Big 12 Football Notes and Picks: 2020 Week Three

Big 12 mascots

The Big 12 has had one postponed or cancelled game in each of its first three weeks of the season, with Baylor getting hit twice in scheduled contests with Louisiana Tech and Houston. With league play underway this week, the hope is that flurry is behind it, but unfortunately that’s not the way this pandemic is playing out. From this point on, each stoppage costs two teams, not just one, a game, although a couple of open weekends for potential rescheduling remain.

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Texas Tech’s narrow win over Houston Baptist deflected some of the attention that would (and should) have been paid to the return of quarterback Alan Bowman. He completed 38 of 52 passes for 430 yards and two scores in the victory.

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Oklahoma State has won 69 consecutive games when holding its opponent to fewer than 20 points, a streak dating back to Sept. 13, 2003 – the longest active streak in the FBS.

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Iowa State yielded 226 return yards in its loss to Louisiaana, with two of those returns resulting in Ragin’ Cajun scores. Eighty-nine of those came on punt returns. The other seven Big 12 teams who have played to date allowed a total of four return yards.

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Kansas State (0-1) at Oklahoma (1-0)
Sat Sept 26     12:00 PM *    FOX

K-State is the sort of team built to slow down the Sooner Schooner – assuming it can lock in its normal twin linchpins of solid defense and ball-control, mistake-free offense. Neither of those were in evidence in KSU’s opener, as the Wildcats managed just 91 rushing yards, were 1-11 on third down and committed eight penalties. It’s tough to see them getting all that turned around quickly enough to offset what looks to be another OU offensive powerhouse. Oklahoma is the pick at home.

Iowa State (0-1) at TCU (0-0)
Sat Sept 26     1:30 PM     FS1

How to judge a game with a squad that imploded on special teams versus one that hasn’t played yet? With the thought that Iowa State’s woes on kick coverage were a one-game aberration, and with TCU’s quarterback situation still a question mark, the Cyclones are the selection on the road. Even though the Frog defense is expected to move back toward its normal strength, the thought is that unless Max Duggan, recently cleared for play, is on the field a great deal, there’s not quite enough offense to record a home win.

Texas (1-0) at Texas Tech (1-0)
Sat Sept 26     3:30 PM     FOX

Growth and improvement can be a painful process, as the teams involved in the next two games experienced in 2019 and are sure to continue to work through in 2020. The Red Raiders racked up 35 first downs and 633 yards of total offense in their opener, but narrowly escaped a Houston Baptist upset bid while yielding 572 passing yards. The Longhorns look fully equipped to take advantage of that shortcoming, and thus are the second road pick this week.

West Virginia (1-0) at Oklahoma State (1-0)
Sat Sept 26     3:30 PM     ABC

Picking this game depends largely on the lineup OSU fields. If quarterback Spencer Sanders is available, and Tylan Wallace plays a full slate rather than the in and out schedule he was on against Tulsa, WVU will have a very difficult challenge to overcome. However even their absences might not put the Mountaineers over the top – neither played in the Pokes’ 20-13 win last year. West Virginia appears to be better in 2020, but probably not to the level yet where it can knock off one of the league’s top teams on the road. The Cowboys defend the range.

Kansas (0-1) at Baylor (0-0)
Sat Sept 26     7:30 PM     ESPNU

Baylor joins TCU in finally getting on the field in 2020, and celebrates with a win. It matters not that KU has a game under its belt – the Jayhawks again appear disjointed and without an offensive identity or plan. It’s not just who KU loses to, its the way in which it loses. The Bears start off the Dave Aranda era with a victory.

* All game times Eastern