Nine days before Iowa State becomes the first Big 12 team to kick off the season, here are some August story lines from the 10 teams outside of Oklahoma:
•Colorado: Darrell Scott, the nation's top-rated high school running back, was projected to give Colorado's running game a huge lift. The surprise has been that three true freshmen running backs have impressed coaches. Ray Polk and Rodney Stewart have run so well the Buffaloes might not redshirt any of their three freshmen backs. Polk, from Scottsdale, Ariz., was another highly ranked recruit. Stewart, from Westerville, Ohio, is undersized and is being labeled the steal of the class. •Kansas: One of the biggest questions in Lawrence was who would replace Brandon McAnderson's 1,125 yards rushing. What's scary for defensive coordinators is that the Jayhawks might have upgraded with Jocques Crawford, the nation's leading junior-college rusher. Jake Sharp ran for 821 yards last year backing up McAnderson. But Crawford provides breakaway speed. Crawford ran for 1,935 yards at Cisco (Texas.). He originally committed to Texas Tech, ran into some legal issues and resurfaced at Cisco. •Nebraska: Coaching legend Tom Osborne went on record this month saying the primary reason he hired Bo Pelini over former Huskers star Turner Gill, the head coach at Buffalo, was Pelini's defensive expertise. Nebraska finished 5-7 last season, only the second losing season in 45 years in Lincoln. Big 12 opponents averaged 512.0 yards and 42.4 points against the Cornhuskers. Nebraska could post the league's biggest turnaround if Pelini can work some defensive magic. •Missouri: Blaine Gabbert, a 6-foot-5 true freshman from St. Louis, was rated the nation's top pro style quarterback by Rivals. Gabbert is projected to be the heir apparent to Heisman Trophy finalist Chase Daniel in 2009 but might not play this season. With senior Chase Patton returning, coach Gary Pinkel might allow Gabbert to ease into the program.
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Darrell Scott, left, and Ray Polk, right, are two of Colorado's three impressive freshman running backs. ASSOCIATED PRESS