Checking in at the first Big 12 game of 2011

WACO, Texas -- So what if football is about to debut and the national landscape might look markedly different a year from now?

The main conversation piece tonight?

The heat. It's 101 degrees here, and on the surface of Baylor's artificial turf, it's noticeably hotter.

As someone who lives in this state, trust me: It won't be cooling down much tonight, especially not by the 8 p.m. ET kickoff, when the sun will still be shining above Floyd Casey Stadium.

A few clouds dot the sky, but it's mostly clear, and it should be a gorgeous night for football, but make no mistake: Cramping is going to be a factor tonight.

Both Baylor and TCU are well inside their elements in the Texas heat, but that doesn't change the fact that conditioning is going to play a major part of tonight's game. I expect this to be close, and the team with the most gas in the tank by the fourth quarter is going to leave the field with a win.

This heat is going to make sure both teams' needle is teetering toward empty.

TCU's vaunted secondary, despite the loss of Thorpe Award Candidate Tejay Johnson, and its matchup with Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III is the main attraction in tonight's game, but after a lackluster set of games on Thursday night, we should have our first high-quality matchup of the college football season in just a few short hours.

I can't wait.