The opening week of the 2019 season could get ugly for Big 12 teams
In a season in which four of the conference's 10 teams have new head coaches, the Big 12 could see an atypical number of upsets in 2019. Teams such as Kansas, West Virginia and Kansas State need to be especially careful as their players learn new schemes and adapt to the ways their coaches prefer doing business.
Of course, fans of those programs may be a little more understanding than those of squads with established head coaches. An ill-timed upset for teams like Oklahoma and Texas could end dreams of making the College Football Playoff.
Here are a handful of potential upsets in the Big 12 that are worth keeping an eye on this fall.
Oregon State over Oklahoma State, Aug. 30
The Beavers haven't had many wins to celebrate in recent years: They've run up a 14-46 record in the last five seasons. No problem for the Cowboys, right? Maybe, but weird stuff has happened in Corvallis before. Oklahoma State will likely start redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders at quarterback, which raises the possibility of opening-night jitters.
Indiana State over Kansas, Aug. 31
The Les Miles era in Lawrence kicks off with what should be an easy win over an FCS opponent. For all his success in coaching, “easy” isn't something Miles typically does. The Sycamores won't strike fear in the hearts of many FBS teams, but the Jayhawks are working their way out of a bad place. ISU has a legitimate shot at kicking KU while the program is down.
James Madison over West Virginia, Aug. 31
The Mountaineers won't have much time to get up to speed in week one under new head coach Neal Brown. Unlike Indiana State, James Madison is actually an FCS powerhouse. The Dukes have the horses to put a scare into a number of FBS teams — especially one going through as much turnover as WVU.
UCLA over Oklahoma, Sept. 14
The Sooners blitzed UCLA in Norman last season, 49-21, so Lincoln Riley will need to fight the possibility of complacency among his players. Chip Kelly's team looked far better later in the year as his first campaign with the Bruins progressed. With 17 starters back from 2018, they will be itching for revenge against an OU team that is installing an entirely new defense.
Texas Tech over Iowa State, Oct. 19
The idea that the Red Raiders beating the Cyclones constitutes an upset would have seemed far-fetched not so long ago. Iowa State, however, has ascended to contender status in the Big 12. Meanwhile, Tech is starting fresh with new head coach Matt Wells.
ISU has to make two long road trips in consecutive weeks in October. The Clones are traveling to West Virginia for a game on Oct. 12. They get Tech a week later in Lubbock in a spot that sets up well for the Red Raiders to steal a win.
Baylor over Texas, Nov. 23
The Bears will have a chance to play spoiler in November when they host Oklahoma and Texas on back-to-back weekends. The Longhorns will travel to Waco for the penultimate week of the regular season on the back end of consecutive road trips after a date with a physical Iowa State team. That could put Baylor in position to knock off a road-weary squad late in the year — keep in mind the Bears' upset bid against UT in 2018 came down to the last play of the game.
— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.