The Big-12 doesn’t have many great games to open up the season, but there are definitely some interesting ones. The game of the week is without a doubt Texas against Notre Dame, as we finally get a chance to see the Longhorns back in action and hopefully they can finally return to there old selves. Another interesting game is TCU at Minnesota on Thursday, as the Horned Frogs look to make a run at the playoffs. I went 42-14 with my Big-12 picks last year.
Here are my Big 12 week 1 picks:
Thursday, September 3
38 Oklahoma State at Central Michigan 17
42 #2 TCU at Minnesota 17
TCU travels up to TCF Bank Stadium to face the Gophers and this could be a very interesting game if it was a few months from now in the heart of winter. Fortunately for the Horned Frogs the temperature will be in the 80s. I think Minnesota has the ability to keep the game close early, but TCU is too physcial and will pull away big in the second half.
Friday, September 4
49 #4 Baylor at SMU 17
Saturday, September 5
24 South Dakota State at Kansas 27
13 Sam Houston State at Texas Tech 35
17 Akron at #19 Oklahoma 44
3 South Dakota at Kansas State 45
27 Georgia Southern at West Virginia 24
Georgia Southern is coming off a 9-3 season and a Sun Belt Conference Championship, but still somehow missed a Bowl Game due to it being the team’s first year in the FBS (I know it’s a stupid rule). Junior Styler Howard will step in at quarterback for West Virginia and while his future looks bright, he struggles with accuracy and you have to remember this team no longer has Kevin White in their receiving arsenal. The last time the Mountaineers had to break a new QB in they went 4-8. Running back Rushel Shell also returns for his junior season, and West Virginia is hoping he finally has that breakout season everyone has been expecting.
The West Virginia defense (the strength of the team) returns 10 starters, but everybody knows that the triple-option is a pain to cover. There are major holes on the Mountaineers defensive line, but the linebackers and secondary are solid and should make up for any issues on the defensive front.
Georgia Southern suspended their quarterback Kevin Ellison for the first two games and that would mean trouble for most teams, but the Eagles still have Favian Upshaw, who played well when Ellison was injured last season. Upshaw is a very capable runner, but could struggle if the Mountaineers force him to pass. The strength of the Eagles is their defense, which returns 16 contributors from 2014 and was at the tops of the Sun Belt last season. I expect a low scoring game and see the Mountaineers struggling on offense and having a tough time stopping Georgia Southern and the triple option.
23 Texas at #11 Notre Dame 20
This is the one game I’ve had trouble deciding on in the Big 12 this week. The Charlie Strong era is entering year two and Texas fans are getting anxious. Notre Dame is a top ranked team yet again and just like every season I think they’re overrated based on the school’s history. This matchup will be all about defense and should be a very close game. Strong finally has the Longhorns set up the way he wants, and I predict Texas to get off to a hot start in 2015.
20 Northern Iowa at Iowa State 31