The Big 12 as a whole had a solid start to the 2021 college football season, with only one team losing in Week 1.
Believe it or not, Kansas was not the culprit responsible for the conference’s lone loss as they not only picked up their first win in two years, but they stormed the field in exciting fashion.
The lone loss was to an unranked Maryland team, and no it was not Texas. West Virginia, otherwise known as the “Certified Loser Boys” according to Maryland’s Twitter, lost by just six points in a very back and forth game that saw the Mountaineers leading at halftime.
Only four schools in the Big 12 did not have games decided by single digits. Texas blew out No. 23 Louisiana by 20 points, Kansas State chopped down the tree against Stanford beating them by 17, Texas Tech defeated Houston by 17 points, and TCU throttled a school that majority of America does not know how to pronounce anyway, when they beat Duquesne by 42.
The rest of the conference were in some nail-biters, but we will just have to give them the benefit of the doubt and say it was first game jitters, not the fact their Heisman candidates underperformed horrendously.
A few teams are hoping to redeem themselves and have a much better showing in Week 2. I’ll do my best to predict how each Big 12 matchup could end this week.
West Virginia (0-1) vs. Long Island University (0-1)
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
This will be a huge bounce back win for West Virginia, as although it means absolutely nothing to beat a school that was Division II in 2018, getting in the win column and doing so in a blowout is always a good boost of self-esteem. LIU was blown out by FIU by 38 points in Week 1, and I expect the Mountaineers will likely have a similar victory. This can be a confidence booster for Jarret Doege who threw two interceptions in the Maryland loss, and for Leddie Brown who was held to 69 yards rushing. A boost of swagger and experience of success is something that is badly needed before taking on a ranked Virginia Tech squad in Week 3.
Prediction: West Virginia 45, LIU 3
Baylor (1-0) vs. Texas Southern (0-1)
Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Baylor had a very unimpressive win over Texas State 29-20 in Week 1. The Bears will likely finish the season towards the bottom of the Big 12 again after the season is said and done, but for now, I think they beat Texas Southern. They had two running backs rush for over 115 yards in their first game, so they can just feed their running backs all game and help ease Gerry Bohanon into his new role. The Junior quarterback was stuck behind the Charlie Brewer experience his whole career at Baylor, and now has his time to shine. Not sure how long the job will be his, but as long as the teams winning he should be fine. Texas Southern was absolutely torched by Prairie View A&M in Week 1, and should not be able to hang with Baylor at all.
Prediction: Baylor 34, Texas Southern 0
Oklahoma State (1-0) vs. Tulsa (0-1)
Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
The Cowboys were able to escape Missouri State by a score of 23-16, but it was not at all convincing. The Bears had multiple chances in the fourth quarter to win the game, but were unable to capitalize. Oklahoma State is hosting in-state Tulsa in Week 2, who happened to lose to UC-Davis last week. The Golden Hurricanes are without their two leaders in quarterback Zach Smith and linebacker Zaven Collins who departed for the NFL after last season, but they are returning several other key contributors ready for the opportunity. Quarterback Davis Brin, who had a miraculous come from behind win against Tulane last season as the third stringer, seemingly struggled in Week 1 as he threw two interceptions and had a QBR of 10.4. The Cowboys were without starting quarterback Spencer Sanders in Week 1, but he is expected to be back for this matchup. This still seems like it has the potential for a really good game if Tulsa can use their experienced players and rebound from a shaky season opener.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 35, Tulsa 28
Texas Tech (1-0) vs. Stephen F. Austin (1-0)
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
After trailing 21-7 at halftime, the Red Raiders led by shiny Oregon transfer Tyler Shough were able to comeback and score 31 unanswered points against Houston. Dana Holgerson not being able to lead a team to a victory against a Big 12 team is a tale all too familiar, and it happened again. Texas Tech should have no issues against SF Austin, and I expect Tyler Shough along with his favorite target Erik Ezukanma to bust open the Lumberjacks defense. The defense for Texas Tech was huge against Houston as they had four interceptions and four sacks, while allowing zero points in the second half. The Red Raiders should be too much to handle for SF Austin.
Prediction: Texas Tech 38, Stephen F. Austin 10
Kansas State (1-0) vs. Southern Illinois (1-0)
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas State started the season with a very convincing win over Stanford, and I expect them to keep that success rolling against Southern Illinois. Kansas State's second coming of Darren Sproles, otherwise known as Deuce Vaughn, was a menace to the Cardinal defense as he rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown. This seems like a Kansas State team who can make some noise in the Big 12 if everyone stays healthy. This game should not give Kansas State any trouble as long as their defensive backs can keep the receivers in check, and they need the defensive line to generate pressure on Nic Baker who threw for 460 yards and four touchdowns in Week 1. The Wildcats should be able to over match Southern Illinois in a hurry, and we should be watching Skylar Thompson and Deuce Vaughn highlights exposing the defense after the game.
Prediction: Kansas State 45 Southern Illinois 21
No. 17 Coastal Carolina (1-0) vs. Kansas (1-0)
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Well...a one game win streak is something to proud of. For some Jayhawks on the roster, that was their first collegiate win over South Dakota in Week 1. They will bounce back to familiarity this week, because Coastal Carolina will likely light up Kansas. Coastal had a great season opener against The Citadel, and are looking for their second win against Kansas after beating them last year. I have to admit that new quarterback Jason Bean looked solid in Kansas' season opener against South Dakota, but he will need to have a career game to win this one.
Prediction: Costal Carolina 42, Kansas 21
TCU (1-0) vs. California (0-1)
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
This game will be very interesting, as playing a solid Pac-12 team could be some good competition for TCU to see where they are against bigger schools. If quarterback Max Duggan can have a solid showing against Cal, it can very well boost his confidence for the rest of the season. Another thing to look out for is whether or not running back Zach Evans gets the start for TCU, after not starting Week 1 for violation of team rules. Evans only received five carries in the throttling of Duquesne last week. It is hard to tell how close this game will be considering Cal looked solid against Nevada in the first quarter, where their offense scored 14 points on the first two drives, and their defense silenced future NFL quarterback Carson Strong. However, the Bears would go three and out for the next four drives and give up 22 unanswered points in the second and third quarter. They were unable to score until the fourth quarter when they kicked a field goal. TCU should get the win if they can get the offense going early.
Prediction: TCU 31, California 18
#9 Iowa State (1-0) vs. #10 Iowa (1-0)
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
This game likely has potential playoff implications, and is why ESPN's College Gameday will be in attendance. It was a tale of two very different games to open the season, as Iowa blew out a ranked Indiana squad, while Iowa State barley escaped Northern Iowa winning by just six points. A lot is on the line for the Cyclones, as losing this game would really damage their playoff hopes and give them little to no room for error the rest of the season. History is not on their side as they have not beat Iowa since 2014, and they have not started a season 2-0 since 2012. Matt Campbell and the Cyclones have yet to prove they are capable of avoiding getting off to bad starts, and this looks like a very tough situation for them. Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy was pretty much a non-factor as he did not account for any touchdowns against Northern Iowa, and running back Breece Hall was held to 69 yards on 23 carries. This Iowa defense held all of Indiana to 77 yards, and also grabbed two interceptions returned for a touchdown in the process. This may be bold, but I foresee Iowa State starting the season 1-1.
Prediction: Iowa 23, Iowa State 17
#4 Oklahoma (1-0) vs. West Carolina (0-1)
Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Continuing on the subject of uninspiring Week 1 performances, the Sooners barley escaped what turned out to be a very good Tulane team. However, Oklahoma is viewed as a title contender, and there is no circumstance where that performance was acceptable. While some Sooners fans are calling for Caleb Williams already, everyone needs to relax. Spencer Rattler will bounce back, and the Sooners will likely obliterate West Carolina. This will also be a good for game for the Sooners' defense to tune up the mishaps that we saw in the Week 1 win.
Prediction: Oklahoma 55, West Carolina 10
Arkansas (1-0) vs. #15 Texas (1-0)
Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
The Steve Sarkisian era got off to a great start beating No. 23 Louisiana by 20 points in Week 1. This week they'll have to travel Fayetteville, Arkansas for the first time in 17 years to rekindle a storied rivalry. Texas' offense was led by redshirt freshman quarterback Hudson Card, who threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns. It also helps to have superstar running back in Bijan Robinson. It will be hard to game plan for Robinson as both a runner and receiver, as the Razorbacks seem to be game planning for D'Shawn Jamison rather than Robinson. Sarkisian's offense will be tested again this week against a solid defense that forced three interceptions last week. Arkansas is coming off a Week 1 win over Rice that saw K.J. Jefferson using his legs and his arm to help the Razorbacks. If the Texas defense can contain Jefferson, there is a slim chance that Arkansas can win the game, as he relies heavily on running and is not a polished passer. I think the Longhorns continue their hot start and follow up a 20 point win in week one with another one this week.
Prediction Texas 35, Arkansas 15