Kansas State @ UTSA
Alamodome (San Antonio, TX)
11:00 AM CT (Sat.), FS1
Line: Kansas State (-17)
"Bazooka" Joe Hubener makes his first career start at QB for K-State after replacing an injured Jesse Ertz in last week's 34-0 win over South Dakota (also, the nickname Bazooka is straight fire). Although the Wildcats' defense was dominant against an FCS opponent, the offense left quite a bit to be desired. Will they be able to move the ball more consistently against a UTSA team that gave Arizona a run for its money in Tucson last week? I think the Wildcats still try to work through some offensive kinks but their defense slows down the Roadrunners enough to get an out of conference road win.
Prediction: Kansas State 24 UTSA 10
Liberty @ West Virginia
Milan Puskar Stadium (Morgantown, WV)
2:00 PM CT, ROOT Sports
WVU arguably had the most impressive performance in the Big 12 last week, pitching a 44-0 shutout of defending Sun Belt champion Georgia Southern. The Mountaineers defense was ferocious, holding GSU to 224 total yards and actually forced twice as many interceptions (4) as they allowed pass completions (2). Potentially a bigger plus for West Virginia was the electric play of QB Skyler Howard and WRs Shelton Gibson and Jovon Durante. WVU will look to do more of the same this week against FCS foe Liberty, headed by former Kansas coach Turner Gill.
Prediction: West Virginia 52 Liberty 10
UTEP @ Texas Tech
Jones AT&T Stadium (Lubbock, TX)
2:00 PM CT (Sat.), FSN
Line: Texas Tech (-21)
Texas Tech can move the ball through the air and light up the scoreboard. This we already knew. Patrick Mahomes is a fantastic young quarterback. This we also knew. But the Red Raiders have to be concerned that they gave up 320 yards passing AND 317 yards rushing to Sam Houston State in a game that Tech won 59-45. They'll get another test for their run defense this week as they face UTEP's Aaron Jones, who ran for over 1300 yards last season including 144 in the Miners' near upset of Tech last September. I think the Red Raider offense is way too much for UTEP this time around.
Prediction: Texas Tech 62 UTEP 31
Stephen F. Austin @ TCU
Amon G. Carter Stadium (Fort Worth, TX)
2:30 PM CT (Sat.), FS1
TCU was able to get a key road win at Minnesota in week one but it came at a severe cost to the Horned Frog defense as they have already lost 4 starters off a unit that was already lacking depth and experience. The Frogs were able to get through 2014 with very few key injuries so it will be interesting to see how they respond. Trevone Boykin and the TCU offense had a slower start to their season than was maybe expected but some of that can be chalked up to a solid Minnesota defense with a talented secondary. I suspect that they'll get the offense back up to full speed this week against SFA.
Prediction: TCU 67 Stephen F. Austin 17
Iowa @ Iowa State
Jack Trice Stadium (Ames, IA)
7:00 PM CT, Cyclones.tv
¡VIVA EL ASSICO! Iowa and Iowa State meet for the 63rd time in a game that has recently produced some truly memorably terrible football (final scores include 15-13, 17-5, 9-6). Iowa State surprised some folks last week as they were able to easily dispatch a good Northern Iowa team 31-7. The Cyclones were able to pull away in the 2nd half behind a stellar performance from a much maligned defense and QB Sam B. Richardson had a solid game to kick off his senior season. The running game will continue to be a big question mark for ISU and could hinder them in a game against Iowa that figures to be close and low scoring. Iowa should have the advantage up front but I think Iowa State's athletes on the outside make the difference. But if there is national news emanating from this game, it may be because of something that was said in the parking lot.
Prediction: Iowa State 20 Iowa 15
Oklahoma @ Tennessee
Neyland Stadium (Knoxville, TN)
5:00 PM CT (Sat.), ESPN
Line: Oklahoma (-1.5)
The highlight matchup of the weekend for the Big 12 is Oklahoma going out to ol' Rocky Top to take on SEC East darkhorse Tennessee. The Sooners struggled out of the gates with Akron last week but eventually pulled away for a 41-3 win as the defense was strong throughout and Baker Mayfield threw for 388 yards and, more importantly, didn't turn the ball over. OU will need to get more out of its running game as Samaje Perine only had 33 yards on 11 carries but the Tennessee defense had its issues in dealing with Bowling Green (aka Baby Baylor), allowing over 550 yards. The game being in Knoxville is obviously a factor but at this point, I think Oklahoma is a slightly better team overall than Tennessee because of their defense. The Big 12 gets a win over the SEC.
Prediction: Oklahoma 34 Tennessee 31
Memphis @ Kansas
Memorial Stadium (Lawrence, KS)
6:00 PM CT (Sat.), Jayhawk TV
Line: Memphis (-13)
I correctly predicted last week that South Dakota State would beat Kansas but I vastly underestimated how badly Kansas would Kansas themselves. The Jayhawks fell behind 31-7 before mounting a late comeback and were in position to kick a game tying field goal when...they fumbled the snap on a play they were going to spike the ball to stop the clock. KU did rack up 576 total yards so it will be interesting to see if they can carry over the offensive momentum as they step up to an FBS opponent. Memphis is the defending AAC champion and they have a lot of returning talent on offense. I just think they'll be too much for a depleted Kansas.
Prediction: Memphis 44 Kansas 28
Central Arkansas @ Oklahoma State
Boone Pickens Stadium (Stillwater, OK)
6:30 PM CT (Sat.), FSN
Mike Gundy's team had its moments in week one but eventually pulled away from Central Michigan for a closer than expected 24-13 win. The Cowboys defense rose to the occasion and held CMU down long enough for QB Mason Rudolph and the offense to get through a phase of mental mistakes to eventually overpower the Chippewas. They'll look to improve their consistency on offense in their home opener against a Central Arkansas team more known for its home turf that makes Boise State's blue field look downright traditional. We'll learn more about OSU in the coming weeks.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 56 Central Arkansas 7
Rice @ Texas
Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (Austin, TX)
7:00 PM CT (Sat.), LHN
Line: Texas (-14)
Where do we even begin with you Texas? The Longhorns got owned in all facets of the game in a 38-3 beatdown at the hands of Notre Dame last Saturday. The defense looked susceptible to both the run and pass, although true freshman Malik Jefferson is going to be a BAWSE. But the focus of the award winning soap opera coming from Austin has been the offense. After a third straight performance of 10 points or less, Charlie Strong demoted Shawn Watson from his playcalling duties. I would expect to see Jerrod Heard get a bit more playing time this week as UT tries to implement more up tempo into their attack. The key with up tempo though is that unless your offense actually moves the ball, you're just giving it to the opponent more quickly. Rice is on the schedule this week and the Owls are capable of giving the Horns a run for their money. I honestly don't know what to expect from UT but I think this week will galvanize them and their defense will lead them to a win.
Prediction: Texas 23 Rice 10
AROUND THE COUNTRY
Cincinnati 41 Temple 28
Notre Dame 30 Virginia 10
Michigan State 38 Oregon 36
Mississippi State 31 LSU 24
BYU 27 Boise State 23
*UPSET SPECIAL* San Diego State 45 California 42