#5 Oklahoma @ Iowa State
Saturday, September 15th 11:00 AM CT, ABC
The first Big 12 vs. Big 12 matchup of the season pits reigning champion #5 Oklahoma (2-0) against Iowa State (0-1). Oklahoma has cruised to victories against FAU and UCLA while Iowa State had its week 1 game cancelled, followed by a loss to Iowa. Defensively, Iowa State looked outstanding in their one game. Offensively they looked atrocious. The good news for Cyclones fans is that Iowa is probably the toughest defense they will play all year. The bad news is that Iowa is probably one of the worst offenses they’ll play all year. So their defense will likely get statistically worse and their offense statistically better. What does that mean for this game? It’s hard to say with a small sample size. But I can’t imagine Oklahoma will go down easily, especially after suffering a loss to Iowa State last year. While Ames could give the Cyclones a boost, I expect Oklahoma to pull away and score its first conference win.
Kansas vs. Rutgers
Saturday, September 15th 11:00 AM CT, FSN
Kansas (1-1) did it, they somehow got a road win against Central Michigan last week after losing at home to FCS Nichols. Now they face another bad power five team in Rutgers (1-1). Rutgers got a blowout win over Texas State in their first week before getting blown out themselves by Ohio State last week. I really don’t know what to make of this game. As bad as Kansas looked in their first week they looked... decent in week two? My head tells me Rutgers is the better team but the excitement of a road win might spill over for the Jayhawks this week to give them the boost they need to get a second win.
Baylor vs. Duke
Saturday, September 15th 2:30 PM CT, FS1
Baylor (2-0) returns home to take on an already injury plagued Duke (2-0). At full health, I wouldn’t like this match up for Baylor. But, Duke will be without its starting, NFL caliber quarterback, its All-American cornerback, and its starting safety. Duke will start Quentin Harris this week, who is an unproved passer but can run better than injured Daniel Jones. This could be tricky for Baylor, who has had issues stopping the run the past two weeks. But, Baylor’s offensive strong point has definitively been the passing game. A lack of experience and depth in the secondary because of the aforementioned injuries ought to give the Bears a big offensive advantage. One of the keys to this game could be something out of everyone’s control: weather. Forecasts are indicating a chance of rain on Saturday. If that rain does come, one would have to imagine the passing game on both sides would be stymied. That would greatly benefit Duke and hurt Baylor, as Baylor has so far excelled at passing offense and passing defense while it has been less efficient at rushing offense and defense. I like Baylor to win it close in this game, but there’s a lot of moving parts and variables in play.
#24 Oklahoma State vs. #17 Boise State
Saturday, September 15th 2:30 PM CT, ESPN
The first of two top 25 matchups for the Big 12 this weekend, #24 Oklahoma State (2-0) hosts #17 Boise State (2-0). Boise State has looked strong in blowout victories over Troy and UConn but will receive its first major test against Oklahoma State, who has also looked good in landslide victories over Missouri State and South Alabama. I think the home-field advantage might tip the scales in favor of Oklahoma State in a down to the wire contest.
35-31 Oklahoma State
Kansas State vs. UTSA
Saturday, September 15th 3:00 PM CT, FSN
Kansas State (1-1) has looked not great in its first two weeks, almost losing to FCS North Dakota and then getting handled by Mississippi State. Luckily, the Wildcats get a bit of a breather against UTSA (0-2) who has lost handily to Arizona State and Baylor in its first two weeks. Coach Snyder will have his team ready to gather a second win at home this weekend.
35-20 Kansas State
Texas Tech vs. Houston
Saturday, September 15th 3:15 PM CT, FOX
I don’t think I can fully express how important this game is for Texas Tech (1-1) and its coach, Kliff Kingsbury. Texas Tech got routed by Ole Miss week one before annihilating FCS foe Lamar 77-0. Houston (2-0) will be tough competition for the Red Raiders, as they have convincing wins over Rice and Arizona. A win by Texas Tech keeps the season on track and Kingsbury that much further from the hot seat. A loss could derail the season for the Red Raiders and be Kingsbury’s ultimate demise. Houston will be fired up for this game given the in-state rivalry factor and their hopes to make it to a New Years 6 bowl game. I’m going to go with Houston for the upset here.
#15 TCU vs. #4 Ohio State
Saturday, September 15th 7:00 PM CT, ABC
The big, primetime matchup of the weekend features #15 TCU (2-0) and #4 Ohio State (2-0) playing at AT&T Stadium. This will be the last game for Ohio State without suspended coach Urban Meyer. Ohio State has cruised to victories during that suspension over Oregon State and Rutgers, but TCU is an entirely different level of competition. TCU cruised to a victory over Southern week one, before having a bit of a dogfight with SMU in week two. TCU’s strength will be its defense so this game will likely come down to if the Horned Frogs can score enough offensively to take advantage of opportunities its defense provides them. This also ought to be the biggest stress test on Ohio State’s coaching infrastructure without Meyer. While I think Ohio State probably wins this in the end, this is a great opportunity for TCU to prove its a legit contender this year.
42-31 Ohio State
Texas vs. #22 USC
Saturday, September 15th 7:00 PM CT, FOX
Texas (1-1) is definitively not back. If there was any hope that the week one loss to Maryland was a fluke, week two seemed to solidify that no, Texas just isn’t good this year, as they had to fight to hold off Tulsa. #22 USC (1-1) got a win over UNLV week one before suffering a loss to Stanford last week. While the Trojans didn’t look great against Stanford, they still appear leagues ahead of where Texas currently is.
#14 West Virginia vs. NC State
This game fell victim to Hurricane Florence. Both teams were 2-0 and this would’ve been an interesting measuring stick for them. Alas.