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.
I’m going to go outside the box here because I’m always intrigued by elimination games and Kansas vs. Baylor is just that. There are two huge games this weekend in K-State vs. TCU and Texas vs. Oklahoma State, but KU at Baylor is an elimination game because the loser can kiss their chances goodbye of reaching a Big 12 Title game, while the winner can still feel like they’re in the mix. And for Kansas, losing a third-straight game would be a big blow after a thrilling 5-0 start. While if Baylor drops to 1-3 in Big 12 play and 3-4 overall, that would be a huge letdown from last year’s team that won the Big 12 Championship and had high expectations of a potential repeat going into the season.
After surviving a thriller against Iowa State last week at home, Quinn Ewers and the Texas Longhorns come into this game as nearly touchdown favorites. Oklahoma State, on the other hand, just lost its first game of the season to TCU in double overtime and will try to get back on track at home. While the game in Fort Worth pits the two undefeated teams in conference play against one another, both of these teams still control their destiny to get a spot in the title game. With a win, that continues to be the case. Take a loss, and you will need some help to get to Arlington. Plus, Texas and Oklahoma State always seem to have a little extra emotion when they are playing one another, so this game is must-watch TV.
Kansas State at TCU is the easy choice here. But, if you’re thinking about positioning for the Big 12 Championship game, there’s little room for error for these two schools. Both already have a league loss, and the winner will be tied with the loser of the TCU-Kansas State game for second place. Guess what? Neither Oklahoma State nor Texas has played K-State or TCU yet. So the winner gets a little leeway when those matchups come up. The loser basically faces a must-win when it faces K-State or TCU. And, by the way, Oklahoma State gets K-State on Oct. 29. This game is all about being in the right position when those future games come up. The tiebreaker, for the winner, could also be valuable too.
I know College GameDay is in Eugene, Oregon this weekend but they made a mistake. They should be in Fort Worth for a big time top 25 matchup between Kansas State and TCU. There are only two schools in the Big 12 without a loss in conference play and of course it is these two. This game will determine who will be in the driver’s seat moving forward and who will take a step back. Both Max Duggan and Adrian Martinez have been playing well this season and it should be a fun matchup to watch on Saturday. I have no idea who will win but I know it will be a great game.