Big 12 Football Notes and Picks: Week Two
Well, that was pretty much a bust. West Virginia and Texas both lost games to Power Five foes, and although the Mountaineers acquitted themselves far more respectively, and against a much better opponent, than the Longhorns, the end result was still a pair of losses, an more opprobrium from the public at large. This week’s Oklahoma Ohio State game provides the biggest chance for redemption, and both Iowa State (Iowa) and TCU (Arkansas) also have shots at getting the league’s first win against
Four Big 12 teams (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and TCU), are in this week’s Top 25. West Virginia fell out, but remains on the periphery of the rankings. Texas Tech’s blowout win and Texas’ loss to Maryland were also apparently equally impressive to voters, as both are likewise in the “also receiving votes” category.
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TCU gave up just 65 yards in its 63-0 whitewashing of Jackson State. While the quality of opposition was suspect, that’s still a fair indicator that the Horned Frog defense will be a handful in 2017.
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Texas Tech gets the first league open date of the year, and will play on 11 consecutive weekends beginning on Sep 16. Baylor and Oklahoma State have the best-positioned by weeks, with both enjoying Oct. 7 without a game following five straight from the start of the season.
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Two Conference records were broken in Week One. Texas’ Reggie Hemphill-Mapps set the freshman punt return mark with his 91-yard touchdown return against Maryland, while K-State set the Big 12 passing yards per attempt record with 20.8 against Central Arkansas.
Oklahoma State at South Alabama Fri Sep 8 7:30 PM* ESPN2
The Cowboys look strong all over. South Alabama is playing at home. That latter factoid won’t even come close to making up for the former. OSU rolls while getting what amounts to a practice road trip for some of its newcomers.
Iowa at Iowa State Sat Sep 9 12:00 PM ESPN2
Here’s the measure of how much the Cyclones have improved in year two under head coach Matt Campbell. The Hawkeyes look to be stout defensively again, and ISU has had trouble scoring. There’s reason for optimism in Ames, but the betterment rate isn’t enough to push the ‘Clones over their in-state rival. Iowa gets another win in the CyHawk Classic.
Charlotte at Kansas State Sat Sep 9 12:00 PM FSN
Other than teams with a huge talent advantage, K-State is one of the best bets to avoid upsets. Why? Their fundamental soundness, solid defense and grinding approach. The Wildcats were more explosive in the passing game in Week One, but that was against a defense geared to stop the run. The 49ers could back off in deference to the passing attack, but that will simply lead to a slower execution. K-State efficiently runs its record to 2-0.
East Carolina at West Virginia Sat Sep 9 12:00 PM FS2
With an opportunity missed, WVU returns home for a pair of games to close out its non-conference schedule. Up this week is East Carolina, which was dusted by FCS member James Madison in its opener. JMU isn’t your garden-variety FCS fodder – it is national championship material again. Still, a blowout loss doesn’t bode well for the Pirates, and West Virginia is still smarting from not taking advantage of chances to defeat the nationally ranked Hokies. The Mountaineers roll up 50 points in an easy win.
TCU at Arkansas Sat Sep 9 3:30 PM CBS
Both teams throttled lesser foes in Week One, but until TCU shows week-to-week consistency at quarterback, it’s tough to pick them on the road against a quality foe. The Razorbacks are the narrow choice, but if Horned Frog QB Kenny Hill is on top of his game, that result could be reversed.
San Jose State at Texas Sat Sep 9 3:30 PM LHN
Getting trash thrown at you on your home field doesn’t exactly set a supportive tone, but Texas isn’t known for vociferous support, where 95,000 people often make as much noise as half that number at Iowa State, Kansas State or West Virginia. The Spartans might be able to take advantage of that to some degree, but the Horns should be able to close out a win. If not, it will be time to seriously question the talent level in Austin.
Central Michigan at Kansas Sat Sep 9 4:00 PM FS1
The Chippewas eked out an overtime win over Rhode Island in week one. If Kansas is on an upward arc, that shouldn’t scare them. KU has been in this situation before, coming off an encouraging Week One performance only to fall flat to a Group of Five opponent in Week Two. This year, it’s going to be different – at least for now. The Jayhawks move to 2-0 with a respectable win.
Oklahoma at Ohio State Sat Sep 9 7:30 PM ABC
If OU doesn’t win the game, the Big 12 should fold – at least if we are reading the national writers correctly. That crap aside, the Sooners have a legitimate chance in this one. Neither team is as good as last year’s edition, but both are still good enough to reach the College Football Playoff. The step in that direction goes to the Buckeyes, but it should be a much better game than last years one-sided OSU victory.
UTSA at Baylor Sat Sep 9 8:00 PM FSN
The Roadrunners’ opener against Houston was canceled due to Hurricane Harvey. Baylor probably wishes it had also canceled its first game after losing to Liberty. The Bears will be without starting running back JaMycal Hasty, but should still have enough offensive talent to get by UTSA, even with a defense that gave up 585 total yards to the Flames.
* All Times Eastern