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Big 12 Football Preview: Week 1!

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

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BAAAAAAACK! And we so excited. It's time for another year of fun games and countless arguments in the Big 12. Week 1 gives us a full slate of games that appear to be pretty one-sided. But we often find out on opening weekend that we know absolutely nothing at all. So let's get past the silly season and see how wrong my picks will be this week:

North Dakota State @ Iowa State
Jack Trice Stadium (Ames, IA)
11:00 AM CT, FS1
Line: N/A

Iowa State opens the Big 12 slate one trying to rebound from a 3-9 campaign in 2013. They'll start with what appears to be the biggest toss up game in the conference this weekend against 3 time defending FCS national champion North Dakota State. Iowa State is an interesting case this season especially on offense with the hiring of former Kansas head coach Mark Mangino as offensive coordinator. I was surprised to see Sam Richardson beat out Grant Rohach for the starting QB spot but either guy will have a nice set of playmakers to work with. The Cyclone defense remains the major question mark if they are to make some forward strides this season. Despite losing several key contributors and their head coach Craig Bohl, NDSU is still the preseason #1 in FCS and will provide a big test for the Cyclones. Iowa State will be ready though, and I think they squeak out a close one.

Prediction: Iowa State 24 North Dakota State 23

For more on Iowa State, check out Wide Right & Natty Lite, SB Nation's Blog for the Iowa State Cyclones.

West Virginia v. #2 Alabama
Georgia Dome (Atlanta, GA)
2:30 PM CT, ABC
Line: Alabama (-26)

Much to the dismay of Amy Pagitt, the major newsmaker going into this game has revolved around West Virginia QB Clint Trickett and Nick Saban's daughter. That should tell you all you need to know about how close (or not) this game is being perceived to be. WVU will look to continue the success of spread offense teams against the vaunted Alabama defense. The Mountaineers are counting on a healthy Trickett help an improved Holgo offensive machine along with what has the making of a solid running game. The difference in this game will likely be the Crimson Tide's ability to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. It will be interesting to see how well the West Virginia defense can hold up against Bama's RB duo of T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry. WVU should have enough to hang around for a little while but Alabama will just be too much for the Eers. I don't know if they will be 26 points better though.

Prediction: Alabama 40 West Virginia 17

For more on West Virginia, check out Smoking Musket, SB Nation's blog for the West Virginia Mountaineers.

Stephen F. Austin @ #20 Kansas State
Bill Snyder Family Stadium (Manhattan, KS)
6:00 PM CT
Line: N/A

K-State will try to avoid a second consecutive season opening loss to an FCS opponent as they welcome SFA to Snyderville. The Wildcats have a habit of coming out slowly in these kind of games but I would expect that they'll put away the Jacks in the 2nd half. We'll learn more about K-State in the coming weeks.

Prediction: Kansas State 31 Stephen F. Austin 6

For more on Kansas State, check out Bring On The Cats, SB Nation's Blog for the Kansas State Wildcats.

Samford @ TCU
Amon G. Carter Stadium (Fort Worth, TX)
6:30 PM CT, FSN
Line: N/A

TCU begins its 2014 campaign against mighty Samford from the FCS ranks. It will be interesting to watch the Horned Frogs' QB situation as it has still not been announced whether Trevone Boykin or Matt Joeckel will get the start. I would expect both to see significant playing time in this one. The Horned Frog defense will make easy work of the Bulldogs.

Prediction: TCU 38 Samford 7

For more on TCU, check out Frogs O' War, SB Nation's blog for the TCU Horned Frogs.

Central Arkansas @ Texas Tech
Jones AT&T Stadium (Lubbock, TX)
6:00 PM CT, FSN
Line: N/A

Texas Tech has a good offense. Central Arkansas is an average FCS team. This will get ugly very quickly. Next.

Prediction: Texas Tech 62 Central Arkansas 24

For more on Texas Tech, check out Viva The Matadors, SB Nation's Blog for the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Louisiana Tech @ #4 Oklahoma
Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (Norman, OK)
6:00 PM CT, PPV
Line: Oklahoma (-36)

The preseason pick to win the Big 12 opens the season at home against the La Techsters. The big question for OU remains the consistency of their QB play behind Trevor Knight. Former QB Blake Bell moved over to TE during the offseason but was reportedly taking snaps back at QB in practice a couple weeks ago. The Sooners will also work in RB Keith Ford in place of the suspended Joe Mixon. This Louisiana Tech offense is not the juggernaut that it was 2 years ago when Sonny Dykes was roaming the sidelines. I don't foresee the Oklahoma defense having much trouble in this one. OU wins big and does just enough to cover the giant spread.

Prediction: Oklahoma 48 Louisiana Tech 10

For more on Oklahoma, check out Crimson and Cream Machine, SB Nation's blog for the Oklahoma Sooners.

Oklahoma State v. #1 Florida State
AT&T Stadium (Arlington, TX)
7:00 PM CT, ABC
Line: Florida State (-18)

Oklahoma State opens the season with an absolute doozy against the defending national champion and preseason #1 Florida State. This is the College Gameday game of the week and it should be a good atmosphere at Jerryworld for a fun game of Cowboys and Indians. OSU has a lot of new pieces of both sides of the ball, especially defensively, which is likely a bad omen against a Florida State team that has legitimate NFL talent at every position on the field. One could make the argument that the Seminoles have the best offense and best defense in the country (I won't, but some think this). In order for the Gundys to have any chance, they have to find a way to control the clock and manage FSU's running game up front defensively. Even with a QB like Jameis Winston, the task is a little easier if you make the opponent one-dimensional. OSU is in line for another solid season but this game comes at a really bad time. FSU rolls big.

Fank's Prediction: Florida State 49 Oklahoma State 17

For more on Oklahoma State, check out Cowboys Ride For Free, SB Nation's Blog for the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

North Texas @ Texas
Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (Austin, TX)
7:00 PM CT, LHN
Line: Texas (-25.5)

The first game of the Charlie Strong era at Texas has an in-state flavor as UNT heads down to Austin. The Longhorns will look to establish some momentum in this game before they begin an early season 5 game gauntlet. Texas should be set up to be very solid defensively given Strong's background as a defensive coordinator and his time at Louisville. The key for Texas' success will lie with the QB play as it does with several teams in this conference. David Ash's health is one of the biggest wild cards of the season. Ash is fortunate to have a strong running game to help him out and the Horns should be able to be successful in play action. I don't expect this to be a blowout as some think as North Texas has a solid club that won 8 games a year ago and is projected by many to win the C-USA West this year. But I think Texas will overpower UNT even if it doesn't necessarily show up in the score.

Fank's Prediction: Texas 28 North Texas 14

For more on Texas, check out each of the SB Nation blogs for the Texas Longhorns: Barking Carnival and Burnt Orange Nation.