It' time for round three.
Getting lost somewhere in the excitement for this week is the happiness felt by all that we won't have to watch any more FCS teams after today, at least for another year. James Madison, Sam Houston State, and Western Illinois all make their way into Big 12 stadiums this week, pocketing a fat paycheck while their players brace for a touchdown barrage they won't be able to stop. Fun times I tell you, especially for the fans that fork over money to watch it.
When Nebraska went to the Big Ten, they had to go on the road for their first game to play a highly ranked Wisconsin team followed by a home game with Ohio State. The SEC threw Georgia and Florida at Mizzou and Texas A&M for their first conference game.
The Big 12 on the other hand, rolled out the welcome mat for TCU, sent them a lovely fruit basket welcoming them to the conference with a note saying they would play Kansas in their conference opener who, by the way, has won exactly one conference game over the past two seasons. How nice of the Big 12. TCU may be wondering on Saturday night if they're still in the Mountain West.
Oklahoma State returns to Stillwater on Saturday hoping to get back in the win column against the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, or as most of the country knows them, Louisiana Lafayette. If the Cowboys can cut last week's penalties in half, they'll pick up over 80 yards before the game even starts. The Cowboys are 23.5 point favorites on Saturday.
James Madison will take on West Virginia at Fed Ex Field, home of the Washington Redskins. A crowd of around 40,000 is expected in the stadium which has a capacity of 79,000. The might not make for a great atmosphere, but West Virginia probably won't mind. It'll be another easy victory and they'll get paid even more than they take in for home game without all the headaches. Win-win.
Sam Houston State is the second ranked FCS team in the country leading some to believe Baylor could be in for dogfight on Saturday. I'm not sure about that, but hopefully Baylor isn't looking past the Bearkats to next Friday night's game against Louisiana Monroe who stunned Arkansas last week. I say that tongue-in-check, but there's no doubt ULM's win in Fayetteville got Art Briles' attention.
Dan McCarney returns to the land of the Big 12 on Saturday night when his North Texas team takes on Kansas State. It's hard to believe he's been gone from Iowa State for seven years now. The Mean Green played at LSU to open the season and hung in there better than some might have expected. I wouldn't say Kansas State is on upset alert, but North Texas could make it interesting for a while if they can figure out how to deal with Optimus Klein on Saturday night
New Mexico heads back to Texas for the second straight week after getting shutout by the Longhorns 45-0 last Saturday. This time they head to Lubbock where there will be a different opponent, but likely the same outcome.
Iowa State hosts Western Illinois who apparently didn't learn their lesson playing a Big 12 team last year. I mentioned this in my Big 12 previews, but the Leathernecks played at Missouri last season. They lost 69-0 and were out gained 744-44 and that's not a typo. I'm guessing the Iowa State reserves get plenty of playing time this week.
SEC vs. Big 12. The Champions Bowl. It's coming. For now we'll have to settle for Texas at Ole Miss which is a game that was ten years in the making. These two teams haven't played each other since the 1966 Bluebonnet Bowl (this post sponsored by the bring back the Bluebonnet Bowl Committee) and the people in Oxford are claiming it's the biggest conference game Ole Miss has hosted in a long, long time and are rather excited about it.
As for the game, Texas enters as a 10 point favorite against Ole Miss who has a new coach, a new offense, and a new quarterback. Bo Wallace was with Hugh Freeze at Arkansas State for a year (redshirted), went to junior college for a year where his East Mississippi team wont the NJCAA national championship, and now he's leading the man leading the Rebels. Ole Miss may not have won a game last year in the SEC, but that doesn't mean they won't give Texas all they can handle Saturday night.
So that's that. Enjoy the games today. Don't be afraid to load up early and often and help yourselves to seconds and thirds. Your day kicks off at 11 in Lawrence and will go deep into the night in Oxford. We'll be back here sometime in the wee hours to sort through the carnage of another day, and given today's matchups, there's likely to be plenty of it.. Thanks for taking a minute to stop by and we'll see you on the other side.