Texas Tech football: 5 other intriguing Big 12 games this week

Texas Tech football: 5 other intriguing Big 12 games this week
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Oct 9, 2010; Pullman, WA, USA; Nike football on a kicking tee during the NCAA game between the Oregon Ducks and the Washington State Cougars at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

While week one of the college football season was a welcome meal for fans, week two might provide the best slate of games this year.  Of course, Texas Tech fans will be focused on the visit from Oregon this Saturday but with that being a night game, there will be plenty of time to take in other games.

Outside of the Big 12, there are some tremendous matchups. One sneaky-good game early in the day will be No. 10 Notre Dame at N.C. State.  The Irish are 2-0 but have not come close to being tested after facing Navy and Tennessee State thus far.  The same isn’t true for the Wolfpack which had a workman-like 24-14 win on the road over a feisty UCONN team to open the season last week.

Of course, many eyes will be on Boulder, Colorado for the home debut of Deion Sanders and the Buffalos.  Expected to crush rival Nebraska, what Colorado does for an encore after its thrilling win over No. 17 TCU last week will be one of the stories of the weekend regardless of the outcome.

A regional matchup in the Southeast between No. 20 Ole Miss and No. 24 Tulane could be worth a watch.  Can the home-standing Green Wave legitimize their status as a ranked team by taking down a ranked S.E.C. opponent?

At the same time (2:30 PM Central), many Red Raiders will have their eyes on Texas A&M’s trip to Miami.  Neither of those teams was tested in week one and with both programs looking to rebound from massively disappointing seasons in 2022, one of these teams will take a huge step toward earning back some of the respect that both used to enjoy.

If you are not at the Texas Tech game and you have an extra screen or two dedicated to other games, you might want to check out No. 19 Wisconsin’s trip to Washington State.  With new head coach Luke Fickel trying to change the culture and the style of play of the Badgers, this could be a tough early test against a PAC-12 program with a chip on its shoulder after seemingly being left out of the cool kids’ party after the latest round of realignment.  Look for the Cougars to try to make a massive statement in this game.

Big 12 fans will have plenty to watch within the conference as well since many teams in the league have opportunities to turn heads in week two.  So here are five Big 12 games outside of the Texas Tech – Oregon showdown that Red Raider fans should pay attention to on Saturday.

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However, Tech has claimed the last two meetings with the Cyclones to help take the sting out of the irritation toward ISU.  Still, it is fun to watch a coach who was once the Big 12’s golden boy start to slide off of the perch he so recently enjoyed.

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Since playing for the Big 12 title in 2021, Campbell’s program is just 12-14 in the last two-plus seasons.  Now, he has one of the most scandal-ridden programs in the nation, and not much is expected from his team in 2023.

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Campbell would do well to turn the tide against his university’s in-state rival, Iowa.  Going just 1-6 against the Hawkeyes in his tenure has been a huge issue for the man who curves the bill of his cap more than a frat boy in 2002.

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His one win in this series did come last year, a thrilling 10-7 win in Iowa City.  This year, points might actually be distributed a bit more liberally in this game though.

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Last week, against Utah State, Iowa racked up a stunning 24 points in a 24-14 win.  Meanwhile, the Cyclones scored a 30-9 win over Northern Iowa.

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For some fans, this rivalry is the college football version of Ambien.  However, if watching a coach who once was a rising star in the sport try to hang onto his job as it slips away from him is fascinating to you, this might be a game worth at least keeping on a second screen.

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ESPN gives Iowa State a 57.5% chance to win but the history between these two teams makes most feel like an ISU triumph would be surprising.  Texas Tech doesn’t play Iowa State this year so what the Cyclones do won’t likely impact the Red Raiders.  However, they will be conference foes for years to come in the new Big 12 so rooting for their continued decline would be in Red Raider fans’ interest.

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Iowa @ Iowa State: September 9, 2:30 PM Central, FOX

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UCF @ Boise St.: Texas Tech fans shouldn’t sleep on Central Florida

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Don’t sleep on Central Florida.  The Knights have a head coach (Gus Malzhan) with a national title on his resume and one of the best dual-threat QBs in the nation (John Rhys Plumlee) running their high-powered offense.  They will come to Lubbock in mid-November in what will be a tough test for the Red Raiders.

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This week, we will find out something important about the Knights.  Can they handle a cross-country trip that is going to be similar in length to many of the trips they will have to make in the new Big 12 as they travel to face Boise State in Idaho?

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On paper, UCF should throttle the Broncos.  Boise was trounced by No. 10 Washington 56-19 last week and the days of Boise being a giant killer appear to be just memories now.

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Still, this game on the blue turf will be telling.  Will the Knights handle playing two time zones and 2,600 miles away from home at night?

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Perhaps, the bigger test will be next week to see how UCF rebounds from this long trip.  However, their week-three opponent is just Villanova, a school that is not a power in football like it is in basketball.

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This will be UCF’s longest trip of the year.  Their second-longest trip is to Lubbock.  But in upcoming seasons, they will also have to go to Colorado, Utah, and Arizona to play conference games so they had better get used to long flights and late nights.

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For years, West Virginia has complained about the toll that these cross country-trips have taken on their athletic teams.  Will UCF face similar struggles?  Hopefully.  Still, ESPN gives them a 77.7% chance of winning.

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This game will be overlooked given the mass of stellar games played at the same time on Saturday night.  However, keep an eye on how the Knights handle this test because it mimics what they are about to experience with regularity in their new conference home.

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UCF @ Boise St: September 9, 6 PM Central, FS1

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