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HCS Roundtable Week 5: Big 12 Game of the Week

Some games are just better than others. It’s a simple rule in the life of a college football fan and one that doesn’t take long to figure out. Most nonconference games anymore are ho-hum, with FBS opponents taking on FCS opponents and beating their brains in by 42 points every other week.

Once conference play starts, things seem to get a little better, other than when your team plays the cellar dweller of the conference (you know who you are).

However, on every magical Saturday, there are a handful of games that are truly spectacles in their own right; games that you absolutely cannot miss out on, so you set your DVR (or your VCR I suppose) so that you can catch all the action if you must choose one over the other.

Those are the games we wake up for on Saturday.

Here are this week’s Heartland College Sports’ Staff Big 12 Games of the Week.

 

Pete Mundo

Iowa State (-3.5) at Kansas

The Kansas Jayhawks are 4-0 for the first time in 13 years! They have one of the frontrunners for the Heisman Trophy at quarterback and now they welcome in an Iowa State team fresh off a tough loss to Baylor. What’s not to love about this game?!

If Kansas wins, they remain the best story in college football, and if Iowa State loses, then the Cyclones are suddenly 0-2 to start Big 12 play. If Iowa State pulls off the road win, they’re right back in the thick of the early Big 12 race, and the KU bubble may be popped, but it won’t be for long. No matter what, the best story in the sport is in Lawrence, Kansas, so I’m picking that game this weekend. 

Bryan Clinton

No. 9 Oklahoma State at No. 16 Baylor (-2)

A rematch of the 2021 Big 12 Championship Game, this will be the game to tune into in the 2:30 p.m. window. Spencer Sanders leads a potent Oklahoma State offense into Waco to face a Baylor front seven that is allowing under 80 yards a game on the ground. That means Sanders will need to play a clean game against the Bears, something he did not do last season, throwing a combined seven interceptions in two games against Aranda’s squad.

Meanwhile, the Baylor offense seemed to find itself last week in Ames as Blake Shapen found success through the air. Oklahoma State has been susceptible to big plays in the secondary and is among the nation’s worst in pass defense to this point. There are plenty of ways that this game could go, and will certainly be what is on my television on Saturday afternoon.

 

Matthew Postins

Texas Tech at Kansas State (-8)

Naturally, everyone is going to take Oklahoma State at Baylor, and it will likely be the most high-profile game on the schedule. But the Texas Tech-Kansas State game, to me, is super intriguing to me. Both teams are coming off big wins over the two teams that are leaving for the SEC in a year or two (depending upon what timeline you subscribe to). Texas Tech has had one road game this season and didn’t perform well at all against NC State, at least on offense. Kansas State’s one road game to this point resulted in the Oklahoma win last week. It’s odd. You’re almost trying to figure out which team will have the least amount of letdown from last week.

I’m not sure Texas Tech has the talent for the long haul this season. But Kansas State? The Wildcats absolutely do. But, if K-State wants to be that team, it has to win on Saturday. If Tech wins, then maybe I’m wrong about them not being ready to be a long haul team this season. You have one team I believe is capable of being a Top 4 team in the league and another that is enjoying more excitement around its football program than it has since Patrick Mahomes was the quarterback. It should be fun. 

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