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Big 12 Preview: Week 3

Looking ahead to this weekend's Big 12 games that don't involve a certain team wearing green and gold

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas @ Rutgers
High Point Solutions Stadium (Piscataway, NJ)
11:00 AM CT (Sat.), BTN
Line: Rutgers (-14.5)

This might honestly be the worst Power 5 game in college football this season so instead of previewing it, enjoy this video of penguins jumping onto an iceberg with varying degrees of success.

Prediction: Rutgers 29 Kansas 11

Maryland @ West Virginia
Milan Puskar Stadium (Morgantown, WV)
2:00 PM CT, FS1
Line: West Virginia (-16.5)

The Mountaineers come off a bye week and look to continue their hot start as they host Maryland in a game that just screams Big Ten vs. Big 12 when you look at it (no it doesn't). WVU has the look of a darkhorse in the conference this year led by a stout secondary and an offense with explosive but unproven playmakers. QB Skyler Howard came into the season as a bit of a wild card but has completed 72.5% of his passes with 5 TDs and 0 INTs through two games. If the Mountaineers can figure out a way to get Rushel Shell going on the ground to form a solid 1-2 punch with Wendell Smallwood, West Virginia is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12 this season. They'll take on a Maryland team that has given them fits over the last few seasons and the Terps have a ground game capable of causing issues for WVU. But after seeing the Mountaineers dismantle Georgia Southern's rushing attack and seeing Maryland get popped by Bowling Green, I'll roll with West Virginia here.

Prediction: West Virginia 38 Maryland 17

#24 Oklahoma State @ Texas
Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (Austin, TX)
2:30 PM CT (Sat.), ABC
Line: Oklahoma State (-3)

Does Texas actually have...a quarterback? Jerrod Heard certainly looked the part last week against Cal, setting a school record with 527 yards of total offense and breathing signs of life into the UT offense. Not bad for your second career start. But for all the positive signs, Texas still came up one point short last Saturday and now sit at 1-2 with a brutal schedule to start off Big 12 play, beginning with Oklahoma State. The Cowboys will be a step up for Heard as OSU features a strong defensive front led by DE Emmanuel Ogbah capable of bringing havoc into the Longhorn backfield. I think it will be critical for Texas to try and establish RB Johnathan Gray on the ground to take some of the weight off of Heard's shoulders. When OSU has the ball, look for the Cowboys' well balanced attack to try and use the run to set up the pass. QB Mason Rudolph had a really solid game last week against UTSA and seems to be settling into the starting role nicely. Charlie Strong's defense has been susceptible to the explosive play through three games and Oklahoma State has the weapons to take advantage. At the end of the day, there's a lot that we don't know about OSU given that they've beat up on Central Michigan, Central Arkansas and UTSA to this point. Texas is riding a little bit of momentum from how last week ended but I think the talent disparity leans in OSU's favor and they squeak out a close one in Austin.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 34 Texas 33

#3 TCU @ Texas Tech
Jones AT&T Stadium (Lubbock, TX)
3:45 PM CT (Sat.), FOX
Line: TCU (-6)

If you're a fan of defense, shield your eyes because this is probably going to be points on points on points. TCU opens conference play out in Lubbock against a suddenly dangerous Texas Tech team. The Frogs have had to deal with more attrition on the defensive side of the ball as CB Ranthony Texada became the latest victim of a season ending injury to go along with the much publicized Keystone Light incident involving DT Mike Tuaua. TCU's offense continues to hum along at a high level led by Trevone Boykin and his stable of receivers, which should give them a chance in every game they play. This allows Gary Patterson a chance to coach up the corps he has left with his defense to improve over the course of the season, but a matchup with a red hot Texas Tech offense comes at a bad time. QB Pat Mahomes has put his name in the mix for Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year to this point, and he is coming off a game at Arkansas in which he completed 26 of 30 passes. My sources say that's a pretty good percentage. But the difference between this Tech offense and others from the recent air raid past is the presence of a serious ground attack. DeAndre Washington is averaging almost 100 yards/game and is right at 8 yards/carry for the season. Both defenses appear to be in for a long day and I typically like to go with the home team in shootouts. Add in that Tech is well aware that TCU dropped 82 on them last season and I just get a weird feeling that the Red Raiders will pull off the upset in an absolutely wild game. It is Lubbock after all. And if Gary Patterson doesn't like the way things go "south of here", I don't think he'll find the west any more to his liking.

Prediction: Texas Tech 58 TCU 55