Big 12 Roundup: This weekend in college football

Big 12 Roundup FTWBy Cody Soto
Sports Writer

Saturday, Aug. 30:

North Dakota State at Iowa State

North Dakota State will travel to Ames, Iowa to face the Iowa State Cyclones for only the second time in school history. The Cyclones won the last meeting in 2009.

The Thundar are on a 24-game winning streak, the longest active streak in FCS history. Head coach Chris Klieman is set to begin his first season as coach after longtime coach Craig Bohl left for Wyoming. The Thundar bring with them 3 national titles in the FCS, and will face a young and inexperienced Cyclone team.

The Cyclones end their season with a 52-44 triple-overtime win against West Virginia last year in Big 12 conference play. Head coach Paul Rhoads announced junior Sam Richardson will start at quarterback this Saturday. The game will be broadcast at 11 a.m. on Fox Sports 1.

West Virginia at No. 2 Alabama

The Mountaineers will travel to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta this Saturday to face No. 2 Alabama. This is the first time West Virginia has faced a team of Alabama’s caliber in the season opener since top-ranked Ohio State in 1998. West Virginia lost a triple-overtime thriller to Iowa State in Big 12 play, finishing in a tie for seventh place.

After a sour finish in last year’s Sugar Bowl with a loss against Oklahoma, the Crimson Tide look to start the 2014 season on a positive note. Alabama returns 13 starters under head coach Nick Saban. Alabama shared the SEC West regular title with Auburn last year, and will look to continue its winning ways in 2014. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. on ABC.

Louisiana Tech at No. 4 Oklahoma

In their first meeting ever, Louisiana Tech travels to Norman, Okla., to face No. 4 Oklahoma. In order for Louisiana Tech to put points on the board, transfer quarterback Cody Sokol will have to make something happen despite his struggling offensive line. Running backs Tevin King and Kenneth Dixon are the team’s key to scoring against the Sooners.

Follow their 45-31 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, the Sooners are ranked first in the preseason Big 12 poll. After being benched for periods in 2013, Trevor Knight will start at quarterback. Other starter Blake Bell will make the change to tight end this season. Oklahoma will look to make another run at a national championship under 16-year head coach Bob Stoops with a 6 p.m. start.

Samford at TCU

Coming off their first Southern Conference title in 2013, the Samford Bulldogs will face the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth on Saturday.

The Bulldogs return eight defensive and five offensive starters from last year’s team, and will debut junior quarterback Michael Eubank on Saturday.

After a rough 2013 season, the Horned Frogs look to re-establish themselves as a Big 12 competitor. They return 15 starters combined, six offensive and nine defensive. TCU’s key is their defense, but it will be searching for a leader after defensive end Devonte Fields was dismissed from the team due to non-football decisions. TCU and Samford will kick off at 6 p.m.

Central Arkansas at Texas Tech

The Central Arkansas Bears will travel to Lubbock, Texas and face the Texas Tech Red Raiders this Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium.

The Bears will operate under new head coach Steve Campbell this season. Campbell looks to rebuild the program after a plague of injuries crippled the 2013 season.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury returns for his second season with the Red Raiders, and they will face Central Arkansas for the first time in school history. The Red Raiders are coming off a 37-23 win over No. 16 Arizona State in the National University Holiday Bowl. These two teams will kick off at 6 p.m.

Stephen F. Austin at No. 20 Kansas State

Stephen F. Austin travels to Manhattan, Kans. to take on No. 20 Kansas State Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Both teams will play each other for the first time in their school’s history. The Lumberjacks will operate under new head coach Clint Conque in hopes in defeating a Big 12 foe for the first time in school history. Sophomore Zach Conque will start at quarterback.

The Wildcats return seven offensive and five defensive players to the 2014 roster. They will return quarterback Jake Waters, but will have to fill a hole in their top two rushing positions. Kansas State finished the game with a 31-14 win over Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Game time is set for 6:10 p.m.

North Texas at Texas

The Mean Green will travel to Austin, Texas this Saturday to face the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

North Texas looks to rebuild after losing seven defensive starters from last season. New quarterback Josh Greer will lead a struggling and inexperienced offense.

Under new head coach Charlie Strong, Texas looks to return itself to football power once again. Running backs Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray will lead a strong Longhorn run game. Quarterback David Ask returns from concussions, but plays behind an inexperienced offensive line. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on the Longhorn Network.

No. 1 Florida State at Oklahoma State

The 2013 national champions will open the season on the road in Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium against Oklahoma State.

With 2013 Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston, Florida State will continue its depth from last season. It returns 10 starters with a combined 106 starts, and should be competitive for a national title once again.

With little depth and experience, the Cowboys are looking at a rebuilding year. With unproven talent on both sides of the ball, Oklahoma State will rely on quarterback J.W. Walsh to be a leader on offense. This marquee game will start at 7 p.m. on ABC.

Sunday, Aug. 31:

SMU at No. 10 Baylor

SMU will travel to Waco, Texas to play the Big 12 defending champion Baylor Bears at the newly-built McLane Stadium Sunday evening.

SMU will struggle offensively after losing quarterback Garrett Gilbert and only returning six starters from last season. Baylor’s defense will look to take away any rhythm the Mustangs can create.

Baylor returns quarterback and potential Heisman candidate Bryce Petty and many other contributors from the number one offense in the country in 2013. Ranked second in the preseason Big 12 poll, Baylor will look to defend its first Big 12 title under head coach Art Briles. The Bears and Mustangs are meeting for the 80th time in school history; the series is knotted up 36-36-7. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m., and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1.

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