This is certainly better than the Big 12’s week one schedule. Last week the conference had four FCS level opponents, this week the Big 12 Conference teams get games with the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12. Here is a look at this weekend’s Big 12 games broken down:
BYE Week: Baylor Bears & West Virginia Mountaineers
Miami Hurricanes (1-0, 1-0) vs. No. 21 Kansas State (1-0, 0-0)
(Bill Snyder Stadium; Saturday – Noon; FX)
Coach Speak: During Monday’s Big 12 Coaches Media Teleconference, when Kansas State Coach, Bill Snyder was asked if he had seen game film of Miami true freshman running back Duke Johnson, Snyder responded with, “yes, too much of it.” Johnson ran for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns on 7 carries in his debut on Saturday. Snyder also said about Johnson, “He is a very dynamic young player.”
Key Matchup: Kansas State Linebacker Arthur Brown vs. Miami Running Backs; The underlying story in this game is Arthur Brown. The Wichita native, Brown started his college career actually at the University of Miami. He played as a true freshman on special teams and then eventually worked his way onto the defense playing in all twelve games as a sophomore. Brown then transferred back closer to home to Kansas State. After sitting out a year, Brown has become the face of the KSU defense. Brown will have to be a guy that blows up the Miami running game. Not only will he have to make tackles, but he’ll have to be the guy to knife fullbacks or pulling guards to stop Duke Johnson before he gets started.
Prediction: Kansas State Wildcats 38, Miami Hurricanes 24
Iowa State Cyclones (1-0, 0-0) vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (1-0, 0-0)
(Kinnick Stadium; Saturday – 3:30; Big Ten Network)
Game Overview: The Battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy should be a good one. Last season Iowa State got their first win over Iowa in three seasons. In terms of momentum, Iowa State should have a lot more going into this matchup than Iowa. The Cyclones beat down a decent Tulsa team, while Iowa struggled to against a poor Northern Illinois squad. Add the fact that Iowa State is a program on the rise under Paul Rhoads and Iowa maybe is on the decline, this game should favor Iowa State. These two teams are really mirror images of each other. Neither team is going to be flashy on offense. Iowa State will try to pound the football with Shontrelle Johnson and James White, while Iowa will try to do the same with Damon Bullock.
Coach Speak: When asked during his weekly news conference about Iowa struggling against Northern Illinois, Cyclones Head Coach, Paul Rhoads said, “I take away that they won, anytime you can win a football game, you walk away pleased, with a victory comes confidence.” Rhoads understands that though Iowa maybe down, or a worse team than they are traditionally, that Iowa State will still be faced with a challenge considering the rivalry means so much to everyone in the state. “In a state where there are no professional sport, it’s the game, it’s a big event, I think the state of Iowa treats a rivalry like this the way it should be treated,” added Rhoads.
Key Matchup: Iowa Center James Ferentz vs. Iowa State Nose Guard Jake McDonough; This game will be battled and eventually won inside the trenches, James Ferentz is the son of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. On the opposing side, ISU nose guard, Jake McDonough has to be the guy that dominates the line of scrimmage. For the Cyclone defense to be successful, McDonough is going to have to keep Ferentz, from getting to the second level. If McDonough can do that, then Ferentz will be prevented from getting a block on either standout linebacker Jake Knott or AJ Klein.
Prediction: Iowa State Cyclones 30, Iowa Hawkeyes 17
Rice Owls (0-1, 0-0) vs. Kansas Jayhawks (1-0, 0-0)
(Memorial Stadium; Saturday – 3:30; FSN)
Game Overview: Kansas has so many areas to get better in. The Jayhawks took the first step though in defeating FCS opponent South Dakota State. The Charlie Weis started the way, Weis wanted it to start, with a win. If Kansas can step up and continue to build on the foundation of win number one, than maybe they can stay in more games than people think. For Rice, they just simply have to get it together. UCLA dominated the Owls in Houston. If they play the way they did, Kansas will start the season 2-0.
Coach Speak: “I thought there were a lot of high and lows in the game,” said Charlie Weis about KU’s 31-17 victory over South Dakota State. Weis is blunt and honest. He was happy with the run game, but disappointed with the defense at times, he just in honest in his assessment.
Key Matchup: Kansas Run Game vs. Rice Run Defense; If Kansas is able to run away in this game, it’ll be by rushing the football. Kansas had to just feed Tony Pierson and Taylor Cox who combined for over 240 yards rushing during Saturday’s victory. If KU can do that while take advantage of Rice’s poor run defense that gave up 343 yards rushing against UCLA, Kansas should be in position to win this game.
Prediction: Kansas Jayhawks 28, Rice Owls 23
Florida A&M Rattlers (0-1, 0-0) vs. No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners (1-0, 0-0)
(Oklahoma Memorial Stadium; Saturday – 7:00; PPV)
Game Overview: The Sooners will just have the week to improve. The big idea for Oklahoma is to fix everything that looked bad during their game with UTEP last Saturday. Landry Jones has to find some more rhythm with young receiver Trey Metoyer and Penn State transfer Justin Brown. He has to be able to get that continuity prior to getting into conference play in a couple weeks. Once Jones does that, all the critics can stop talking about Oklahoma’s problems. This should be a game that the Sooners get in-sync and start developing some offensive chemistry. On defense for the Sooners the objective is just to play like they have been playing.
Coach Speak: Bob Stoops addressed the fact that Oklahoma had to play a tough opening game on the road in El Paso. Stoops thought it was a better idea to play there than play another FCS level opponent. “We play Florida A&M this week, we have Notre Dame another one, we really didn’t have many options, are only other option was to have another small school to come here and play whether it be 1-AA and we chose not to do that,” said Stoops during Monday’s teleconference, “We’ve always been aware of our strength of schedule.”
Key Matchup: Oklahoma vs. Themselves; Let’s be clear this game isn’t about the Florida A&M Rattlers, this game is about Oklahoma improving. This game is just there for the Sooners to better themselves. If the offense gets things mentally together and the defense physically gets through the game healthy, than consider it a successful game.
Prediction: Oklahoma Sooners 59, Florida A&M Rattlers 13
Texas Tech Red Raiders (1-0, 0-0) vs. Texas State Bobcats (1-0, 0-0)
(Bobcat Stadium; Saturday – 7:00; ESPN3)
Game Overview: The Red Raiders could have their hands full this weekend with the upstart Texas State Bobcats. The Raiders come off of a blowout win over Northwestern State 44-6, while the Bobcats come off of an emotional upset victory over Houston 30-13. The Bobcats head coach, Dennis Franchione knows what he’s doing, he’s got his team playing hard. The Bobcats even received votes in the Associated Press Poll this week. This is the Bobcats first season in the FBS. As for Texas Tech, Seth Doege and company just has to play a full game. Doege was pulled over because of it was such a blowout. So for Doege in his receivers it’ll give them an opportunity to play a full game.
Coach Speak: “Texas State has a lot guys back, they do a good job coaching, they have an option that is pretty unique,” said Texas Tech Coach Tommy Tuberville. The Red Raiders know that the Bobcats will be a tough game, especially on the road going down to San Marcos. Tuberville understands that it will be harder game than first thought.
Key Matchup: Texas Tech Defensive Line vs. Texas State Offensive Line; The Texas Tech defensive line is going to have to dig in a play the tough run oriented option that the Bobcats bring to the table. Texas State already has three rushers that have over 60 yards rushing in Marcus Curry, Tim Gay and Shawn Rutherford. Texas Tech will have it tough especially if the offensive line is able to cut off and get their heads across the faces of the defenders up front. So for Texas Tech upfront, defensively those guys have to be locked up and ready to crab and dig in order to prevent the Texas State offensive line from getting downhill.
Prediction: Texas Tech Red Raiders 40, Texas State Bobcats 36
Grambling State Tigers (0-1, 0-0) vs. TCU Horned Frogs (0-0, 0-0)
(Amon G. Carter Stadium; Saturday – 7:00; Fox Sports Southwest)
Game Overview: TCU makes its season debut this week. After starting the season with the BYE, it’ll be interesting to see how the Horned Frogs look. Casey Pachall should be able to lead the Horned Frogs up and down the field. The biggest piece of concern for TCU is how well their freshman will play. TCU has fifteen redshirt or true freshman on their two-deep. Two out of their four down defensive linemen are freshman in Davion Pierson and Devonte Fields. Saturday should be a nice test for these Horned Frog freshman. On other thing to look at is how well TCU and in particular Casey Pachall distributes the football. He has to be able to get everyone involved and start building momentum as TCU moves into some tougher games.
Coach Speak: “No I think every coach in the country that if you told them you had an extra week to get better would take it,” TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson said about having a BYE week to open up the season. TCU Coach Gary Patterson is ready to play. That extra practice time had to help significantly with as many freshman as TCU will roll out this week.
Key Matchup: The TCU Running Backs vs. Gambling State’s Defense; TCU at worse should be able to run all over Grambling State. It actually would be surprising if TCU doesn’t have over 250 yards of rushing by the time the game is over. The Horned Frogs have Waymond James and Matthew Tucker who create arguably the best running back duo in college football. TCU will get production from those two – making this game a cake walk for themselves.
Prediction: TCU Horned Frogs 52, Grambling State Tigers 17
New Mexico Lobos (1-0, 0-0) vs. Texas Longhorns (1-0, 0-0)
(Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium; Saturday – 8:00; Longhorn Network)
Game Overview: New Mexico maybe a lot better than people think, and might be able to give Texas a test in the run game. The Lobos ran for 347 yards in their opener, and proved that can absolutely get up and down the field by doing so. For Texas it is a matter of getting more comfortable offensively. It is about getting David Ash prepared for conference play. Texas has to script a game plan similar to what they’ll use going forward. Obviously the Longhorns are going to run the football with Joe Bergeron, Malcolm Brown and Jonathan Gray, but in order be to successful the Longhorns are going to have to find a little bit better balance. Other than that, Texas should be able to beat New Mexico just based on depth.
Coach Speak: “David managed the game really well, he was late on his deep throws we got to do a better job throwing the ball deep, but we thought overall he protected the ball,” Head Coach Mack Brown said about David Ash’s first game against Wyoming. Ash completed 74.1 percent of his passes throwing for 156 yards and a touchdown.
Key Matchup: The Texas Defensive Line vs. New Mexico Offensive Line; If New Mexico wants to have the same success they had last week, they are going to have to do an even better job than they did up front last week. Yes they ran for 300 plus yards, but Texas defensive line is ferocious. The Longhorns d-line led by outstanding ends Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat will slow down the Lobo run game. If Texas holds them under 150 yards rushing, New Mexico won’t even in this game.
Prediction: Texas Longhorns 43, New Mexico Lobos 20
No. 18 Oklahoma State Cowboys (1-0, 0-0) vs. Arizona Wildcats (1-0, 0-0)
(Arizona Stadium; Saturday – 10:30; Pac-12 Network)
Game Overview: Oklahoma State will get opportunity this week to play their starters for the entirety of the game. Since Coach Gundy had to slow down the scoring, his key guys didn’t get to play much. With that said, the Cowboys have a legitimate game this week. If Oklahoma State doesn’t show up in Tucson, Rich Rodriguez and the Wildcats might be able to make them pay. Oklahoma State needs to find out what Wes Lunt really brings to the table, because a half of football against a terrible Savannah State team doesn’t cut it. For Arizona, it’ll be about being more consistent on offense. Arizona churned 624 yards of offense during their first outing against Toledo in the opener. If Arizona can repeat that, this week should be a shootout between the Cowboys and Wildcats.
Coach Speak: “I don’t think you ever get enough work, in most cases those guys get about 35 to 40 reps, but we didn’t get very much work, most of them we took out at the end of the first quarter,” Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy said during Monday’s teleconference about his starters playing time against Savannah State. “As a coach you always would like them to get a little bit more work,” Gundy added.
Key Matchup: Arizona QB Mark Scott vs. Oklahoma State Cornerbacks; In Mark Scott’s first game in Rich Rodriguez’ offense, he was able to throw for 387 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 74 yards. Scott will give the outstanding corner duo of Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert a test. If Scott can protect the football and limit turnovers, these corners will be pushed to the limit.
Prediction: Oklahoma State Cowboys 55, Arizona Wildcats 42