Peeking ahead to Week 4 in the Big 12

The Big 12 schedule has a few more teams on byes this week and just five games on the league schedule. Here's what you can expect:

  • TCU and Kansas played the first Big 12 game of the season last week, but excuse me if I think Big 12 play really begins this week. Kansas State travels to Oklahoma for a showdown of top-15 teams and the best game involving a Big 12 team yet.

  • Danger, Bears, danger! Louisiana-Monroe has played the part of SEC West wrecking ball the past two weeks, starting Arkansas' spiral into oblivion and nearly doing the same for the Gene Chizik Era at Auburn on Saturday. Those were both on the road. Now, Art Briles takes his Bears into the WarHawks' nest with his team knocking on the door of a top-25 ranking. This should be another fun Friday nighter. In the process, can Baylor earn a little Big 12 respect? You'd have to think so if the Bears land a blowout.

  • More West Virginia offense? Probably. Maryland won't be able to slow the Mountaineers much, but Geno Smith is in the driver's seat for the Heisman race and Stedman Bailey's in position for the Biletnikoff. Can the Mountaineers' offensive exhibition tour keep rolling before conference play begins in two weeks?

  • TCU can't keep tallying its "total wins over BCS opponents," but get another shot at one this week in Virginia. The Hoos aren't playing very well right now, but TCU has to fix the red-zone mistakes that could have cost them a number of other Big 12 games.

  • Can Kansas grab its first win of the season over an FBS opponent? Rice and TCU sent the Jayhawks to 1-2, but Northern Illinois played victim to the second-best win of the Turner Gill Era last season. Kansas won in the final minutes, and NIU went on to win the MAC and 10 games. Can an improved KU squad go on the road and grab a win? If not, it may be a long time before we see KU win again.

Here's what the full Big 12 schedule looks like this week (all times ET):


  • Baylor at Louisiana-Monroe, 8 p.m., ESPN


  • West Virginia vs. Maryland, noon, FX

  • TCU vs. Virginia, noon, ESPN

  • Kansas at Northern Illinois, 3:30 p.m., ESPN3

  • Kansas State at Oklahoma, 7:50 p.m., FOX