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Aggies, Wildcats teams to watch during 2003 Big 12 football season families

Sept. 5, 2003

Aggies, Wildcats teams to watch during 2003 Big 12 football season

By Matt Richards, columnist

Welcome Baylor fans to the weekly sports column where we tackle the major sports issues facing the world. If you're the kind of person who loves sports and loves to talk sports, I invite you to help provide some material for this regular sports chat. To inaugurate this column, let's divulge into the Big 12 football players and games to watch this year.

First up, the Baylor Bears. I know you're about ready to skip this section because there's always 'that guy' that picks Baylor to go to a bowl or win the Big 12. By the way, that guy usually is writing obituaries the next year. The player to keep your eye on this year is defensive end Khari Long. In case you didn't go to the UAB game, #91 was everywhere.

Baylor will have a chance for an upset Oct. 4 against Colorado, who had trouble defeating its nemesis, Colorado State. Baylor may be facing them with big wins against SMU and Sam Houston State.

The team to watch is without a doubt the Kansas State Wildcats. KSU has the easiest schedule in the north, having only two tough away games against Nebraska and Texas. At home, their stadium in frigid Manhattan, Kansas, is the NCAA equivalent of the Packers' Lambeau Field. Nobody wins there unless they practice in the Arctic.

The player to watch on their team and in the Heisman race is quarterback Ell Roberson, who had an outstanding 2001 campaign, completing 52 percent of his passes while throwing only four interceptions. Keep your eye on him and his scrappy running back Darren Sproles.

Although, it's still KSU's year in the north, thanks to the formerly hated but now beloved Nebraska quarterback, Jammal Lord, the Huskers are back on track. Watch for Lord and Nebraska to turn some heads this year and make it to a bowl game.

However, the main show will still be in the Big 12 South. As is tradition, the big game will be the Red River shootout between the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas, who thankfully is free of the dead weight of former quarterback Chris Simms. New quarterback Chance Mock eventually will be the answer to the Longhorns and coach Mack Brown's big-game phobia, but not this year.

The ghost of Major Applewhite and the inability of Cedric Benson to run consistently will leave the Longhorns faithful a sad drive back to Austin. Look for OU and its defense to dominate the south again this year.

The last team to watch is Texas A&M University. Even though it's the team I love to hate, the addition of head Coach Dennis Franchione and the decision to start sophomore quarterback Reggie McNeal was a great move for the Aggies. McNeal, debatably the best Texas high school football player in 25 years, is a lot of fun to watch. With the ability to run 40 yards in 4.3 seconds and the arm strength of Troy Aikman, look for him to be the Michael Vick of the Big 12.

Just like Vick, he gives the Aggies the potential to win any game this year. Look for McNeal to show up the Longhorns in College Station during the traditional Thanksgiving showdown.