron Kenny and Mossis Madu.
7. Texas A&M
Similar story to Oklahoma. With Jeff Fuller and Ryan Tannehill, the Aggies form one of the most underrated WR duos in the conference. With Fuller out possibly another month with a broken leg, the Aggies enter the rankings a little lower.
8. Kansas State
Brandon Banks (23 catches) is K-State's best receiver, while Attrail Snipes (22.9 yards per catch) is a solid deep threat. After Banks, however, no K-State receiver has more than nine catches. The inspired play by quarterback Grant Gregory of late could help these numbers.
Kendall Wright and David Gettis are solid, but the absence of Robert Griffin for the rest of the season, combined with the uncertain status of backup Blake Szymanski, could hinder the receivers' production.
Scotty McKnight's 29 catches are tied for second in the conference, but the inconsistent play at quarterback won't help too much in Big 12 play. And the Buffaloes don't have a proven No. 2 receiver.
To the Cornhuskers' credit, they don't really need a star wide receiver because of how well they run the ball with Roy Helu Jr., and how well they use their tight end, Mike McNeill. That's probably why Niles Paul leads Nebraska receivers with only 10 catches on the season.
12. Iowa State
Senior Marquis Hamilton (18-313-2) is a nice presence, but that's about it.
As always, discuss.