This week the BearsIllustrated.com staff takes its aim at the Big 12 slate of games, including the…
Friday August 30th
Texas Tech @ Southern Methodist
ESPN – 7pm CST
Two former Southwest Conference rivals will kick off the 2013 season for the Big 12, as SMU travel west to Lubbock, TX to face the Texas Tech Red Raiders in their first game under new coach, and old quarterback, Kliff Kingsbury. With the Tommy Tuberville era at an end, the Red Raiders brought back a former love in Kingsbury who was coordinating the offense of former rival Texas A & M.
The Red Raiders are rebuilding a bit on offense, and might have to start a true freshman under center as presumed starter Michael Brewer is recovering from an injury. Davis Webb is thought to be the favorite if Brewer can't go. The Friday season opening game on ESPN has turned out some dandies in the past years, so this could be a really entertaining game.
North Dakota State @ Kansas State
FS1 – 7:30pm CST
In a game that could be better than your average BCS school taking on a FCS program, the defending Big 12 champion Kansas State Wildcats host North Dakota State Bison who happen to be the two-time defending National Champions at the FCS level. The Bison have the ability to defeat a BCS program on the road, having beaten Minnesota last year. Kansas State is rebuilding their defense and trying to replace one of their best players in school history in quarterback Collin Klein, so they might not be up to full speed quite yet.
Saturday August 31st
William & Mary @ West Virginia
FS1 – 11am CST
Another FCS program will be visiting a Big 12 school when William & Mary takes on West Virginia. Last year, the Tribe went just 2-9 and struggled down the stretch losing their last 5 games in conference play. The Mountaineers are another that is replacing quite a bit of talent on offense, with the loss of quarterback Geno Smith and do everything receiver/running back Tavon Austin to the NFL.
ABC – 2:30pm CST
The first of just two games to see a Big 12 team take on another BCS program in week 1, Big 12 favorite Oklahoma State plays Mississippi State in Houston on a neutral field.
Louisiana-Monroe @ #16 Oklahoma
FSN (PPV) – 6pm CST
The Warhawks travel to Norman, OK looking to pull off their second consecutive upset to open a season against a BCS conference team. Last year it was Arkansas. The Sooners though come in looking to rebound off of a disappointing 2012 behind newly minted starter quarterback, redshirt freshman Trevor Knight. He will be facing off against a senior in Kolton Browning who could be one of the more explosive players in the country.
Wofford @ Baylor
FSN – 6:30pm CST
The Baylor Bears open up their final season at Floyd Casey Stadium taking on the Wofford Terriers, an FSC school from Spartanburg, SC. The Terriers were a late addition to the Baylor schedule as SMU cancelled on them, giving the Bears short notice on a replacement. The Bears are another Big 12 program debuting a new man under center, with Bryce Petty getting his first career start for the Bears.
Cyclones.TV – 7pm CST
The Cyclones of Iowa State stay home to take on their in-state neighbors, Northern Iowa. The Huskies are the fourth and final FCS team on the schedule for the Big 12 in week 1. Last year, they were 5-6 and failed to make the FCS playoffs. These two teams played in 2011, with the Cyclones escaping with a 20-19 win at home.
New Mexico State @ #15 Texas
LHN – 7pm CST
You can't say the Longhorns don't play the Aggies this year, as they welcome the New Mexico State Aggies to Austin, TX in a game that will be broadcast on the Longhorn Network. Last year, the Aggies finished a paltry 1-11 with their lone win over Sacramento State in the season opener. They had 7 wins combined from the previous three years. With the struggles, the Aggies went out and hired a new coach, welcoming Doug Martin as the 34th Head Coach in school history.
ESPN – 8pm CST
Saving by far the best for last, TCU and LSU meet up at Cowboy Stadium to kick off the 2013 season in grand style. This will be one of the best games of week 1, if not the best. LSU is coming off another 10 win season, though probably a disappointing one of the Tiger faithful. They had losses to Florida, eventual champion Alabama at home and Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The Tigers are picked to finish third place behind Alabama and Texas A&M in the Western division of the SEC. They come to Texas to play just a city over from the Horned Frogs of TCU, who were picked to finish third in the Big 12 this year behind Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. This should be the best game in the Big 12 in Week one from a national perspective.
-Not a single Big 12 team is playing a pure road game. Two are playing on a neutral field, and the other 7 are playing at home.
-The Big 12 is playing more games against FCS schools than BCS power conference schools in week 1. They have 4 games against FCS program and just two against BCS power conference members.
-Last year, the Big 12 opened the year 9-0 in Week 1 of the schedule. In total, they were 26-3 in non-conference play.
-There is only one game where both teams are ranked during week 1, while 5 games have no teams ranked.
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