Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here’s a look at Big 12 games this week gauged in terms of spectator appeal.
A ranking of four stars indicate must-see football. Three-star games are definitely worth the investment in time. Two-star games bear a quick glimpse or two for occasional score updates, but little more. And one-star games mean you might be better off taking care of your plumbing or visiting your in-laws.
Check out this list and plan your Saturday schedules accordingly.
Nebraska at Virginia Tech, ABC-TV, 3:30 p.m. ET: The Cornhuskers are looking for their first big statement road victory under Bo Pelini in a tough visit to the Hokies, who have lost at home only 15 times in the last 16 seasons. The Cornhuskers played them tight last season in Lincoln and are improved. We’ll see how much in this game.
Texas Tech at Texas, ABC-TV, 8 p.m.: Mike Leach has lost all four times his teams have played in Austin, allowing 59, 52, 43 and 42 points. Taylor Potts came within one touchdown pass of tying the school record last week, but will be challenged by a stout Longhorn secondary still smarting about squandering the game in Lubbock last season. Look for a shootout with the first team that reaches 40 likely to win.
Tulsa at Oklahoma, 3:30 p.m.: Landry Jones will get his first real test against the Hurricanes, who have won 38 games in the last four seasons including their last two bowl games. The Sooners will be challenged, but the key will be to run the ball and allow the defense to tee off on Tulsa’s passing offense.
Connecticut at Baylor, 5 p.m.: The Bears will gun for two-straight victories to start the season after taking last week off. They are intent on revenge after last season’s loss to Connecticut, which comes into the game with uncertainty at quarterback following their loss to North Carolina last week and the injury to starting quarterback Zach Frazer.
Kansas State at UCLA, 10:15 p.m.: This one might get ugly, considering UCLA is down a quarterback with Kevin Prince’s injury and already ranks 103rd in total offense. Kansas State might have a chance if they can keep up their strong recent defensive work and continue getting a big effort out of Big 12 rushing leader Daniel Thomas.
Duke at Kansas, noon: Too bad this isn’t a basketball game. Instead look for the potent one-two rushing game of Jake Sharp and Toben Opurum to dominate in the trenches against a Duke defense that isn’t nearly as feisty as the one that Coach K’s team plays.
Rice at Oklahoma State, 7 p.m.: Zac Robinson’s recent offensive struggles magically will be fixed after playing a Rice defense that ranks last nationally in scoring defense and pass defense and is among the bottom five in total defense and pass efficiency defense.
Iowa State at Kent State, ESPN360, 7 p.m.: This will be Paul Rhoads’ best hope to get a road victory and snap the Cyclones’ nation-worst 17-game road losing streak. This should be an ugly game as two teams ranked 94th or worst in turnover margin will compete to see who can protect the ball the best.
Furman at Missouri, 2 p.m.: This looks like a chance for Blaine Gabbert to be able to rebuild his confidence against the outmatched Furman secondary. I’m just glad I’m not covering this game on deadline where I’d have to worry about typing Furman tailback Tersoo Uhaa's name too many times.
Wyoming at Colorado, 3:30 p.m.: I would expect to be able to find several Colorado fans wearing paper bags over their heads at this game. As it is, new Wyoming coach Dave Christensen will be challenged to claim his team’s first victory at Folsom Field since 1982. But if anybody should know, it might be Christensen. The Missouri teams on which he served as offensive coordinator humbled the Buffaloes in the last two seasons by a combined score of 113-10.
Utah State at Texas A&M, 7 p.m.: The Texas Aggies will probably score a boatload of points in this and we won’t know anymore about them after meeting the Utah version of the Aggies. Utah State hasn’t beaten a school from a conference with an automatic berth in the BCS since upsetting Kansas State in 1992. Bet it won’t happen Saturday night, either.