BIG 12 FOOTBALL WEEKEND PREVIEW
Kansas (1-1) vs. Louisiana Tech (1-2)
So far this season, the Kansas Jayhawks have been decidedly poor. After taking care of business against a bad South Dakota team, Kansas was soundly defeated by Rice a week later. While Rice is not a bad team, it is not the type of team that should be beating Big 12 opponents. Kansas has struggled mightily throwing the ball with 140.0 passing yards a game.
Louisiana Tech has not been much better this season. Only a year ago, Louisiana Tech led all of Division I college football with 577.9 yards per game. This season, Tech ranks 94th with under 350 offensive yards a game. After finishing third in passing yards last year, they are 101st in the country with under 170 yards a game. While a loss to North Carolina State was expected, a loss to Tulane shows that this football team is a shell of what it was last season.
A year ago, Louisiana Tech would have blown Kansas out of the water. With both teams looking like one of the worst in their respected conferences, Kansas has an opportunity to get a win.
West Virginia (2-1) at Maryland (3-0)
After struggling against William & Mary in week one, West Virginia kept things close against then No. 16 Oklahoma, before blowing out Georgia State last week. The story for West Virginia so far has been its defensive performance. Other than a seven point performance against WVU, Oklahoma has scored an average of 42.5 points per game. Over three games, West Virginia is 16th in the nation with 13.3 points allowed per game. The offense has been suspect, but the defense has been able to keep them competitive throughout the season.
After finishing second to last in total offense last year with 284.8 yards per game, Maryland is currently top ten in the nation with 554.7 yards per game. Quarterback C.J Brown is currently 11th in the country in total offense with 363.3 yards per game. The Terrapin defense has held opponents to an average of 13.7 points per game.
It will be interesting to see whether West Virginia’s defense is real and whether it can hold up against a high-powered offense like Maryland. Whether or not that is true, West Virginia will have a tough time scoring enough points to beat Maryland.
No. 20 Baylor (2-0) vs. Louisiana-Monroe (2-1)
Baylor comes into the game as arguably the hottest team in college football. Baylor ranks third in passing yards per game with 431.5, eighth in rushing yards with 305 per game, first in points per game with 69.5 and second in points against with 8.0 allowed per game. In his last game against Buffalo, junior quarterback Bryce Petty threw for the highest ESPN QBR of the season with a 99.7 rating out of a possible 100.
Baylor’s defense is also top 20 in the nation in total defense and No. 2 in the nation in scoring defense.
After being embarrassed by Oklahoma in week one, the Warhawks have played respectably for the past two weeks. They blew out Grambling State in week two, and showed poise in a two-point victory over Wake Forest last week.
ULM’s defense has held teams to 21.0 points per game, but will have a lofty challenge on Saturday against statistically the best offense in college football.
After a shootout against ULM last season in Monroe, Baylor should be looking to make a statement that they belong among college football’s elite programs.
The Bears can take another step in that direction by beating ULM.
No. 25 Texas Tech (3-0) vs. Texas State (2-0)
After the departure of Tommy Tuberville as coach, Tech brought in former Texas A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury as the new head coach.
After naming walk-on true freshman Baker Mayfield as Tech’s starting quarterback, Mayfield has gone on to lead a passing unit that is fifth in college football with 400.0 passing yards a game, despite the lack of a running threat.
The success culminated with a win over then No. 24 TCU last week and a berth in the AP Top 25. The defense has held teams to an average of 15.3 points per game.
Texas State’s defense has been dominant this year, holding teams to 313.5 total yards per game and 9.0 points per game, but they have not faced anything close to Tech’s offense. Their first two games were against Southern Mississippi and Prairie View A&M.
The Red Raiders are a whole different animal than those two teams. State’s offense has also ranked 112th in the nation in total offense.
Tech is oozing with confidence after their win against TCU, and should take care of business easily against Texas State.
Texas (1-2) vs. Kansas State (2-1)
The only conference game of the weekend pits a sliding Texas Longhorns squad against a Kansas State team looking for redemption. Kansas State lost week one to an FCS team, and hasn’t really lived that down.
They have beaten Louisiana-Lafayette and Massachusetts since then, but the stigma of the loss to a FCS opponent is still there. After a wildly successful 2012 season, Bill Snyder may have run out of talent to be competitive in Manhattan.
The Longhorns are currently third to last in rushing yards allowed at 308.7 yards per game, and that is a stat that will follow them until they how to stop the run defensively.
Offensively, the Horns haven’t been a whole lot better.
Against Ole Miss, Texas led early in the game before their offense completely shut down in the second half. At what point will Texas’ management decide the lack of consistency is a coaching issue?
The one bright spot is that highly touted sophomore running back Johnathan Gray finally posted a good performance this season with 91 rushing yards and a touchdown. He will be key for the Texas offense to improve.
Texas is not as bad as it has played this season. The Longhorns will look to prove that in the first conference game in Austin against a mediocre Kansas State team.