Big 12 Preview: Week One

The Big 12 football schedule starts off with a bang on opening weekend, and features more top tier opposition than any other conference.

SAFE AT HOME

None of the nine Big 12 teams in action this week face a true road game. Seven teams are at home, while Oklahoma State and West Virginia face the toughest two opponents (Florida State and Alabama) at neutral site venues. The Cowboys are much closer to Stillwater as they only have to venture down the interstate to Arlington to face the Seminoles, while West Virginia faces the more daunting trip to Atlanta to square off against the Crimson Tide, which is just a short hop away from the Georgia Dome venue.

EXPERIENCE UNDER CENTER

Every Big 12 team returns at least one quarterback this season with starting experience. Only Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas started a senior QB at the conclusion of the 2013 season.


BACKED BY FACT

The "one true champion" mantra is alreading getting a bit old for seasons Big 12 observers, but there's no denying the fact that league teams aren't backing down from challenges. Big 12 2014 out of conference opponents boasted a .560 winning percentage a year ago -- tops amoung the power five. While some of those foes might have cleaned up on weaker oppositions, there are just as many big dogs that legitimately bolster the schedule. Thirty-three percent of the Big 12's out of conference opponents are from the other "power 5" leagues -- again, tops by percentage in the NCAA.


PICKS

  • North Dakota State is no slouch, as it proved to Kansas State a year ago. Despite significant personnel losses it does so again on the windswept plains of Ames.

  • West Virginia looks to be improved. That won't be enough to get a win in what amounts to an Alabama home environment in Atlanta, Ga.

  • Kansas State has the best fundamentals and the best coach in the Big 12. Those facts alone equal a win over the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin.

  • Oklahoma warms up for its assault on the Big 12 top spot with a romp over Louisiana Tech.

  • How will TCU respond to the loss of tis defensive anchor? Samford won't provide the true answer to that question, as the Horned Frogs will roll.

  • Texas Tech has some questions to answer after a tough second half of the 2013 season.They'll find a few by downing Central Arkansas.

  • If this were last year, Oklahoma State would have had at least a puncher's chance against Florida State. While the Cowboys' cupboard isn't bare, it's tough to imagine them winning a shootout with the Seminoles, even with the Texas prairie as a backdrop.

  • Predictions for Texas are all over the map, ranging from flop to renaissance. A couple of pundits are even picking them as CFP participants. That's over the top, but they'll have no trouble brushing aside North Texas.

  • Is Baylor being overlooked? It hardly seems possible, but Oklahoma and Texas appear to be grabbing the lion's share of preseason attention. That's a mistake. The Bears begin the year with a smashing of SMU.



    Baylor

    0-0 / 0-0
    vs SMU
    Sun Aug 31
    7:30 PM E / 6:30 PM C
    Fox Sports 1
    Baylor opens the season at its new McLane Stadium, a 45,000-seat on-campus facility. The Bears had played home games at Floyd Casey Stadium since 1950.

    Returning senior QB Bryce Petty established 17 school records in 2013, including nine single-season marks in leading BU to its first Big 12 championship.


    Iowa State

    0-0 / 0-0
    vs N.D. State
    Sat Aug 30
    12:00 PM E / 11:00 AM C
    Fox Sports 1
    Iowa State racked up 500 yards of total off ense in back-to-back games to close the 2013 season with victories, something no Cyclone team had done since 2009.

    The Cyclones return 11 starters on the off ensive side of the ball, including eight linemen who made up 56 of the 60 available starts in 2013.


    Kansas

    0-0 / 0-0
    Open Date
    Next Game
    Sat Sep 6
    Fox
    Kansas, which has an open week to begin the season, starts the 2014 campaign against Southeast Missouri State on Sept. 6. The Jayhawks have won three consecutive season-openers.

    Sophomore quarterback Montell Cozart, who played seven games and started three last season, has been named the 2014 opening-day starter.


    Kansas State


    0-0 / 0-0
    vs Stephen F. Austin
    Sat Aug 30
    7:00 PM E / 6:00 PM C
    KStateHD.TV
    The Wildcats have opened the season ranked between No. 20 and No. 25 three times and have finished an average of nine spots higher in those years. This season they are No. 20/21 in the preseason polls.

    Senior receiver Tyler Lockett ranks No. 4 in school history in career receptions (143) and touchdown catches (18). Both top marks are held by his father, Kevin.


    Oklahoma

    0-0 / 0-0
    vs Louisiana Tech
    Sat Aug 30
    7:00 PM E / 6:00 PM C
    Fox PPV
    Returning quarterback Trevor Knight capped his freshman season with 348 yards and four touchdowns in OU’s 45-31 victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

    The Sooners have been ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press Poll 537 weeks, tied for the most of any school.


    Oklahoma State

    0-0 / 0-0
    vs Florida St
    Sat Aug 30
    8:00 PM E / 7:00 PM C
    ABC
    No. 1 Florida State will be the fifth-consecutive ranked opponent and the sixth-ranked opponent in the last seven games for the Cowboys.

    Junior quarterback J.W. Walsh passed for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013 while sophomore Jhajuan Seales had 571 receiving yards and three scores.


    TCU

    0-0 / 0-0
    vs Samford
    Sat Aug 30
    7:00 PM E / 6:00 PM C
    Fox Sports Net
    TCU has one of the most unique schedules in college football, as 10 of its 12 games will be played in the state of Texas. The only exceptions are trips to West Virginia (Nov. 1) and Kansas (Nov. 15).

    The Horned Frogs return 17 starters from last season, including eight from a defense that ranked No. 21 nationally in rushing defense.


    Texas

    0-0 / 0-0
    vs North Texas
    Sat Aug 30
    8:00 PM E / 7:00 PM C
    Longhorn Network
    The season opener will mark the beginning of the Charlie Strong era at Texas. Strong, the 29th head coach in school history, compiled a 23-3 record in his final two seasons at Louisville.

    Returning are the running back duo of Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray, the Longhorns’ leading rushers in 2013. Brown had a team-high 904 yards, followed by Gray with 780 yards.


    Texas Tech

    0-0 / 0-0
    vs Central Arkansas
    Sat Aug 30
    7:00 PM E / 6:00 PM C
    Fox Sports Net
    Returning are the running back duo of Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray, the Longhorns’ leading rushers in 2013. Brown had a team-high 904 yards, followed by Gray with 780 yards.

    Texas Tech has won 11-consecutive season openers, 10 of which came by double digits. Last year the team won its first seven games.


    West Virginia

    0-0 / 0-0
    vs Alabama
    Sat Aug 30
    3:30 PM E / 2:30 PM C
    ABC/ESPN2
    West Virginia returns 19 starters, including eight on the defensive side of the ball. There are 21 seniors on the 2014 WVU roster.

    Starting quarterback Clint Trickett returns after throwing for 1,605 yards and seven touchdowns in just eight games in 2013.

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