Conference play is beginning to pick up, meaning more fun and tougher decisions.
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 5.
Texas Tech at Oklahoma State
Baylor at Iowa State
UTEP at Kansas State
TCU at SMU
Texas at Kansas
One of the biggest games of the early Big 12 season includes another Thursday night clash.
Oklahoma State has dominated this series lately, winning the last five meetings against Texas Tech by an average margin of four touchdowns a game.
But the Red Raiders are riding a wave of momentum in Kliff Kingsbury’s second season after toppling Arizona State in their bowl game. Texas Tech will feature one of the best young quarterbacks in the country in sophomore Davis Webb, who will be looking for revenge after getting outgunned by Pokes QB Clint Chelf in Lubbock last year.
This will be a fork-road game for both programs. Oklahoma State is breaking in several new starters this season, but the talent is still there for the Cowboys to win at least eight or nine games. It’s difficult, meanwhile, to envision Texas Tech breaking out this year and becoming a dark-horse Big 12 title contender without pulling off this September win in Stillwater.
Oklahoma State-Texas Tech has featured some classic shootouts, particularly when they’ve played in Stillwater. I’ll be looking for more fireworks from “The Boone.”
Could this be another home upset of a ranked team by the Cyclones?
The unexpected can happen when highly regarded Big 12 squads venture into Jack Trice Stadium just ask the 2011 Oklahoma State Cowboys, who saw their BCS title hopes take a major hit after ISU’s upset win over Brandon Weeden and company.
Last year’s 71-7 Bears’ triumph makes many scoff at the thought of the Cyclones pulling off the upset. But Paul Rhoads crew could have some things on their side.
Baylor could be looking ahead with its first battle with Charlie Strong’s Texas squad the following Saturday and the Cyclones, having already faced Kansas State and Iowa, should be more battle tested than BU heading into the fourth game of the year for both squads.
If Baylor gets up early, things could get out of hand, which would be fine because any opportunity to watch the Big 12’s best quarterback-receiver duo, Bryce Petty and Antwan Goodley, in action is worth the trip. If not, don’t count the Cyclones out.
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