Where would you go if you could spend your Saturdays watching Big 12 football in any venue you choose this fall? Would you follow your favorite players or team, go to the best tailgate/environment, or simply the best matchup?
That’s the premise of the 2015 Big 12 Ultimate Road Trip.
For the next few weeks, Jake Trotter, Max Olson and myself will be picking the matchup we’d like to see most each week as we take a closer look at some of the best games on the Big 12 schedule in 2015.
Today, we continue the series with Week 3:
Max Olson’s pick: Texas Tech at Arkansas
I’ve heard Fayetteville is a fine place to watch football. Bret Bielema is convinced Arkansas is on the verge of big things after how it closed out 2014, and the running back duo of Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins is back to cause more nightmares for Texas Tech’s defense. You know Tech DC David Gibbs and his defensive staff are going to take this game very personally and have probably been talking about ways to stop the Razorbacks all summer long. I have a sneaking suspicion the Red Raiders are going to make this one a nail-biter, and I want to be there.
Jake Trotter’s pick: Texas Tech at Arkansas
It wasn’t that long ago that Tech was 7-0 and ranked in the top 10 of the polls. But since that start to the 2013 season, the Red Raiders have won just twice in the Big 12, against Kansas and Iowa State.
In light of that, coach Kliff Kingsbury desperately needs a signature win to signal his program is back on track. A trip to Fayetteville in Week 3 offers the Red Raiders just that.
Arkansas completely obliterated Tech’s frontlines last season, sending the Red Raiders defense into a spiral that would last the entire season. Kingsbury is banking that new coordinator David Gibbs can bring stability and identity to the defense. That will be put to the test against Arkansas’ powerful rushing attack in a game that could help define Kingsbury’s third season in Lubbock.
Brandon Chatmon’s pick: Texas Tech at Arkansas
Redemption for the Red Raiders, or another disappointment for Kliff Kingsbury and the Big 12 as a whole?
On the heels of Oklahoma’s trip to Tennessee, this game provides Red Raiders a chance to boost the entire conference by increasing its national reputation, which needs increasing after how 2014 ended. Any win over a Power 5 opponent is a good win for the Big 12, which is the driving force behind my interest in heading to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for this September matchup.
Another reason to go is to watch Tech’s underappreciated offensive skill talent, including running back DeAndre Washington and receiver Jakeem Grant. If Tech has any hope of being the Big 12’s surprise team, that duo needs to make a statement early. This game is the perfect opportunity to show that last season's version of the Red Raiders is nothing like the 2015 version.
Other games in Week 3, Sept. 19:
Iowa State at Toledo
Tulsa at Oklahoma
Texas-San Antonio at Oklahoma State
Louisiana Tech at Kansas State
California at Texas
SMU at TCU