Cincinnati @ BYU
Friday, September 29th 9:15 PM CT, ESPN
Both BYU (3-1, 0-1) and Cincinnati (2-2, 0-1) started off their inaugural Big 12 conference campaigns with losses. BYU battled with Kansas on the road before ultimately falling, 38-27. The difference was two scores by Kansas’s defense. So if BYU can clean up the turnovers they should be alright. Cincinnati played a really nice defensive game against Oklahoma. The problem was they only scored two field goals, losing 20-6 to the Sooners. As things stand right now, BYU is the more complete team so I have them winning at home with that tricky altitude.
#24 Kansas @ #3 Texas
Saturday, September 30th 2:30 PM CT, ABC
The only top 25 matchup of the Big 12 weekend features #24 Kansas (4-0, 1-0) traveling to #3 Texas (4-0, 1-0). The Jayhawks took care of business against BYU by being the tougher, more swarming defensive team. That’s a great sign for the Jayhawks because their offense struggled until later in the game. Last year, Kansas leaned heavily on its offense led by quarterback Jalon Daniels. If they have a stronger defense to lean on when the offense stumbles, the Jayhawks could be a real threat this season. Texas on the other hand is definitely a threat, cooking Baylor in Waco in their last game to the tune of 38-6. Texas is just too strong in the trenches for me to see Kansas winning this game. But the Jayhawks definitely have the opportunity to do one of the funniest things ever here.
Houston @ Texas Tech
Saturday, September 30th 2:30 PM CT, FS2
This has the potential to be an ugly, ugly game. Texas Tech (1-3, 0-1) lost to West Virginia in their last game, but the even bigger loss for Tech was quarterback Tyler Shough suffering a fractured fibula. So the Red Raiders now have to rely on Behren Morton who only put together a 16.1 QBR against WVU... that isn’t going to get it done. Houston (2-2, 0-1) snagged a much needed win over Sam Houston last weekend, 38-7. However, that win doesn’t erase their ugly losses to Rice and TCU. Even with the backup quarterback, Tech is a stronger all around team and should be able to secure a home win here.
28-24 Texas Tech
Baylor @ UCF
Saturday, September 30th 2:30 PM CT, FS1
Baylor (1-3, 0-1) got absolutely dismantled last weekend against Texas. I think a large part of that is how good Texas is, especially in the trenches. But that game revealed plenty of issues Baylor faces that won’t be easily remedied. UCF (3-1, 0-1) kicked off its Big 12 membership with a high-scoring loss to Kansas State, 44-31. UCF’s passing attack is certainly its strength, something that Baylor will need to find a way to slow down. The positive is that for a team like Baylor that wants to run the ball, UCF did a terrible job against Kansas State’s rushing attack. So optimistically, maybe Baylor will be able to get some push and get the ball moving on the ground against UCF? But pessimistically, I don’t think Baylor is in a place to get this road win.
Iowa State @ #14 Oklahoma
Saturday, September 30th 6:00 PM CT, FS1
Iowa State (2-2, 1-0) secured a much needed win on the back of a surprising offensive explosion against Oklahoma State last weekend, winning 34-27. The Cyclones decided to basically air raid it... and it worked! Quarterback Rocco Becht put together 348 yards of passing and three touchdowns. The Cyclones now travel to #14 Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0). The Sooners are odd because they’re undefeated but there is still quite a bit of pessimism surrounding the team. Part of that is the wildly inconsistent offensive play, with the Sooners scoring 73 and 66 against Arkansas State and Tulsa, but only amassing 28 and 20 against SMU and Cincinnati. So OU is definitely susceptible to good defenses, something Iowa State has. The problem for Iowa State is that Oklahoma’s defense certainly looks improved this year. And while Iowa State did well offensively last week, there’s going to need to be some more consistency there before that is seen as a trend and not an aberration. That’s especially true given Iowa State only scored seven against Ohio two weeks ago. So I’ve got Oklahoma winning this one since who knows what Iowa State offense shows up.
West Virginia @ TCU
Saturday, September 30th 7:00 PM CT, ESPN2
TCU (3-1, 1-0) picked up a nice rivalry win over SMU last weekend, following up their conference opening win against Houston. The Horned Frogs now host West Virginia (3-1, 1-0) who has honestly been a bit of a surprise this season. I was one of many who wrote off WVU in the preseason as potentially being at or near the bottom of the Big 12. But the Mountaineers have won all but their game against a very good Penn State, including a 20-13 defensive slugfest against Texas Tech last week. The Mountaineers’ offense is certainly suspect, but their defense is somewhere in very-good land. And so while WVU is a team on the rise, I think they ultimately falter on the road against TCU.