GAME OF THE WEEK | NO. 16 TCU AT NO. 6 OKLAHOMA STATE, 2:30 P.M. SATURDAY, ESPN
Turnovers usually influence outcomes and these two programs are among the best in the Big 12 converting returns into touchdowns. Since 2010, Oklahoma State ranks second nationally (behind Alabama) with 42 non-offensive touchdowns. TCU is tied with Kansas State for seventh with 35 over that stretch. The Cowboys’ defense has looked decent. TCU has some of its swagger back too on defense, a group that ranks first in the Big 12 and is orchestrated by head coach Gary Patterson. Containing the Pokes, however, is a tall task considering the experience of QB Mason Rudolph and his array of gifted receivers. TCU quarterback Kenny Hill will have difficulty keeping pace in a shootout.
BAYLOR AT NO. 3 OKLAHOMA, 5:30 P.M. SATURDAY, FS1
Resorting to an Oklahoma Drill during pregame warmups is easier on first-year Baylor coach Matt Rhule than actually preparing for the Sooners. The overhaul Rhule is attempting with the Bears is presumably more difficult than he expected. Oklahoma will offer little assistance with that rebuild after averaging 599 total yards behind improvisational QB Baker Mayfield.
WEST VIRGINIA AT KANSAS, 11 A.M., ESPNU
David Beaty spoke this week of “a great plan’’ he and his Kansas staff envision for the Jayhawks and how it projects a “bright’’ future for the program. Of course, what is he going to say? He has to maintain enthusiasm as much as anyone after disappointing defeats against MAC opponents. West Virginia could overlook KU, though QB Will Grier and RB Justin Crawford are skilled.
TEXAS TECH AT HOUSTON, 11 A.M., ABC/ESPN2
Kliff Kingsbury returns to Houston (2-0), the program that gave him his start in coaching. Five of the Red Raiders’ seven defeats last season were by two touchdowns or less. Many were attributable to a defense that ranked 122nd nationally. Improvement in that phase remains to be seen. Houston’s Kyle Allen, a transfer from Texas A&M, has completed 56 of 65 passes for 554 yards.
BIG 12 POWER RANKINGS | K-STATE DROPS BEHIND INEFFECTIVE OFFENSE
Bye comes next week for Boomer, but BU figures to offer little resistance.
2. OKLAHOMA STATE
QB Mason Rudolph is scorching hot, but TCU will present new wrinkles.
Mission to bounce back from 2016 disappointment gets stern test from OSU.
4. WEST VIRGINIA
Mountaineers have a diverse attack featuring Big 12’s leading rusher.
5. KANSAS STATE
Offensive execution must improve for Wildcats to be factor in Big 12 race.
OT squeaker at USC was inspirational, but ended in narrow defeat.
7. TEXAS TECH
Moment of proof comes at Houston after Tech’s shootout with Arizona State.
8. IOWA STATE
Cyclones went on road and capably crushed a MAC opponent.
Jayhawks went on road and tumbled to another MAC opponent heading into league opener.
Bears go winless in nonconference, a bad prelude to league opener.