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2020 Big 12 Football Preview: Week 1

Some Big 12 football is finally here!... sadly without the Bears.

Big 12 Football Championship - Baylor v Oklahoma Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

So a quick note, this is technically week 2 of the college football season. But with how fluid this season has been and will be, I think it will be easiest to track weeks in relation to the Big 12 playing games.

Also, as I’m sure many of you are already aware, TCU’s Friday night match-up against SMU has been postponed due to positive COVID-19 testing on TCU’s end and Baylor’s opener against Louisiana Tech is postponed because of positives from Louisiana Tech. While that sucks, there’s still a good chunk of Big 12 teams in action this weekend... So without further ado, let’s take a look at this week’s match-ups!

#23 Iowa State vs. Louisiana

Saturday, September 12th 11:00 AM CT, ESPN

#23 Iowa State comes into this year with a lot of preseason hype. That has been the case the last few years and while the Cyclones have done well by Iowa State standards, they haven’t quite been able to blow the roof off as some have expected. The Cyclones were only able to pull together a 7-6 record last year, ending in a blowout bowl loss to Notre Dame. There will be a lot of factors that go into Iowa State succeeding or not this year, but much of that potential upside rests on the shoulders of quarterback Brock Purdy. After a chaotic, administrative back and forth, Iowa State will not have fans in the stand for this game. Whether that effects the Cyclones or not remains to be seen. Louisiana was actually one of the better G5 teams last year, posting an impressive 11-3 record and a bowl win. Their only losses came to Mississippi State and Appalachian State twice. While Iowa State can and should win this game, any distractions could quickly spell disaster for the Cyclones. They absolutely need to bring their A game.

35-21 Iowa State

West Virginia vs. Eastern Kentucky

Saturday, September 12th 11:00 AM CT, FS1

West Virginia is looking to build off of a rough, but promising first year by coach Neal Brown last season. After posting a 5-7 record last year, many are expecting Brown to continue building and at least earn bowl eligibility this year. That stars here in a game against Eastern Kentucky (0-1), who already got annihilated 59-0 by Marshall this year. As such, this really shouldn’t be much of a challenge for the Mountaineers. If it is... there are some grave problems lying ahead.

63-7 West Virginia

Kansas State vs. Arkansas State

Saturday, September 12th 11:00 AM CT, FOX

Kansas State is in a similar position to West Virginia, with coach Chris Klieman entering his second year with the program. However, the big difference is that Klieman began his tenure with notably more success, ending his first year with a bowl appearance and an 8-5 record. The Wildcats will be looking to build off of that this season, starting with their match-up against Arkansas State (0-1). Arkansas State lost their first game of the season on the road to Memphis. While that was obviously not the result the Red Wolves were looking for, getting that live game in against strong competition could be a huge benefit to this squad, especially this season. With coaches working through how to limit player exposure during practice, contact drills have been pretty limited across the board. Last Monday’s Navy vs. BYU game showed the danger of this approach, as BYU absolutely blew the doors off of Navy who had avoided live hitting and scrimmage drills. That’s why I think Arkansas State having one, full speed game under their belt greatly benefits them here. I think Kansas State is obviously the better team talent-wise, but we’ll see how they look preparation wise. If there is going to be an upset in the Big 12’s relatively easy first week, I would keep an eye on this one. I’ll pick Kansas State to win a close one.

26-21 Kansas State

#5 Oklahoma vs. Missouri State

Saturday, September 12th 6:00 PM CT, PPV

#5 Oklahoma is once again following up a playoff season with a lot of hype, and another fresh face at quarterback. However, instead of turning to transfers like the Sooners have for a number of years now, 5-star recruit Spencer Rattler will get the start for OU. Rattler obviously has a lot of potential within the high-powered Sooners attack, but it remains to be seen if he will live up to the hype. That journey will begin against Missouri State, an FCS team that only have three games scheduled for the season as of right now. While that might give the Bears an added incentive to play to their very best, their very best isn’t all that good... They posted a 1-10 record in FCS play last year, only beating Western Illinois. The Sooners should absolutely roll this squad. Rattler should look electric, but even if he does that won’t tell us much until the Sooners face Kansas State in their first conference game. I think we can all safely avoid shelling out for this pay-per-view game.

77-3 Oklahoma

#14 Texas vs. UTEP

Saturday, September 12th 7:00 PM CT, LHN

#14 Texas enters yet another season with substantial hype. That has met varying success in the past, with last year’s 8-5 record viewed relatively pessimistically. Coach Tom Herman had to reconfigure his staff heading into this season, we’ll see how that plays out. One thing is for sure though, Sam Ehlinger is a talented quarterback that could help anchor the Longhorns through a tumultuous season. That all starts as UT faces instate foe UTEP (1-0). UTEP was on of the worst FBS teams last season, posting a 1-11 record. However, UTEP is in somewhat of a similar spot to Arkansas State above, in that they have already played a full, live action game. That could benefit them here against Texas. While UT is the clear favorite, if things start going south for Texas one reason to point to could be that disparity of live game experience.

38-17 Texas

Texas Tech vs. Houston Baptist

Saturday, September 12th 7:00 PM CT, ESPN+

Similar to Kansas State and West Virginia, Texas Tech enters its second season under the direction of coach Matt Wells. The Red Raiders had a disappointing first season under Wells, only posting a 4-8 record. They will be looking to improve off of that, aiming for bowl eligibility at a minimum. They will face off against Houston Baptist (0-1), who like Montana State also only has three games on their schedule. They already lost to North Texas in a 57-31 struggle. Tech should have few problems here but, once again, live action experience could be a potential difference maker. The Red Raiders win this one, but it might be a tad close for celebration.

39-28 Texas Tech

Kansas vs. Coastal Carolina

Saturday, September 12th 9:00 PM CT, FS1

There are a lot of coaches entering their second year in the Big 12 this season, aren’t there? Kansas coach Les Miles enters his second season with the Jayhawks looking to improve on an up and down, 3-9 record last year. The Jayhawks will open their 2020 bid facing off against Coastal Carolina, who they actually lost to last season. The worst part about that for Kansas too, was that Coastal Carolina only ended up posting a 5-7 record. Still, I think Miles is building the program in the right direction and I think an off-season under offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon will do the team a world of good. I’ll take the Jayhawks, but obviously this could be a likely opening week stumbling block for the Big 12.

24-14 Kansas