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Big 12 Week Two Football Preview

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A couple good matchups, but a lot of cupcakes.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 12 Coastal Carolina at Kansas Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kansas @ #17 Coastal Carolina

Friday, September 10th 6:30 PM CT, ESPN2

Kansas (1-0) rushed the field last week after defeating FCS South Dakota, 17-14. I am a firm advocate of rushing the field, so I have no qualms there. However, that tells you a lot about the trajectory Kansas is on. #17 Coastal Carolina (1-0) blew out the Citadel in their opener, 52-14. The Chanticleers are a quality team in a surprisingly good Sun Belt Conference. Sadly, I suspect Kansas earned its only win of the season last week. It took everything in them to overcome South Dakota and Coastal Carolina is a far superior team. Coastal Carolina is a 26.5 point favorite at the time of this writing.

42-17 Coastal Carolina

Oklahoma State vs. Tulsa

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

Oklahoma State (1-0) struggled a surprising amount in their opening game, beating FCS Missouri State by only one score, 23-16. However, part of that likely hinged on quarterback Spencer Sanders being out for COVID-19 protocol. His replacement, Shane Illingworth, threw for one touchdown and one interception. Tulsa (0-1) suffered an embarrassing loss to FCS UC Davis, 19-17. While the Cowboys would like to have Sanders back for this game, they should be able to win with or without him unless Tulsa really turns it around fast. Oklahoma State is a 12.5 point favorite at the time of this writing.

31-17 Oklahoma State

TCU vs. Cal

Saturday, September 11th 2:30 PM CT, ESPNU

While some Big 12 teams struggled in their openers, TCU (1-0) certainly did not as they defeated Duquesne 45-3. Max Duggan threw and ran for a touchdown and both sides of the ball looked great for the Horned Frogs. It’s hard to judge just how much that was based on the opponent. However, Cal (0-1) should provide a stiffer challenge. Should is the key word though, as Cal lost to Nevada 22-17 last weekend. TCU is a 9.5 point favorite as of this preview. I think they cover that and win by closer to 17. As an aside, the Pac-12 in general has looked awful, so this is another opportunity for a “remainder” Big 12 school to make an interconference statement.

35-16 TCU

#9 Iowa State vs. #10 Iowa

Saturday, September 11th 3:30 PM CT, ABC

This is by far the biggest matchup for the Big 12 this weekend, as #9 Iowa State (1-0) hosts #10 Iowa (1-0) with College Gameday coming to Ames. As I predicted in my column last week, Iowa State struggled mightily against FCS Northern Iowa. For better or worse, that was to be expected as it is clear Matt Campbell is entirely unable to coach week one games for whatever reason. He has also yet to get a victory against Iowa. The Hawkeyes cruised to an impressive victory over then #17 Indiana, winning 34-6. Comparing those two results would likely lead most to picking Iowa as a heavy favorite. However, as we know from past experience, the Cyclones quickly trend upward after getting their initial jitters and rust taken care of. We also know that results the week prior to the CyHawk game rarely have any bearing on this rivalry matchup. Further, Iowa State has almost every starter returning and should have tight end Charlie Kolar—a favorite target of quarterback Brock Purdy’s—back off of injury for this game. If Purdy and running back Breece Hall can play like they are expected to behind a veteran offensive line, this game might surprise people. Especially since, for as much as the offense struggled, the Iowa State defense shut out UNI in the second half. As of this writing, Iowa State is somewhat surprisingly a 3.5 point favorite. I think Matt Campbell is due for a CyHawk victory.

27-21 Iowa State

West Virginia vs. Long Island University

Saturday, September 11th 4:00 PM CT, ESPN+

West Virginia (0-1) was the only Big 12 school to lose last weekend, coming off of a disappointing loss to Maryland. I wrote in my preview last week that we’d need to see if the defense takes a step back given all their transfers and losses. It seems that they have, as Maryland moved the ball on them for much of the game. Further, quarterback Jarret Doege looks like he may have regressed, as he threw two back-breaking interceptions. Doege is an odd case, where he has a lot of experience but is still one of the team’s biggest weaknesses. The offensive line for the Mountaineers was awful too, letting up 3 sacks and plenty more rushed throws. The Mountaineers only rushed for 42 yards on a Maryland defense that was not particularly good in seasons prior. However, while questions will still linger, the Mountaineers host FCS Long Island (0-1) in what should be a slam dunk victory. The Sharks lost 48-10 against Florida International in their opener. There is no betting line, but ESPN’s FPI gives West Virginia a 99.6% chance at winning.

56-6 West Virginia

Baylor vs. Texas Southern

Saturday, September 11th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN+

Baylor (1-0) may not have picked up the prettiest win ever in their 29-20 victory over Texas State. However, the renewed potential just under the surface was apparent, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback Gerry Bohanon’s stats will not wow you, as he threw 15 of 24 for 148 yards and no touchdowns (although, he certainly did have a touchdown pass to Josh Fleeks that was never reviewed for whatever reason):

Regardless of the stats, what was apparent was that Bohanon seems comfortable in the new offense and has plenty of arm strength to challenge teams vertically. Further, the running backs were electric and definitely took advantage of the wide zone’s horizontal schemes. The Bears had two rushers go for over 100 yards, with Trestan Ebner netting 120 yards on 20 carries and Abram Smith grabbing 118 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Both averaged at least 6 yards a carry, a vast improvement from last season. Defensively, the Bears looked about like we would expect, forcing three takeaways (including a pick six) and holding Texas State to 235 total yards. The Bears now turn to FCS Texas Southern (0-1) and I’m not going to mince words: they are atrocious. They lost their opener to fellow FCS Prairie View A&M, 40-17. Texas Southern has not won a football game since 2018 (I am not counting the forfeit they “won” in spring 2021). There is not betting line for this game, but ESPN’s FPI gives Baylor a 99.9% chance of winning. That is the highest possible chance of victory the FPI can give a team. The Bears should absolutely cruise here and get a tune up for their conference opener against Kansas.

63-3 Baylor

#4 Oklahoma vs. Western Carolina

Saturday, September 11th 6:00 PM CT, PPV

#4 Oklahoma (1-0) surprised many by looking REALLY shaky, especially defensively, against Tulane in a 40-35 home victory. Tulane had a shot at the end of the game to score and win the game but came up about a yard short of a 4th down conversion. We almost certainly will not learn if that game was a fluke or an omen of significant defensive issues this week, as the Sooners host FCS Western Carolina (0-1). Western Carolina lost their opener 31-28 against fellow FCS Eastern Kentucky. There is once again no betting line for this game, but OU also has a 99.9% chance of victory according to the ESPN FPI. Sooners win in a landslide as they look ahead to Nebraska.

71-10 Oklahoma

#15 Texas @ Arkansas

Saturday, September 11th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN

#15 Texas (1-0) looked pretty good in their top 25 victory over Louisiana, winning 38-18. The Longhorns slowly built a lead as the game progressed that continued to widen as time went on. Quarterback Hudson Card threw 14 of 21 for 224 yards and two touchdowns, while Bijan Robinson went over 100 yards rushing and added on his own touchdown. The Longhorns now travel to future conference foe Arkansas (1-0). The Razorbacks went down early to Rice, trailing 17-7 in the third quarter before rallying and scoring 21 unanswered points to win 38-17. While this should be an interesting matchup, Texas looks like the better team from a sample size of one game. Texas is 6 point favorite. I would guess they win by closer to 10.

28-18 Texas

Kansas State vs. Southern Illinois

Saturday, September 11th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN+

Kansas State (1-0) picked up a really nice, neutral site win against Stanford in their season opener. The Wildcats won 24-7. Quarterback Skylar Thompson was ready to lead the Wildcats once again, as he rushed for two touchdowns and threw for 144 yards (and one interception). Running back Deuce Vaughn also went for 124 yards and 1 touchdown. That win stacks nicely as the remaining Big 12 teams will try to argue that they still deserve to be considered a power conference. The Wildcats now host FCS Southern Illinois (1-0), who scored a 47-21 victory over Southeast Missouri State in their first game. Southern Illinois is one of the better FCS teams, as they made it to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoff last season. Still, Kansas State should be able to handle them just fine if their game against Stanford is any indication. There is no betting line for this game, but Kansas State has a 93.1% chance of winning according to ESPN’s FPI.

35-6 Kansas State

Texas Tech vs. Stephen F. Austin

Saturday, September 11th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN+

Things did not look good for Texas Tech (1-0) in the opening half of their game against Houston, as the Cougars quickly jumped up to a 14-0 lead and entered halftime down 21-7. However, the Red Raiders came back with a fury in the second half, holding Houston scoreless while putting up 31 points. Quarterback Tyler Shough looked great, completing 17 of 24 passes for 231 yards and 1 touchdown. Running back Tahj Brooks also balled out, rushing for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns on 15 carries (meaning he averaged a very impressive 8.9 yards per carry). With such high potential, is Tech going to move its way into the upper half of the conference this season? That remains to be seen and their game against Stephen F. Austin (1-0) likely will not do much to answer that question. The Lumberjacks won their season opener 20-10 over Tarleton. However, that means little as ESPN’s FPI gives Tech a 99.4% chance of victory (once again, there is no betting line on this game). The Red Raiders pick up where they left off in the second half of their game against Houston.

56-13 Texas Tech

FieldinOfDreams’ 2021 Prediction Record through Week One: 10-0