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Big 12 Preview: Week 2 Sucks

But sucky college football is still college football so you’ll still watch

Houston v Oklahoma Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Central Michigan @ #22 Oklahoma State
Boone Pickens Stadium (Stillwater, OK)
11:00 AM CT, FS1
Line: Oklahoma State (-21)

The fighting Mike Gundys aim to build off of an impressive opener last week as they step up to FBS competition against Central Michigan. The Cowboys used a familiar script in their 61-7 win over Southeastern Louisiana: a big play passing game and an opportunistic defense. Mason Rudolph threw 2 TD passes in limited action and spread the wealth around to a number of talented wideouts like James Washington and Jhajuan Seales. The OSU defense also found the end zone on two separate occasions and held SELA to just 203 yards of total offense for the game. One major concern for the Cowboys is that they continue to have problems in the running game. OSU ranked 116th in FBS last season in rushing yards/attempt and they were only able to amass 3.8 ypc against an FCS opponent in week 1. If Oklahoma State is to be a Big 12 title contender, they'll have to see improvement in that regard. They'll take on an experienced Central Michigan team this week, led by four year starting QB Cooper Rush. But this may be a rough matchup for Rush, who is capable of making big plays with his arm and his feet but also is extremely turnover prone. This should play right into Oklahoma State's hands and I expect they will force some early mistakes and cruise to an easy win.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 45 Central Michigan 14

Youngstown State @ West Virginia
Milan Puskar Stadium (Morgantown, WV)
1:00 PM CT, ROOT Sports
Line: NL

The moonshine will be flowing again in Morgantown as Bo Pelini brings his Youngstown State Penguins into WVU for a visit. The Mountaineers are coming off of an impressive 26-11 win over Mizzou to open the season. West Virginia' figured to be undermanned defensively with injury troubles but held down the Tigers on the scoreboard despite giving up a fair amount of total yardage. WVU was able to balance that with a strong rushing attack as both Rushel Shell and Justin Crawford had nice days, accounting for 191 yards between them. Skyler Howard played reasonably well despite having to come out of the game for a brief period in the 2nd quarter due to a rib injury. He is expected to be good to go for this game. Youngstown State is a strong defensive team for an FCS squad, led by defensive end Derek Rivers, but I don't foresee them having the big play capability to hang with the Mountaineers.

Prediction: West Virginia 38 Youngstown State 10

Ohio @ Kansas
Memorial Stadium (Lawrence, KS)
1:30 PM CT, FSN
Line: Kansas (-2.5)

Kansas won a game last week! By 49 points no less! Yes, *that* Kansas! The Jayhawks look to build a little momentum off of their 55-6 win against Rhode Island as they take on the Ohio Bobcats in Lawrence. KU actually put up an impressive 570 yards of total offense and both Montell Cosart and Ryan Willis played well at the QB position. Kansas does feature some weaponry on the outside this year with all-name team candidate LaQuvionte Gonzalez and Steven Sims Jr. both acting as capable playmakers at WR. Perhaps more impressively, the KU defense held Rhode Island to under 200 yards. But the Jayhawks will step up in competition this week against Ohio. The Bobcats feature a ground-based attack under coach Frank Solich which should test a Kansas defense that was gashed repeatedly in the running game last season. I may be making too much of a win over URI, but I actually think KU gets to 2-0. And I hope their students rush the field again because college football is fun.

Prediction: Kansas 31 Ohio 28

Arkansas @ #15 TCU
Amon G. Carter Stadium (Fort Worth, TX)
6:00 PM CT, ESPN
Line: TCU (-7.5)

TCU's defense looks to improve on a suspicious 2016 opener when the Frogs host former Southwest Conference rival Arkansas in a good ol' Big 12/SEC matchup. The Frogs got into a shootout with South Dakota State last weekend that was surprisingly close into the 4th quarter before TCU's offense was able to do enough to pull away for a 59-41 win. Gary Patterson said after the game that TCU would give up 100 points and 1,000 yards if their defense plays that way against Arkansas. Thankfully for the Frogs, Arkansas was also extremely mediocre in week 1 and was actually pretty fortunate to walk away with a 21-20 win over Louisiana Tech. The Hogs struggled offensively behind new QB Austin Allen as well as a pretty new group on the offensive line. Bret Bielema would love to smash the ball down the opponent's throat with the running game but TCU's gaffes in the secondary last week combined with Arkansas' inability to establish the run could lead to the Razorbacks trying to test TCU down the field. On the other side, TCU should be able to move the ball on Arkansas as long as Kenny Hill is smart with the football. Hill was known for some untimely interceptions during his tenure at Texas A&M and that tendency reared its head in the first half against SDSU. But in the second half, Hill played well, distributed to his many playmakers, and the TCU offense thrived. I think the Frogs are still a bit sloppy but more focused after last week and they're able to get a nice win at home.

Prediction: TCU 42 Arkansas 36

UTEP @ #11 (<-- lol) Texas
Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (Austin, TX)
6:00 PM CT, LHN
Line: Texas (-30)

Did you hear that Texas beat Notre Dame? I mean there hasn't been any media coverage of this or anything but it actually did happen. Texas beat a good team largely because of their offense. In football no less! Game 2 of the Sterlin Gilbert experience pits the Longhorns against the UTEP Miners. It'll certainly be interesting to see how the UT offense performs the rest of the season as teams become more familiar with their scheme, but the Horns certainly have the athletes to run the system effectively and now it appears that they have a QB that can do the same in Shane Buechele. The aspect I'll want to keep an eye on is the Texas offensive line as they may see some growing pains when they take this act on the road and its not quite so easy to go up tempo as it is at home when your fans are cooperating with what you're trying to do. UTEP shouldn't provide much of a challenge on that side of the ball but look for Miners' RB Aaron Jones to be an absolute workhorse in this game. If UTEP has any prayer of staying in this game, they'll lean heavily on Jones who is coming off of a 249 yard performance on 31 carries in week 1 against New Mexico State. Texas is going to be way too much athletically for Jones to carry his team like that for 60 minutes though.

Prediction: Texas 59 UTEP 24

Louisiana-Monroe @ #14 Oklahoma
Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (Norman, OK)
6:00 PM CT, PPV
Line: Oklahoma (-46.5)

Oklahoma came into the season with dreams of Big 12 and national championship glory but WOOO BOY did they ever get Coog'd last weekend. So if there was ever a week to not want to play Oklahoma, this is probably it. Sorry boutcha ULM! There honestly isn't much to predict in this game as Louisiana-Monroe is a rebuilding unit void of some of the talent we saw when Baylor played the Warhawks in 2012 and 2013. Oklahoma is a 46.5 point favorite for a reason. The only numbers I'm interested to see from this game are just how many people are stupid enough to spend their well earned money to purchase the PayPerView package for a game that will be the equivalent of watching ice melt in the microwave.

Prediction: Oklahoma 61 Louisiana-Monroe 17

Iowa State @ #16 Iowa
Kinnick Stadium (Iowa City, IA)
6:30 PM CT, BTN
Line: Iowa (-15)

It's time for the college football horror flick known as ¡EL ASSICO! Iowa and Iowa State renew acquaintances for the 64th time on the football field and if you're a Cyclone fan, you probably aren't feeling just super optimistic after last week's sad showing against Northern Iowa. Matt Campbell's debut as Iowa State head coach was marred by a ghastly performance by the Cyclones in the trenches on both sides of the ball, an area in which Iowa typically excels. ISU will need to see improvement from Mike Warren on the ground if they want any chance in this game and Joel Lanning will have to protect the football. Warren had just 30 yards on 12 carries last week against UNI and that is a recipe for failure if you're an ISU fan. Iowa doesn't do anything exceptional but they will punish the opponent for making mistakes. C.J. Beathard is a stable force for the Hawkeye offense but I'd look for Iowa to try to establish the ground attack to wear down a thin Cyclone front. This game is typically a low scoring, ugly catfight but I think Iowa is just simply a better team, especially in Iowa City.

Prediction: Iowa 35 Iowa State 13

Texas Tech @ Arizona State
Sun Devil Stadium (Tempe, AZ)
9/3, 7:00 PM CT, FSN
Line: NL

The last call on the Big 12 smorgasbord this week figures to be a damn shootout in the desert as Texas Tech heads west to face Arizona State. The Red Raiders are coming off a resounding thumping of Stephen F. Austin as expected. The Tech offense picked up right where it left off in 2015, putting up 69 points (nice) and 758 yards of total offense. Pat Mahomes did Pat Mahomes things again as he was responsible for 6 TDs and over 500 yards of total offense in a little more than a half. I know it was just SFA but that's still pretty salty. But the focus of this season in Lubbock is going to be on the defensive side of the ball. Tech allowed SFA to put up 373 yards but also created 3 takeaways as well. Forcing turnovers is going to be a DJ Khaled major key to success as to whether or not Tech can reach its potential in Kliff Kingsbury's 4th year at the controls of his alma mater. Their first real test this season comes against a young Arizona State squad. ASU is working in a new starting QB Manny Wilkins, who showed some potential as a legit dual-threat weapon in the Sun Devils' 44-13 win last week over Northern Arizona. But consistency may be an issue as ASU needed a 24 point 4th quarter to finally put NAU out of reach. The bottom line here is that this is a college football game that involves Texas Tech which automatically means its going to be entertaining and dumb as hell. In the end, I have more confidence in Tech's proven playmakers than I do in Arizona State's so I'll take the Red Raiders in what might be a 6.5 hour game because #Big12AfterDark and as I mentioned off the top: THERE WILL BE POINTS.

Prediction: Texas Tech 55 Arizona State 51

Lamar @ #6 Houston

aw crap my bad this wasn't supposed to go here yet