For completely different reasons, Oklahoma and Texas have dominated the headlines in the Big 12 since last Saturday. And going into Week 3, the Longhorns will have an opportunity to build off last week’s momentum and win over Rice with a tough matchup against California. The Golden Bears boast one of the nation’s top offenses and are off to a 2-0 start. Oklahoma’s win over Tennessee was a huge non-conference boost for the Sooners last Saturday. Bob Stoops’ team returns to Norman this week for a matchup against in-state foe Tulsa, and Oklahoma should move to 3-0 without much trouble. Elsewhere in the Big 12, Texas Tech-Arkansas, Kansas State-Louisiana Tech and Iowa State-Toledo are the three matchups to keep an eye on this weekend.
Big 12 Week 3 Game Power Rankings & Predictions
1. California at Texas
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FOX
Between parting ways with the AD and reshuffling the offensive responsibilities and personnel, Texas is starting to pull itself together. All that won’t help the Longhorns slow down Cal’s passing game.
This is a great battle between a great offensive coach and a great defensive coach. Jared Goff should be successful against a young secondary but Texas has some emotional momentum at home after firing their athletic director. This will go down to the final whistle.
Things are looking up for Texas. The offense showed some signs of life against Rice (7.3 ypp), and Steve Patterson was dismissed as the athletic director on Tuesday. Can the Longhorns continue that momentum on Saturday? Stopping California’s high-powered offense will be a challenge for coach Charlie Strong, especially with a young secondary and a pass rush that’s been relatively quiet (three sacks so far). The Golden Bears are vulnerable on defense, but I’ll take Jared Goff and his deep group of receivers to win in Austin.
College Football Podcast: Week 3 Preview with Dari Nowkhah
2. Texas Tech at Arkansas
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN2
Against Tech last year, Arkansas rushed for 438 yards and seven TDs while Brandon Allen attempted only 12 passes. For some reason, Arkansas has flipped the script and put more on Allen and the passing game in 2015. Will Bielema get back to basics against Texas Tech?
Tech is improved from last year but the defense still has major question marks. Arkansas is reeling after a bad home loss to Toledo but outgained the Rockets by almost 200 yards. Look for the physical play of the Hogs to prevail at home.
Arkansas’ ground attack pounded Texas Tech for 438 yards last season, but the Razorbacks have just 285 rushing yards through the first two games of 2015. And as if last week’s loss to Toledo wasn’t bad enough, top receiver Keon Hatcher is out indefinitely due to a foot injury. Arkansas needs to have a steady diet of Alex Collins on Saturday to keep Texas Tech’s high-powered attack on the sidelines. This one will be closer than it was last season.
3. Iowa State at Toledo
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPNEWS
Could Toledo pick up two Power 5 wins? Yes, the Rockets can.
Can Toledo move to 2-0 against Power 5 opponents this year? Iowa State is nothing special, but the Rockets need to get back up again to win.
Toledo scored a huge upset over Arkansas last week – and that was without star running back Kareem Hunt in the lineup. If the Rockets avoid a letdown, they will be 2-0 against Power 5 opponents this season.
4. Louisiana Tech at Kansas State
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FSN
Louisiana Tech is a good enough team to give Kansas State trouble, but the Wildcats will find a way, even with the backup QB.
Kansas State 27–13
The Bulldogs can play with Jeff Driskel and company on offense but Kansas State normally figures out a way to stop a quality offense at home. This could be close, but I'm taking the Cats.
Kansas State 30-20
New Kansas State quarterback Joe Hubener was solid in his first start, as the junior completed 12 of 23 passes for 243 yards and led the team with 58 rushing yards. Additionally, the Wildcats have allowed only three points in the first two games of 2015. The competition will get tougher this week, as Louisiana Tech is one of the top teams in Conference USA and feature Florida transfer quarterback Jeff Driskel at quarterback. And after allowing just 49 rushing yards per game through the first two weeks, the Wildcats face a tougher test in stopping Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon. The Bulldogs could make this interesting, but Kansas State finds a way to win.
Kansas State 31-20
5. SMU at TCU
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FSN
Injuries are taking hold on the TCU defense, SMU is nearly halfway to its touchdown total of 2014. This might not be an upset, but it will be closer than TCU would like.
The Battle for the Iron Skillet has seen and will see better days.
SMU has made significant strides under new coach Chad Morris, and quarterback Matt Davis could give TCU’s ailing defense a few headaches. However, the Horned Frogs simply have too much offense behind quarterback Trevone Boykin.
6. Tulsa at Oklahoma
Kickoff: Noon ET
TV Channel: Fox Sports 1
The average score in this game since 2001 is 48–10, and some of those were good Tulsa teams.
Get the ground game going should be the mantra of Oklahoma in this game. It struggled on the ground against Akron and Tennessee and needs to get Samaje Perine rolling before Big 12 play.
Tulsa is off to a good start (2-0) under new coach Philip Montgomery. However, the Golden Hurricane will need a perfect game to knock off the Sooners. Oklahoma may start slow after last week’s overtime win over Tennessee, but it’s asking a lot for Tulsa’s defense (5.8 ypp and 32.5 ppg) to limit the Sooners’ offense. Oklahoma’s rushing attack is only averaging 3.2 yards per carry, but the offense will have an opportunity to open up holes on the ground against a Tulsa defense giving up over 260 rushing yards per game.
7. UTSA at Oklahoma State
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: Fox Sports 1
Oklahoma State’s 2–0 start could best be described as “workmanlike.” Here’s another probable win of which you won’t take particular note.
Oklahoma State 35–7
Mason Rudolph got on track last weekend and the offense should roll once again.
Oklahoma State 45-17
UTSA gave Arizona all it could handle in Week 1 but was dominated at home in a 30-3 loss to Kansas State. What should we expect from the Roadrunners in Week 3? Probably an outcome similar to the one in Week 2. Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph threw for 400 yards last Saturday, but the Cowboys might use this game as an opportunity to work on their ground attack (4.5 ypc).
Oklahoma State 41-10