In this week's Big 12 roundtable, we look back at Week 1, examine the key for Oklahoma at Tennessee and predict who might be on upset alert Saturday:
What impressed you the most during the opening weekend?
Brandon Chatmon: West Virginia obviously tops the list but I've been raving about Dana Holgorsen's program all week so I'll look elsewhere. Nobody is talking about it but TCU's win being impressive but it was a solid debut for one of the College Football Playoff favorites. Gary Patterson's squad was on the road, without a pair of defensive starters and a linebacker group full of inexperience, yet controlled the game throughout on its way to a win over a Power 5 team in Minnesota. As importantly, Trevone Boykin looks like he has an improved understanding of the offense in Year 2 and is ready to make a real run at a Heisman bid.
Olson: You mean besides Malik Zaire? How about Karl Joseph lapping the field for the Thorpe Award after just one game? Or, more specifically, one quarter in which he grabbed three interceptions. We tried to warn you all that West Virginia's D would be legit, especially in the secondary. With the offense and its speedy new receivers rolling, I'm wondering if WVU is already one of the four best teams in the Big 12.
Jake Trotter: I'm going with the West Virginia defense. I know Georgia Southern isn't a big name, but the Eagles led the nation in rushing last year. Against West Virginia, they crossed midfield twice. With that defense, watch out for the Mountaineers.
What is the biggest key for Oklahoma is winning in Knoxville?
Chatmon: The Sooners will need Baker Mayfield and the offense to play well but I'm going to go with Oklahoma's defense as the key. More specifically, its defense forcing turnovers. Bob Stoops team is 11-4 in road games against Power 5 teams when its forced at least two turnovers since 2010. In the Sooners last big nonconference game at Notre Dame, a pair of early Notre Dame turnovers sparked OU's 35-21 win in 2013. A strong offensive showing is key but an aggressive defense forcing turnovers could be the difference.
Olson: I'm excited to watch the matchup of running backs: Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon vs. Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara. All four are young guys with freaky talent. I'm not saying the backs will decide the game, but I think these four can dictate who takes control. Perine must be hungry after getting just 11 carries for 33 yards against Akron. Can Lincoln Riley get Perine going downhill and can the Vols stop him once he gets started?
Trotter: The offensive line has to hold its own, and pave some holes for Perine and Mixon. Despite the overall dominating performance against Akron, the running game struggles were a red flag. The Sooners can beat the likes of Akron without running the ball effectively. I'm not sure they can do it against Tennessee on the road. Mayfield's performance was encouraging and the passing game looks much improved. But OU's bread will still be buttered with Perine and the ground game.
Who are you putting on upset alert this weekend?
Chatmon: Upset alert is too strong so I'm going to issue an upset advisory to Kansas State instead. Texas-San Antonio almost upset Arizona, on the road, in Week 1, making the Roadrunners a legit threat to a K-State squad that will be starting a quarterback (Joe Hubener) who has never started a game before. The Wildcats should survive but don't be shocked if Bill Snyder's team struggles or even falters against UTSA.
Olson: Iowa is only a 3 1/2 or 4 point favorite this week, so I guess Iowa State pulling off another rivalry win wouldn't be a huge shock. I guess I'll go with Brandon's pick of Kansas State. The Wildcats are a work in progress and UTSA is a solid team that really made Arizona sweat once again this year. I bet this game ends up being close.
Trotter: I agree that K-State faces a tricky test at UTSA, especially with a new QB and the defensive injuries. But since Max and Brandon both chose the Wildcats, I'll put the Longhorns on upset alert. Texas is in turmoil following the 38-3 loss at Notre Dame and quick hook at offensive coordinator from Shawn Watson to Jay Norvell. Rice went 8-5 last year and won a bowl game. If Texas doesn't show any improvement offensively, Rice is more than capable of hanging around.