September 24, 2020CFB Insider
Let Conference Play BEGIN!
The Big 12 and SEC Kickoff Conference Play this Saturday
It’s the weekend everyone has been waiting for—the beginning of Big 12 and SEC conference play! It finally feels like college football is starting in earnest. After a choppy start with a few non-conference games, we’re expecting big things from college football this weekend.
Read on for this week’s key match-ups and predictions and make sure to tell us your picks by replying to our post @TexasBowl on Twitter.
Kansas at Baylor | 8:30 p.m. | ESPNU
Iowa State at TCU | 1:30 p.m. | FS1
Kansas State at No. 3 Oklahoma | 12 p.m. | FOX
West Virginia at No. 15 Oklahoma State | 3:30 p.m. | ABC/ESPN
No. 8 Texas at Texas Tech | 3:30 p.m. | FOX
Iowa State at TCU
Ok so they’re calling it Week 3 but let’s be real, it’s not Week 3. Especially for TCU whose opening game against SMU on September 11 was postponed indefinitely due to positive COVID testing. We have high hopes for the returning sophomore quarterback Max Duggan in this first match-up against Iowa State. The young QB is undoubtedly talented but while he completed 181 of his 339 attempts with 2,077 total passing yards in his freshman debut, we will just have to see if this tumultuous off season has helped him--and the rest of his young offense--mature past the 10 interceptions he also threw in 2019.
Iowa State is once again, considered one of the more underrated teams in the Big 12. We will have to see if they can finally reach their underdog potential behind head coach Matt Campbell. If we only looked at their preconference game against the Ragin’ Cajuns, the answer would be no—they aren’t reaching any type of potential this year. However, we might be able to chalk their 31-14 loss to a just opening weekend jitters. Quarterback Brock Purdy, who set 18 school records last season including for total passing yards (3982 yards), only threw for 145 yards in the contest. Fluke or new norm?
Ultimately, we are taking the team who has had a week to work out some kinks before this weekend. Our prediction: Cyclones take home the W.
Kansas State at No. 3 Oklahoma
We know what you’re thinking—it’s going to be a blow out. BUT let’s go back to last October when the Wildcats upset the Sooners 48-41 in Manhattan. Anything can happen. With coach Chris Klieman with an expectation shattering debut 8-win season in 2019 and a returning QB in Skylar Thompson, who has way more big-game experience than OU’s Spencer Rattler, the Wildcats could have a chance.
All underdog, upset talk aside, the Sooners are stacked. They have key all-stars returning on both sides of the ball in 2020, while we always love a good upset story, we are still taking OU for the win this weekend but expecting the Wildcats to keep things interesting.
No. 23 Kentucky at No. 8 Auburn | 12 p.m. | SEC Network
No. 5 Florida at Ole Miss | 12 p.m. | ESPN
Mississippi State at No. 6 LSU | 3:30 p.m. | CBS
No. 4 Georgia at Arkansas | 4 p.m. | SEC Network
No. 2 Alabama at Missouri | 7 p.m. | ESPN
No. 16 Tennessee at South Carolina | 7:30 p.m. | SEC Network
Vanderbilt at No. 10 Texas A&M | 7:30 p.m. | SEC Network Alternate
Mississippi State at No. 6 LSU
This match-up comes with so many questions. What will LSU look like after losing basically all of their all-stars to the draft? Will Mike Leach be able to put together the legendary offense he’s known for? Who is going to start as the Mississippi State QB? Because we know none of these answers—this game is one to watch this weekend. While LSU is still going to field an unbelievably talented team, they have never played together and many have never played on the college stage. This is something a normal offseason would have helped with but because of the unprecedented times that we’re in, their inexperience as a team puts the LSU Tigers at risk to simply have a ‘rebuilding year’ rather than the successful season many have predicted.
Mike Leach has a lot to prove with his Mississippi State squad. On the defensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs bring more experience and cohesion than LSU and if the offense can live up to the Leach hype, they may become a force to be reckoned with.
We are taking the Tigers in this match-up, but not by much. Regardless of score, this will be an interesting game to watch for LSU and Mississippi State fans.
No. 16 Tennessee at South Carolina
Arguably one of the most even match-ups of the SEC conference play debut, this contest will potentially leave the loser out of the running for the SEC East title chase completely. Now, anything can happen in 2020, but it’s clear that both of these team badly need this win out of the gate to keep their hopes up for a successful season this year.
The Vols lost key playmakers in wide receivers Marquez Callaway and Jauan Jennings, placing a heavy burden on sophomore receiver Ramel Keyton in 2020. While he’s shown potential to make big plays with his limited opportunities in 2019—that’s a lot of pressure for a young wide receiver, especially against a South Carolina defense. Coming off a 2019 season where they held opponents to 20 or fewer points in 5 games, the Gamecocks return nine key defensive players who now how a year of experience or more under their belt.
We are taking upset—predicting South Carolina by a small margin in this match-up.