Heading into Week 8, the conference schedule is in full swing as we start getting a better feel for what the championship race will look like in November.
Last week, we kicked off our Big 12's Ultimate Road Trip series. This week, we journey deeper into the 2014 schedule.
To those unfamiliar with this series, we both pick a game featuring a Big 12 team in every week of the season that we’d cover if the travel budget were unlimited and there were no editors telling us where to go.
We’ll be basing our choices on several factors, including the quality of the matchup and the stakes that could be involved. The only restriction is that each of us can pick only one game per week.
Let’s continue with Week 8.
Baylor at West Virginia
Kansas at Texas Tech
Iowa State at Texas
Kansas State at Oklahoma
Oklahoma State at TCU
The last time the Wildcats traveled to Norman, they dimmed Oklahoma’s Big 12 title hopes while lighting a blaze to their own.
Could this be a chance for K-State déjà vu?
Under coach Bill Snyder, the Wildcats have played Oklahoma tough in Norman, culminating with that 24-19 upset two years ago. This will also be the third in a three-game mini-gauntlet for the Sooners, who face Texas and a road trip to TCU in the two weeks before the Kansas State game. If it wins all three games, including this K-State matchup, Oklahoma might have a chance to all but clinch the Big 12 crown on Nov. 8 against Baylor.
But if the Wildcats emerge victorious in Norman for the second straight trip, it might be Kansas State -- not Oklahoma -- with a chance to vie for the conference crown when it travels to Waco, Texas, on Dec. 6.
The Cowboys' first Big 12 trip to Amon G. Carter Stadium should be interesting.
In their first two seasons in the Big 12, the Horned Frogs had back-to-back trips to Stillwater, Oklahoma, thanks to a quirk in the conference schedule. OSU has never played at TCU in a conference game.
One of the Big 12’s top offenses (OSU) against one of the Big 12’s top defenses (TCU) is a good reason for me to make a trip to Fort Worth, Texas.
The midway point of the season means we’ll know a lot more about OSU and how the rebuilding season for Mike Gundy’s squad has progressed. The Cowboys could be the surprise of the league, or they could be licking their wounds with an eye on playing the spoiler role during the home stretch of the season.
OSU won the last two meetings by a combined score of 60-24, helped by seven TCU turnovers, and the Cowboys averaged 5.8 yards per play against the Horned Frogs the past two seasons. That success, however, happened at Boone Pickens Stadium. Conference road games are a different test.
TCU will have faced Baylor and Oklahoma in its previous two outings, making this a game that could be critical for both teams' bowl hopes. With five games under its belt, the Horned Frogs’ new offense could be humming by this point in the season.
There are other several good games this week, but OSU-TCU could be the most competitive of the bunch.
Week 1: Trotter — SMU at Baylor; Chatmon — West Virginia vs. Alabama (in Atlanta)
Week 2: Trotter — Kansas State at Iowa State; Chatmon — Kansas State at Iowa State
Week 3: Trotter — Texas vs. UCLA (in Arlington); Chatmon — Tennessee at Oklahoma
Week 4: Trotter — Auburn at Kansas State; Chatmon — Auburn at Kansas State
Week 5: Trotter — Texas Tech at Oklahoma State; Chatmon — Baylor at Iowa State
Week 6: Trotter -- Baylor at Texas; Chatmon -- Baylor at Texas
Week 7: Trotter -- Texas vs. Oklahoma; Chatmon -- TCU at Baylor