TCU, Texas Tech meet in pivotal Big 12 clash

Big 12 Wheel of Fortune FTWNo. 24 TCU (1-1) at Texas Tech (2-0)
After being suspended for much of last season, senior TCU quarterback Casey Pachall broke his arm in last week’s game against Southeastern Louisiana. Backup sophomore quarterback Trevone Boykin was able to come in and lift TCU to the victory, throwing for 133 yards and two touchdowns on only 13 pass attempts.

On the other side of the ball, few teams have been as explosive offensively as Texas Tech early in the season. True freshman quarterback Baker Mayfield ranks third in college football with 780 total passing yards through two games. Tech is also top 10 in the country at scoring with 51 points per game. They have only played SMU and SFA, but they look revamped under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

This sets up to be one of the marquee Big 12 games of the weekend. The game will be broadcast nationally on a Thursday night, and pits two teams with a lot to prove up against each other. While TCU has historically been the better team, don’t be surprised if Texas Tech puts up a fight.

No. 14 Oklahoma (2-0) vs. Tulsa (1-1)
Oklahoma is the second highest rated team coming out of the Big 12, but they showed holes in its game against West Virginia. Oklahoma ranks 110th in all of the FBS in passing yards and benched starting quarterback Travis Knight for Blake Bell. No one is quite sure who will start this week. Oklahoma’s defense has been solid, only allowing seven points through the first two games.

Tulsa is a perennial contender in Conference USA, including another conference championship last season after going 10-3. Out of conference, Tulsa is typically overmatched. Against Bowling Green, Tulsa was beaten 34-7. They run a balanced offense led by senior running back Trey Watts, who is averaging 251 all-purpose yards through two games.
While Oklahoma has questions to address, they are on a different level than Tulsa, and should easily take care of business in Norman.

West Virginia (1-1) vs. Georgia State (0-2)
West Virginia started out the season with a game that was too close for comfort against William & Mary. In their second game however, their defense held No. 16 Oklahoma to only 16 points and 119 yards of passing. So far this season, WVU ranks 110 out of 123 teams in scoring with only 15.5 points per game. This team is clearly not the offensive juggernaut led by Geno Smith last season.

Georgia State is largely considered to be one of the worst teams in all of Division I football. The Panthers only launched their football program in 2010, and in fact only became an FBS team this season in the Sun Belt Conference. Last season, Georgia State went 1-10 in FCS play, and is so far 0-2 this season. Both of their losses were to Division I-AA teams.

West Virginia has issues that they have to work out, but they will have another week to figure things out. They should walk over Georgia State.

Iowa State (0-1) vs. Iowa (1-1)
Iowa State was one of the FBS teams that lost to an FCS team in their first game this season. The Cyclones lost 28-20 to Northern Iowa. Cyclone sophomore quarterback Sam Richardson put up 242 yards and two touchdowns, but Iowa State’s defense allowed Panthers’ running back David Johnson to have 240 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns.

After a come from behind loss to Northern Illinois in their first game, Iowa rebounded by beating Missouri State 28-14 in the second week. Junior running back Mark Weisman led the Hawkeyes with 180 yards and two touchdowns against MSU, part of a 296 yard rushing effort by Iowa. Iowa averages nearly 250 yards on the ground through two games.

This in-state rivalry game should be a tough test for Iowa State given their struggles against the run. Iowa State had two weeks to dwell on their loss, and has won the last two battles for the Cy-Hawk Trophy.

Kansas State (1-1) vs. Massachusetts (0-2)
Kansas State lost the vast majority of their starters after a BCS berth last season. This year’s rendition of the team has struggled early, losing to two-time FCS champion North Dakota State in their season opener. New quarterback Jake Waters has been decent in his two starts, but mistake prone. He averages 279 yards of passing a game, but has four interceptions as well.

Like Georgia State, UMass is not known for their football program. The Minutemen officially became a full member of the FBS this season after being in a period of transition for the last two seasons. Last year, they went 1-11, with their only win coming against Akron. In their two games so far this season, they have been outscored 69-14.

Even though Kansas State lost to FCS opponent North Dakota State, UMass is nowhere near the quality of the two time FCS champions, and should be disposed of easily.

No. 12 Oklahoma State (2-0) vs. Lamar (1-1)
The old adage goes that if you have two quarterbacks, you really don’t have one. The saying came true this week as sophomore J.W Walsh separated himself to win the starting job at Oklahoma State. Since then, he has thrown for 461 yards and four touchdowns on 77.8% accuracy in two wins.

Lamar is an FCS team, but one that kept things close against FBS team Louisiana Tech 27-14. Last season, Lamar went 4-8, including 1-6 in conference play in the FCS Southland Conference.

Oklahoma State is a more complete and talented team than Lamar, and should blow Lamar out of the water.

Kansas (1-0) at Rice (0-1)
Last season, Kansas finished last in the Big 12 with a record of 1-11. With their win last week against South Dakota, they matched their win total from the year before. Kansas is led by senior running back James Sims. Sims finished with 94 yards and two touchdowns in the Jayhawk’s 34-14 win over South Dakota.

Rice posted a record of 7-6 in Conference USA in 2012. Despite a loss, Rice had a good showing against No. 7 Texas A&M in their first game this season.

Before Manziel returned, the Owls were within seven points with a 21-28 halftime deficit. Rice was led by 306 yards of rushing, including 107 yards and 2 touchdowns from senior running back Charles Ross.

Kansas and Rice met during the 2012 season in Lawrence. Rice pulled out a victory over Kansas 25-24. This year’s game is at Rice Stadium in Houston. While this game won’t make or break a season, it should be a sign whether or not Charlie Weis has begun to turn the Kansas program around.

Texas (1-1) vs. No. 25 Ole Miss (2-0)
The University of Texas is coming off a disastrous loss against BYU. Texas allowed BYU to amass 550 rushing yards, led by sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill and his 259 yards and three rushing touchdowns. After the loss, Texas fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. The offense is not much better, finishing with 21 points and less total yards than the Cougars had rushing yards.

Ole Miss has won both of their games so far, including a grind-it-out win at Vanderbilt.

The Running Rebels average 239 yards per game rushing and have scored seven rushing touchdowns through two games.
Junior quarterback Bo Wallace has also thrown for 235 yards a game and a touchdown, so the passing game must still be respected.

There is no doubt that Texas wants to come out and make a statement in their next game, but Ole Miss may not be the team to do it against. Texas will be improved in their next game, but it is doubtful they will be improved enough to beat a ranked Ole Miss squad in Oxford.