Abbreviated preview this week as I'm in the middle of moving (real life... it sucks). This also means that your NCAA Football 13 preview is on hiatus this week since my PS3 is... somewhere. I know you all will be sad. Some interesting games this week with favorable TV windows to watch them all.
Last Week: 8-0
EA Sports Last Week: 7-1
Baylor vs Louisiana-Monroe - 7:00 PM CDT Friday - ESPN
The popular upset pick this week based on how ULM beat Arkansas two weeks ago and fell to Auburn in overtime last week. No doubt that all 30,000 people in Malone Stadium will help the place rock but everyone forgets one thing about ULM's past two weeks: Arkansas and Auburn are terrible teams.
Baylor has been up and down so far this year with a dominating performance over Garrett Gilbert-led SMU but the Bears were trailing 20-10 at halftime against Sam Houston State last week. ULM is averaging 480 yards of offense in their two games so far this year and I would argue that Arkansas' defense is on the same quality level as Baylor's. Expect a shootout here but Art Briles is too experienced to fall victim to the Warhawks. Nick Florence has a shaky game in spots and the running game bails out the Bears in this one.
Baylor 41, Louisiana-Monroe 31
Virginia vs TCU - 11:00 AM CDT - ESPN
TCU had issues last week with Kansas when they got near the red zone but had no problem eating up yards at will. Even the turnovers were self-inflicted mistakes more than they were opportunities generated by Kansas. No doubt the loss of Waymon James will have an impact on the Horned Frogs but this is a Virginia team that needed four missed field goals from Penn State to win two weeks ago. Virginia has a good enough defense to hang around early but their offense will leave much to be desired. As long as TCU doesn't go too one dimensional they should take this one easily.
TCU 28, Virginia 10
Maryland vs West Virginia - 11:00 AM CDT - FX
For whatever reason ESPN's ACC blogger picked Maryland to hang around close in this one and slow down Geno Smith and company. Head coach Randy Edsall has the Maryland defense playing well, but like Virginia, their offense leaves a little to be desired. No one can make the argument that Edsall is familiar with West Virginia after his days at UConn as most of the staff has turned over once Dana Holgorsen took over last year. This one becomes a laugher.
West Virginia 45, Maryland 17
Kansas vs Northern Illinois - 2:30 PM CDT - ESPN3
Northern Illinois has gained some notoriety after almost beating Iowa in Chicago, dominating Tennessee-Martin, and pulling off a late win against Army. Their near upset of Kansas in Lawrence last year doesn't hurt either. Unlike last year though, Kansas actually has a somewhat capable offense under Charlie Weis and Dayne Crist. The improvement went from unbearable to tolerable/occasionally efficient. Huskies starting quarterback Jordan Lynch is your true dual threat quarterback as he's thrown for 610 yards and five touchdowns while adding 304 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Just like last week, this will be a test of not only Kansas' improved defense but whether or not their offensive line will fare better than Iowa's did three weeks ago.
Kansas 41, Northern Illinois 38
Kansas State vs Oklahoma - 6:30 PM - FOX
The first Big XII feature game on the actual FOX network this one will try to be better than the 58-17 ass whooping that Oklahoma put on Kansas State last year. Both teams have made changes from last year but only one has shown that they have actually improved. Collin Klein has become a legitimate passing threat and has forced defenses to stop stacking the box and forcing Klein to beat them with his arm. Despite the slow start against North Texas last week the Wildcats finally pulled away as they always do behind solid, consistent play. If there was one concerning issue last week it should be the fact that Klein led all rushers with 85 yards on 11 carries.
On the flip side, Oklahoma may have very well regressed due to Ryan Broyles' graduation, injuries on the offensive line, and the distinct possibility that Landry Jones has hit his peak. UTEP exposed a lot of issues with Oklahoma's offensive line and they said they took the bye week to work on fundamentals but you have to wonder how their lack of experience (42 combined starts before the season) will affect their match up against an experienced Kansas State defense.
All that said, Bob Stoops has fielded worst teams at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and managed to only lose three home contests during his tenure. Until Texas Tech's upset in 2011, Stoops had a 39 game home winning streak. Somehow, someway the Sooners pull this one out.
Oklahoma 24, Kansas State 21