This weekend has been a long time coming. Wall to wall football through Monday. If last night's Ole Miss vs Vanderbilt game was any indication we're going to be in for another great season in college football.
The Big XII has nine of their ten teams playing this weekend with only Kansas having a bye in the first week. Really Kansas? You can't even get a week 1 game scheduled? One less chance to lose I guess.
Texas Tech @ SMU - Friday 8/30, 7:00 PM CDT - ESPN
Line: Tech -4.5
Tech travels to the Metroplex to face in-state rival SMU in a Friday night game that will be the debut of new Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury and whatever quarterback isn't Michael Brewer. SMU has moved to the Big East this year but is still working with C-USA talent. Then again if the Big East replaces most of their members with C-USA teams does it matter?
Tommy Tuberville did a solid job recruiting speed and talent to Tech and a lot of it was on the defensive side of the ball. Even though Tech is on their fourth defensive system in as many years they should have enough talent to handle an SMU offense that still has Garrett Gilbert at the helm. Kingsbury and his quarterbacks will be working with proven talents Jace Amaro at tight end and Eric Ward at receiver. Things will be bumpy early, they always are with a new coach, but Tech pulls away in the 2nd half.
Texas Tech 38, SMU 27
North Dakota State @ Kansas State - Friday 8/30, 7:00 PM CDT - Fox Sports 1
Line: KSU -13.5
K-State is a two touchdown favorite against the two time defending I-AA champions and apparently Vegas knows more about this team then we do. Bill Snyder is notorious for vanilla play calling that resembles more of a high school offense in the first game. JUCO transfer Jake Waters was named the starter but expect him to be handing off to John Hubert and running behind an experienced offensive line all game. NDSU is a solid squad, and will be a test, but won't have the depth to make the upset.
Kansas State 27, NDSU 17
William & Mary @ West Virginia - Saturday 8/31, 11:00 AM CDT - Fox Sports 1
Line: WVU -33
Running back Charles Sims has transferred in from Houston and Dana Holgorsen is likely to focus on the run game while he breaks in Clint Trickett at quarterback.
West Virginia 48, William & Mary 10
Mississippi State @ Oklahoma State (Houston) - Saturday 8/31, 2:30 PM CDT - ABC
Line: OSU -13
The line on this one seems about right to me. Although Mike Gundy has yet to say who is starting between Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh it won't matter as both bring in significant experience from last season. Mississippi State has been solid and consistently improving under head coach Dan Mullen but their defense lost an edge after Manny Diaz came to Texas. ESS EEE SEE speed isn't as prevalent for Mississippi State as it is their other conference peers and Oklahoma State exploits it.
Expect a shootout here though because Oklahoma State's defense isn't going to bring much to the table either.
Oklahoma State 45, Mississippi State 30
UL-Monroe @ Oklahoma - Saturday 8/31, 6:00 PM CDT - FSN (PPV)
Line: OU -21
Even with the improved Big XII deals Oklahoma has chosen to again use a PPV option for their opening game of the season in lieu of a third tier network. Be happy that Jamie Pollard has given us the programming he has for Cyclones.TV.
Redshirt freshman Trevor Knight got the nod to start at quarterback over Blake Bell. It's surprising given how much we heard in the summer about how Bell was "more than a runner" but the coaches saw something in Knight that Bell obviously doesn't have. Knight is fairly mobile himself so it will be interesting to see what he does against a Sun Belt squad that will be clearly over matched.
Oklahoma 41, UL-Monroe 17
Wofford @ Baylor - Saturday 8/31, 6:30 PM CDT - FSN
Line: Baylor -30
You can't spell Wofford without "woof". Well, you can, but it's funnier this way. Bryce Petty makes his debut as starter and Lache Seastrunk starts his Heisman campaign. Pretty easy for both to look good in this one.
Baylor 56, Wofford 20
New Mexico State @ Texas - Saturday 8/31, 7:00 PM CDT - LHN
Line: Texas -43
Vegas loves David Ash and the Longhorn offense. I know New Mexico State is unbelievably bad but 43 points?! Ash is going to be handing off to Joe Bergeron, Johnathan Gray, and Malcolm Brown and despite the new up tempo scheme I have a hard time believing Texas blows this line out of the water.
Texas 42, New Mexico State 3
UNI @ Iowa State - Saturday, 8/31, 7:00 PM CDT - Cyclones.TV
Line: Iowa State -9.5
Click here for yesterday's preview.
LSU @ TCU (Dallas) - Saturday, 8/31, 8:00 PM CDT
Line: LSU -4.5
LSU has a lot more experience in these early season neutral site games than TCU after having played in two in the past three years. This marks Casey Pachall's return for TCU and the game will present contrasting styles on both offense and defense.
TCU will take their balanced spread attack against one of the best SEC defenses that excels in the trenches and has a long secondary. LSU will come in with their power attack on the ground against a TCU defense that gets by with a crafty 4-2-5 scheme and smaller, faster players that can still play physical.
Gary Patterson has been trolling Les Miles hard saying that he'll take the suspension off Devonte Fields if Miles allows running back Jeremy Hill to play. It's mainly posturing by Patterson and would fly in the face of everything he's done with his program, but it's a great way to call out the "win at all costs" attitude that permeates the SEC.
Football Study Hall had a tremendous breakdown of how TCU can win this game and I will leave you with that to peruse on a Friday. Suffice to say after TCU's wilting against Michigan State's physical rushing attack in last year's Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl I have a hard time believing they can keep LSU out of the end zone long enough to take control of the game.
LSU 21, TCU 16