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Big 12 Preview: Week 3

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

George Frey

GEORGIA STATE (0-2) @ WEST VIRGINIA (1-1)

Milan Puskar Stadium (Morgantown, WV)

11:00 AM CT

West Virginia returns home following a conference-opening loss last week in Norman. They will return with a new quarterback as redshirt freshman Ford Childress will get his first start for the Mountaineers, replacing the more experienced but ineffective Paul Millard. Childress is a Houston native (Kinkaid HS) who is the son of former Pro Bowl OL Ray Childress, who sadly is no longer clobbering big city prices. Georgia State is a provisional member of FBS this season via the Sun Belt Conference and are off to an 0-2 start, coming off a rough 42-14 loss to Chattanooga last week. WVU should look to get the ball in RB Charles Sims' hands early and often. The Mountaineers should put this game away early and allow their young QB to get some much needed reps.

TULSA (1-1) @ #14 OKLAHOMA (2-0)

Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (Norman, OK)

11:00 AM CT, ABC

Oklahoma takes on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in their final tune up before a rematch with Notre Dame in 2 weeks. Blake Bell takes over as the starting QB in place of injured Trevor Knight. There have been a lot of questions about Bell's passing ability so it will be interesting to see how he fares when given the keys to the OU offense. Oklahoma's defense has been it's strength to this point, allowing just 7 points in it's first 2 games. Tulsa has had some solid teams in Conference USA in recent years but they have been slow out of the gates, edging Colorado State last week after getting spanked by Bowling Green in the opener. Bob Stoops is 6-0 at OU against Tulsa and I think the Sooners pull away in the 2nd half behind their revitalized defense and running game.

IOWA (1-1) @ IOWA STATE (0-1)

Jack Trice Stadium (Ames, IA)

5:00 PM CT, FS1

Iowa State gets back to action against long time in-state rival Iowa in Ames. The Cyclones look to bounce back following an embarrassing season-opening defeat to Northern Iowa. In that game, Iowa State really struggled with their run defense, likely a product of the loss of several key defensive starters from 2012 including linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott. I look for the Cyclone defense to show signs of improvement following the bye week. Iowa has looked fairly shaky in their first 2 games after a 4-8 season last year. Now is the time to remind you that Iowa is paying Kirk Ferentz $3.9 million this year with an asinine buyout. ISU has won the last 2 meetings in the series and I think they'll squeak out a close one at home. Afterwards they can raise the Cy-Hawk trophy. Whatever abomination it actually looks like these days.

MASSACHUSETTS (0-2) @ KANSAS STATE (1-1)

Bill Snyder Family Stadium (Manhattan, KS)

6:00 PM CT

The SnyderCats look to build on their win over UL-Lafayette last week as they play at home for the third straight week. K-State looked much improved against the Ragin' Cajuns and can be expected to dominate this week. UMass might just be the worst team going in FBS, a meager 1-13 over the past 2 seasons. The key to watch in this game is whether K-State can get its struggling running game kickstarted before they begin conference play next Saturday against Texas. Waco's own RB John Hubert has only run for 79 yards on 28 carries through the first 2 games as K-State adjusts to life without Collin Klein. The ground game has been a hallmark of Bill Snyder coached teams over the years and I don't expect the Wildcats to struggle with it the entire season. K-State should roll in this one.

KANSAS (1-0) @ RICE (0-1)

Rice Stadium (Houston, TX)

6:30 PM CT, CBSSN

Kansas hits the road for the first time this season to play the Rice Owls. Kansas is coming off a 31-14 win over South Dakota, the Jayhawks' first win since Week 1 of 2012. This game should give us more answers as to just what kind of team that Charlie Weis has after bringing in a slew of junior college transfers. It will also be interesting to see if the offense opens up a bit more for big armed QB Jake Heaps, who threw just 20 times last week. Rice is at home after an impressive performance in College Station 2 weeks ago, giving the Aggies a game until turnovers and that Johnny Football guy did them in. The Owls piled up 306 yards on the ground in that game and can be expected to rely on their running game in this one as well. Rice won last season in Lawrence on a last second field goal and I think they hold off the Jayhawks again in front of a raucous home crowd (kidding).

LAMAR (1-1) @ #12 OKLAHOMA STATE (2-0)

Boone Pickens Stadium (Stillwater, OK)

6:30 PM CT

After a tumultuous week off the field (money! drugs! sex!), the fighting Mike Gundys finally play their home opener in Stillwater against Southland Conference opponent Lamar. Oklahoma State is actually playing it's second consecutive game against a school that wasn't playing football as recently as 2009 after routing UTSA a week ago. The Cowboy offense got on track last week behind a near perfect performance from QB J.W. Walsh who was 24/27 for 326 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Lamar had a notable result earlier in the season with a 75-0 win over Oklahoma Panhandle State. Take out the Panhandle and this becomes a much tougher task for the Cardinals. OSU should have little trouble in this game, cruising to a 3-0 start to wrap up non-conference play.

#25 OLE MISS (2-0) @ TEXAS (1-1)

Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (Austin, TX)

7:00 PM CT, LHN

If Oklahoma State was this week's focus off the field, then ohhhhhh was Texas the focus on the field. Mack Brown has been in hot water all week after firing defensive coordinator Manny Diaz on the heels of last week's abject disaster at BYU. To add to the mess, Texas announced today that QB David Ash and RB/WR Daje Johnson have been ruled out of tomorrow night's game with injuries. This means Case McCoy starts at QB, which more often than not ends in gratuitous amounts of Longhorn tears. Into Austin rolls newly ranked Ole Miss. The Rebels bring in a talented and confident young team that featured the #1 recruiting class in the country in 2013. If the Longhorns couldn't tackle last week against BYU, they'll certainly have a fun time trying to tackle the athletes that Ole Miss possesses offensively. Texas will look to establish their running game early and often but I don't see their defense keeping pace. An Ole Miss buddy of mine pointed out that TV executives with the Longhorn Network probably never planned to have a ranked SEC team playing an unranked Texas on their network. I look for Ole Miss to take this one on the road.