The Big 12 went 7-3 during Week 1 games last season. Can they go a perfect 10-0 this year?
Oklahoma, Kansas State and Iowa State all fell on college football's opening weekend last year. Granted, the Sooners and Wildcats were taken out by two preseason top-15 teams (Houston and Stanford, respectively), but still it was not a strong early showing for a conference besieged by playoff-predicting critics.
None of the conference's 10 teams face top-15 foes to open the 2017 season. In fact, zero teams play a top-25 team, only one (West Virginia) faces a team within the top 50 (No. 30 Virginia Tech) and six play an FCS foe.
|Iowa State||Northern Iowa||Home|
|Kansas State||Central Arkansas||Home|
|Texas Tech||Eastern Washington||Home|
|West Virginia||Virginia Tech||Neutral|
West Virginia's trip to FedEdx Field to face Virginia Tech is the conference's biggest game of Week 1 — by a mile. All eyes will be on Mountaineers' quarterback Will Grier, who will try to put his team in the dark horse playoff conversation with a win.
Elsewhere, Iowa State gets a shot at revenge against Northern Iowa after the Panthers spoiled new head coach Matt Campbell's first game last September. They forced four Cyclone turnovers and controlled most of the game with a clock-eating rushing attack (58 carries for 232 yards). Jacob Park, Allen Lazard and Kamari Cotton-Moya should take care of business for Iowa State.
Also keep an eye on Eastern Washington at Texas Tech — a game that's flying far under the radar during a week dominated by Alabama–Florida State and Michigan–Florida chatter — and Tulsa at Oklahoma State. The Golden Hurricane do not have a defense that can come close to containing Mason Rudolph and the Cowboy's powerful offense but a turnover here and there combined with their own potent offense could make it closer than expected in Stillwater.
Nine of the conference's 10 teams should win — comfortably. But will they?