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Texas Tech, Big 12 Preview & Picks: Week 1

In a new weekly column, Conner sets the stage for Big 12 play and gives game predictions for the week!

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

College football is nigh upon us. Week 1 of the season sees all but one of the Big 12 teams playing opponents from lesser conferences. The Big 12 currently has 3 teams in the Top 25 and come next week I expect that number to stay the same. However, college football has taught us one life lesson; expect the unexpected.

Thursday, September 3

Oklahoma State Cowboys at Central Michigan Chippewas

Kelly/Shorts Stadium; Mount Pleasant, MI; 6:00 PM; ESPNU

So tonight the above programs renew a game that all men have played in their adolescence, Cowboys vs. Indians. Unlike the boyhood game, tonight’s battle won’t be close. The Cowboys will begin their march back to the Top 25 this week with a win. By the way, what makes Mount Pleasant so pleasant?... Oklahoma State 59, Central Michigan 30.

#2 Texas Christian University Horned Frogs at Minnesota Golden Gophers

TCF Bank Stadium; Minneapolis, MN; 8:00 PM; ESPN

Both TCU and Baylor have valid claims that they should have been in the inaugural College Football Playoff last year, and I am of the mind that Baylor (with the win over TCU) should have been in. However, between the two teams this year, I like TCU’s chances better. They seem to be the team that is more "angry" to be left out. Tonight they begin their march of revenge… TCU 45, Minnesota 17.

Friday, September 4

#4 Baylor Bears at Southern Methodist University Mustangs

Gerald J. Ford Stadium; Dallas, TX; 6:00 PM; ESPN

SMU is going to be improved this year with new head coach Chad Morris. However, they are still a team that is coming off a 1-11 season in a low-tier conference. Baylor is just ready to play some football and not answer questions about how much they knew of now convicted criminal, Sam Ukwuachu’s past. The only real question with this game is will more fans of the Bears or Mustangs be in the stands?... Baylor 70, SMU 24.

Saturday, September 5

Kansas Jayhawks vs. South Dakota State Jackrabbits

Memorial Stadium; Lawrence, KS; 11:00 AM; Fox Sports Net

David Beaty is the new man charged with trying to revive the Kansas Jayhawk football squad. I wish him well with that. However, that team is, at minimum, 2-3 years away from contending for a bowl appearance. SDS is one of the better FCS teams. Granted Coach Beaty is taking over a team that is low on talent, but you really don’t want to start your era as coach with a loss to a FCS team. I would expect a close game, but Kansas, somehow, gets the job done. This is the Big 12 game of the weekend where you can get the lawn work done (yay, no nagging wife!) and you won’t be missing much… Kansas 27, South Dakota State 21.

Texas Tech vs. Sam Houston State

Jones AT&T Stadium; Lubbock, TX; 2:30 PM; Fox Sports Southwest.

Last year against Central Arkansas in week one was a precursor of things to come for Tech. They struggled mightily against a lesser opponent. To our horror and disappointment, it never improved against better opponents. Also, I am here to end the speculation on who will be the starting QB. He is already one of a few NFL QBs to play as a grandpa and somehow he found a year of eligibility left to be the first starting college starting QB grandpa. BRETT FAVRE! Hey, if Donald Trump can be a leading candidate for president, I don’t see why Favre can’t play for Tech. (In all seriousness, I expect Mahomes to be the starter come Saturday, but I would not be the least bit surprised if it is Webb)… Texas Tech 49, Sam Houston State 28.

#19 Oklahoma Sooners vs. Akron Zips

Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium; Norman, OK; 6:00 PM; Fox Sports Oklahoma

What, amongst other things, ultimately led to Mack Brown’s downfall at Texas? His inability to find a starting quarterback after Colt McCoy’s departure. Despite that, Texas continued to have high rankings in preseason polls which led to disappointing season his last few years. Are we starting to see the same thing happen to Bob Stoops? Since Landry Jones left no QB has just WOWed everyone for an extended period of time. Now, former Tech QB, Baker Mayfield, has won the starting position from incumbent starter, Trevor Knight. Don't feel bad for Trevor Knight, he still can always set up that date with Katy Perry. Stoops has always seemed a better Xs and Os coach than Mack Brown, but Tech fans saw that Mayfield was no great QB while at Tech. Has he improved enough to be Stoops’ new guy for more than a cup of coffee?... Oklahoma 55, Akron 17.

Kansas State Wildcats vs. South Dakota Coyotes

Bill Snyder Family Stadium; Manhattan, KS; 6:10 PM

Bill Snyder enters his 24th season as the head coach of Kansas State. For the first time since 2010, expectations are pretty low for his team. Lots of turnover on the roster has dropped KSU closer to the bottom of the Big 12 than the top, where they have been located in recent years. On a side note, I was unfamiliar with the state of South Dakota having a major college football program, much less two!… Kansas State 31, South Dakota 14.

Texas Longhorns at #11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame Stadium; Notre Dame, IN; 6:30 PM; NBC

This will be a true litmus test for the Longhorns. Charlie Strong is entering his second year and has made a lot of changes within the program. Will those changes lead to improved results on the field. I am of the mind that they will, and I am also of the mind that the Fighting Irish, per usual, are overrated. I think that this is a winnable road game for the Longhorns in an environment that is historically tough. I’m just not ready to commit this Texas team to deliver the big road wins just yet… Notre Dame 31, Texas 28.

West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Georgia Southern Eagles

Milan Puskar Stadium; Morgantown, WV; 6:30 PM; Fox College Sports

It is make it or break it year for Dana Holgorsen. Since entering the Big 12, his Mountaineers have been a mediocre, at best, club. The former Red Raider coach needs to produce results or he will be out of a job come season’s end… West Virginia 42, Georgia Southern 21.

Iowa State Cyclones vs. Northern Iowa Panthers

Jack Trice Stadium; Ames, IA; 7:00 PM

Another coach on the hot seat is the Cyclones’ Paul Rhoads. Quite frankly, I am surprised that this year is not the first year of a new head coach’s era. In Rhoads’ 6 seasons he one has one winning season, in 2009, and it was a 7-6 year. Unlike WVU’s Dana Holgorsen, I think the odds are overwhelming that Paul Rhoads will not be given another season as head coach. I wonder if he will even make it through this season? Last year, the Cyclones lost to an FCS school by 20 points. It’s going to be close this year and the only reason that I'm choosing Iowa State is because I would hate to see a Big 12 team lose to an FCS opponent two years in a row... Iowa State 24, Northern Iowa 23.

Starting next week I want to go head to head in the picking against a different VTM reader each week. Either comment below or tweet me @ConnerCrisp and I will let you know on Sunday if you have been chosen. In your comment or tweet tell me what you think the final score for this week’s Tech game will be. Whoever is closest is the guest picker for the week. If there is a tie, I choose. Cash and flattery accepted... What the picking will require is for the chosen VTM reader to send me their picks for the upcoming week by 8PM on Tuesday night. All that is needed is a pick on the Big 12 games played that week. No score choice is required, nor is a reason why you chose that team. However, I would be glad to post a 1-2 sentence reason for the pick, if the picker decided write it out. GUNS UP!!!