Every Friday starting today, I will take you on a quick journey through the Big 12 to help you get ready for game day.
Here’s what you need to know before tomorrow about each team as the Big 12 kicks off 2014 with a far from difficult out-of-conference slate.
– TCU head coach Gary Patterson announced during the week the Horned Frogs will take on Samford with two quarterbacks Saturday night. Apparently neither Trevone Boykin nor Texas A&M transfer Matt Joeckel has been able to separate themselves enough to earn the starting spot outright. Am I reading too much into this, or could this be a problem looming over the 2014 season? With Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie implementing their version of the up-tempo air-raid, is it a problem this season is starting out much like 2013? Without a consistent man behind center, how can the Frogs’ offensive unit find chemistry? Maybe coach Patterson is just using Samford as the final test for Boykin and Joeckel, but I suppose we’ll know more after the game.
– The Charlie Strong era officially begins Saturday night in Austin, as the Texas Longhorns take on North Texas. The running game looks to be one of the top attacks in the conference, but what about the air game? David Ash has progressed a lot since his freshman season, but hasn’t been able to stay healthy long enough to show his impact consistently in the Horns’ offense. Will Texas be a run heavy team, or somewhere closer to 50/50? The receiving corps is unproven outside of Jaxon Shipley. There’s plenty of potential with Jacorey Warrick, Lorenzo Joe and Ty Templin, but will any of them step up and take some pressure off of Ash and Shipley?
– Mark Mangino will kick off his career as a Cyclone on Saturday against the North Dakota State Bison in Ames, Iowa. Mangino certainly has a monumental task revamping an offense that ranked among Big 12 teams as eighth in total offense, seventh in passing, eighth in rushing and ninth in scoring last season. Quick passes spread out among a few different receivers will be QB Sam Richardson’s priority. Don’t be surprised if the Bison spoil the Cyclones’ home opener.
– OK, Baylor. Let’s keep this brief. You can’t lose. SMU quarterback Neal Burcham will attempt to decimate your secondary, but you have better athletes in your defensive backfield than their receivers. DON’T LOSE!
– Oklahoma State sure knows how to kick off a season. The national spotlight will be on the defending national champion Florida State Seminoles, so maybe the Cowboys can use the stage to rise above the moment, but I doubt it. OSU is in a bit of a transition period, close to the bottom of the nation in the amount of returning starters on the team. It’s hard to even guess how the Cowboys will look on Saturday night. We know J.W. Walsh is the starter, although quite honestly, we don’t know what to expect from him either.
– I already affirmed the popular prediction West Virginia wouldn’t beat Alabama, but we will have some very interesting conversations next week if the Mountaineers somehow come out victorious.
– I strongly doubt Texas Tech’s offense will be slowed down against Central Arkansas. No further questions please.
– Hey, this should be interesting; Oklahoma will need to play smart football against Louisiana Tech. Don’t commit silly penalties, and this game should be easily within their control. Don’t overlook the ability of Bulldog running back Kenneth Dixon, and they’ll start the season off with a win.
– After last season’s opening loss to North Dakota State, I don’t expect K-State to take Stephen F. Austin lightly. The Lumberjacks could put up points in 2013, but also couldn’t stop any opposing offense. Calling Jake Waters……
*Section Photo credit to Mark Zerof, US Presswire; Featured Photo (above) credit to Waco Tribune