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  It's time for the next conference blog. Today's conference is the Big 12. I decided to go ahead and do the Big 12 blog because if I keep waiting, the whole conference may be gone. Anyways, here's the Big 12's 2009 season in review.

Most Surprising Team - Iowa State Cyclones. Things weren't looking so good for Iowa State after the 2008 season, as head coach Gene Chizik left with a 5-19 record to become the head coach of the Auburn Tigers, where he was previously defensive coordinator. Although it really didn't work the first time, Iowa State hired Auburn's defensive coordinator to be their head coach, and so far it looks like the second time is the charm. Paul Rhoads led Iowa State to a 7-6 record, beat Nebraska for the first time since 2004, and capped it off with a 14-13 win over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl. Those 7 wins were the most for the Cyclones since since 2005 and more wins than the previous two years combined. It will be tough for Iowa State to make it back-to-back winning seasons, as only three FBS schools they play in 2010 did not appear in a bowl game in 2009.

Most Disappointing Team - Kansas Jayhawks. Things looking great for Kansas at first, as they started 5-0 and made it up to #16 in the AP Poll. It was clear that the beginning of the schedule was the easiest, but losing their last 7 was clearly not expected. Kansas went 1-7 in the Big 12, their worst conference record since since 2002 when they failed to beat a single Big 12 opponent. It finally hit rock bottom for the Jayhawks when allegations of violent conduct by head coach Mark Mangino towards his players surfaced. Mangino was then fired when it was clear that the allegations were true. Things can only go up for Kansas now, and it looks as though they have hired the right man to help them get there. Turner Gill, the former Nebraska QB and Buffalo head coach, was hired to replace Mangino. Don't be surprised if the Jayhawks make a bowl game in Gill's first season in Lawrence.

Player of the Year - Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska. If you wanted to sum up defense in college football in the 2009 season, you could say just two words: Ndamukong Suh. Suh was definitely the star for Nebraska, compiling 82 tackles, 12 sacks, and an interception in the 2009 season. Suh's 12 tackles and 4 sacks in the Big 12 Championship Game against Texas nearly lead to the downfall of the Texas Longhorns and the BCS itself. No matter what anyone says, I say Suh was the best player of the 2009 season, and as so he deserved the Heisman Trophy. Although he didn't win the trophy, Suh finished 4th, the highest a defensive player has finished in the voting since Charles Woodson won the award in 1997. As much as we all know Nebraska will miss Suh, don't be surprised if Bo and Carl Pelini have another All-American waiting in the wings.


(source: Dallas News)

Coach on the Rise
- Bo Pelini, Nebraska. It was clear that Nebraska fans were ready to move on from the Bill Callahan era, and things looked promising when Tom Osbourne hired Pelini, a former Nebraska defensive coordinator who lost out on the job to Callahan in 2003. Things have looked good so far, as Pelini has went 19-8 in his second run as Cornhuskers head coach (Pelini was interim coach after Frank Solich was fired). The Cornhuskers have improved greatly in his two seasons, and it looks like that trend will continue. Expect Nebraska to win at least one Big 12 (or whatever conference they happen to be in at the time) Conference Championship in the next three years and make a run for the National Championship.

Coach on the Hot Seat - Dan Hawkins, Colorado. Like I mentioned in my Big 10 blog, my two worst predictions from last year were on Illinois and Colorado's record. I honestly believed that Colorado could go 10-2, good enough to send them to Arlington for the conference championship game. They acquired two losses two games into the season, both coming against non-BCS schools who would fail to post winning records. Colorado ended the season with a 3-9 record, giving head coach Dan Hawkins a dismal 16-33 record in his four years as head coach. Colorado has yet to have a winning record under Hawkins, with their best record being 6-7 in 2007.

  It appears that Hawkins might be suffering from the Dirk Koetter Effect. As you may remember, Koetter was the head coach at Boise State for 3 seasons, posting a 26-10 record in that time. However, once Koetter took the Arizona State job, success was tougher to find consistently. Koetter was fired in 2006, and is now the Jacksonville Jaguars Offensive Coordinator. Dan Hawkins went 53-11 at Boise State, but has yet to have success since leaving the school. Maybe this is why Chris Petersen hasn't left yet. I would say Hawkins must win at least 7 games to save his job, and that will be a tough task with Colorado's upcoming schedule. 


 Sports Stuff | J HILL!         
  

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