Published: August 24, 2008
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Baylor Bears
•Coach: Art Briles, first season at Baylor, sixth overall (34-28)

•2007 record: 3-9 (0-8, 6th Big 12 South)

•Returning starters: 15 (9 offense, 6 defense)

•Key players: LB Joe Pawelek, WR David Gettis, LT Jason Smith, WR Thomas White, DE Jason Lamb, DT Vincent Rhodes, FS Jordan Lake.

•Coachspeak: "The biggest challenge, without a doubt, is I feel like when people haven't had a lot of success, a lot of times they're scared of success.” — Briles.

•The straight dirt: Ah, Baylor. The Bears are still the doormat of the league following another winless conference season. But, with a new coach, can they upgrade into a speed bump?

Colorado Buffaloes
•Coach: Dan Hawkins, third season at Colorado (8-17), 13th overall (100-40-1)

•2007 record: 6-7 (4-4, 3rd Big 12 North)

•Returning starters: 14 (6 offense, 8 defense).

•Key players: DT George Hypolite, QB Cody Hawkins, TB Darrell Scott, OL Ryan Miller, WR Josh Smith

•Coachspeak: "I tell our guys, life asks you to be your best every day, but our schedule demands it.” — Hawkins.

•The straight dirt: Hawkins appears to be turning things around with the Buffs, who have Darrell Scott, the nation's top running back recruit in the fold. He could quickly join DeMarco Murray among the top RBs in the conference.

Iowa State Cyclones
•Coach: Gene Chizik, second season at Iowa State and overall (3-9)

•2007 record: 3-9 (2-6, tied for 5th Big 12 North)

•Returning starters: 14 (7 offense, 7 defense)

•Key players: DE Kurtis Taylor, LB Jesse Smith, WR R.J. Sumrall, P Mike Brandtner

•Coachspeak: "There's no superstars on our team. Leadership is an action, not a position. No one's appointed that, you earn it by what you do. I think our guys understand that” — Chizik.

•The straight dirt: Chizik tries to keep the rebuilding effort going, but its not going to be easy. The rest of the North is getting better, while the Cyclones look for some talent to build around.

Kansas Jayhawks
•Coach: Mark Mangino, seventh season (32-36)

•2007 record: 12-1 (7-1 Big 12, second Big 12 North)

•Returning starters: 6 offense, 9 defense

•Key players: QB Todd Reesing, QB/WR Kerry Meier, LB Mike Rivera, RB Jake Sharp.

•Coachspeak: "The kids' confidence level is very high, much higher than it's ever been. I tell the kids all the time ... if you have confidence, you can take challenges on in life.” — Mangino

•The straight dirt: With the success of last season, Kansas is arguably the best football-basketball combo in the conference. But the Jayhawks have to deal with several key losses on both sides of the ball and a surging Missouri program that handed them their only loss of last season.

Kansas State Wildcats
•Coach: Ron Prince, third season at Kansas State and overall (12-13)

•2007 record: 5-7 (3-5, 4th Big 12 North)

•Returning starters: 12 (7 offense, 5 defense)

•Key players: QB Josh Freeman, WR Deon Murphy, TE Jeron Mastrud, DE Ian Campbell, LB Reggie Walker, DB Chris Carney

•Coachspeak: "Every year, we want to win the championship and some years we feel like we've got the team to do it.




Jeremy Maclin

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