It’s game day for the Big 12 as two teams get their seasons underway with some Thursday night football action. Not only will we get two Big 12 contests tonight, but we’ll also get games on Friday as well. A solid three days of Big 12 action.
There aren’t many great games this week. Only two games feature Power Five matchups. West Virginia goes on the road to renew its Backyard Brawl rivalry with Pittsburgh, and TCU takes on Colorado in what could be a preview of a future conference matchup.
There’s a lot to watch for as several teams break in new coaches or quarterbacks, providing intrigue to the start of the 2022 season for the Big 12.
Each week, we’ll take a walk through the Big 12 schedule and predict each game.
Central Michigan at No. 11 Oklahoma State
Nov. 27, 2021; Stillwater; Oklahoma Sooners linebacker DaShaun White (23) tackles Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) as Oklahoma safety Delarrin Turner-Yell (32) closes in during the second quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium. Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
Central Michigan will be breaking in a new starter for the 2022 season, which will not bode well for the Chippewas on the road in Stillwater. They know how to score points, which will put some stress on an Oklahoma State defense replacing several starters from its 2021 squad.
Despite the losses, they’ve still got talent and an experienced quarterback, Spencer Sanders. The Cowboys come away with the win at home in Week 1.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 37, Central Michigan 21
The Backyard Brawl: West Virginia at No. 16 Pittsburgh
Nov. 25, 2011; Morgantown: West Virginia Mountaineers fans hold up a sign against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the third quarter at Milan Puskar Stadium. WVU won 21-20. Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE
What OU-Nebraska meant for those fan bases a year ago, that’s what the renewal of the “Backyard Brawl” means for West Virginia and Pittsburgh. Two schools separated by 76 miles in the foothills of the Appalachians will play for the first time since 2011. Their rivalry dates to 1895, but the two sides were separated when West Virginia left for the Big 12 and Pitt went to the ACC during the last round of realignment.
Pitt is coming off a fantastic season, but is replacing Kenny Pickett with Kedon Slovis. West Virginia is also starting a former USC transfer quarterback, J.T. Daniels.
The Panthers are further along in development, but West Virginia’s defense keeps this one close.
Prediction: Pitt 24, West Virginia 20
Tennessee Tech at Kansas
O.J. Burroughs #5 of the Kansas Jayhawks intercepts a pass intended for Xavier Worthy #8 of the Texas Longhorns in the end zone in the fourth quarter at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Nov. 13, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Tim Warner/Getty Images
Kansas carries over the momentum it finished the 2021 season with after a win against Texas and one-score losses to TCU and West Virginia. It opens the season with a win for the second season in a row. It’s a new day in Lawrence, and Lance Leipold has this program believing good things are on the way.
Prediction: Kansas 30, Tennessee Tech 13
TCU at Colorado
Nov. 6, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston (1) runs with the ball past Baylor Bears cornerback Kalon Barnes (12) during the second half at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
A game that’s never been played could one day be a conference matchup: TCU and Colorado. TCU still hasn’t sorted out its quarterback battle between Max Duggan and Chandler Morris, but it has one of the more unstoppable weapons in the country, Quentin Johnston. This one is a close game in the first half, but TCU pulls away in the second for the win in Sonny Dykes first game with the Horned Frogs.
Prediction: TCU 34, Colorado 17
Southeast Missouri State at Iowa State
Nov. 20, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell reacts during the second half against the Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Campbell will roll out a new starting quarterback for the first time since Oct. 16, 2018. That’s how long Brock Purdy was at the helm for the Iowa State Cyclones. Even with the losses of Purdy, Breece Hall, Charlie Kolar and Mike Rose, Southeast Missouri State is outmatched.
Prediction: Iowa State 45, Southeast Missouri State 6
UTEP at No. 9 Oklahoma
Sept. 1, 2012; Dallas, Texas; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Landry Jones (12) throws a pass in the first quarter against the UTEP Miners at Sun Bowl Stadium. Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
We’ll have our staff predictions coming Friday, but this one isn’t going to go well for the UTEP Miners in Brent Venables’ first game as head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners. Despite the Miners experience, the Sooners are the more talented team and playing in front of their home crowd.
Prediction: Oklahoma 56, UTEP 7
Albany at No. 10 Baylor
Nov. 27, 2021; Waco; Texas Tech Red Raiders offensive lineman Weston Wright (70) attempts to block Baylor Bears defensive tackle Siaki Ika (62) during the second half at McLane Stadium. Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Speaking of things that aren’t going to go well, good luck to the Albany offensive line in its attempts to block nose tackle Siaki Ika. Blake Shapen starts at quarterback and unveils a dynamic passing attack for the Bears.
Prediction: Baylor 48, Albany 3
South Dakota at Kansas State
Jan. 4, 2022; Houston, Texas; Kansas State Wildcats head coach Chris Klieman walks on the field before the 2022 Texas Bowl against the LSU Tigers at NRG Stadium. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas State’s settled nicely into the middle of the pack in the Big 12 under Chris Kliemna. The Wildcats go from one experienced QB, Skylar Thompson, to another, Adrian Martinez. Deuce Vaughn will lead the way, and Kansas State opens with a big win.
Prediction: Kansas State 38, South Dakota 10
Murray State at Texas Tech
Sept. 4, 2021; Houston; Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Tyler Shough (12) reacts after rushing for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Houston Cougars at NRG Stadium. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler Shough won a three-way quarterback battle, and the Red Raiders start the Joey McGuire era against Murray State. Look for Texas Tech to open the offense and put points on the board in their opener.
Prediction: Texas Tech 56, Murray State 13
UL Monroe at Texas
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
It may not be much of a test for the Texas Longhorns, but that’ll come in Week 2. The question is will they be able to focus on the task at hand knowing that the Crimson Tide are on the way.
With three freshmen starting along the offensive line and freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers taking his first snaps under center at the collegiate level, the Longhorns have some questions to answer. Look for Texas to lean on Bijan Robinson and the running game to take care of business against UL Monroe.
Prediction: Texas 38, UL Monroe 13