After going unbeaten in Week 1 of Big 12 gridiron action, things will be different for three of the five teams that make up the abbreviated slate of games for Week 2 of the college football season.
This week's action began Thursday night, when Arizona out of the Pac-12 Conference team Arizona got a taste of what it might be like to have Oklahoma State and perhaps other Big 12 schools in its league.
Five conference teams have byes this week: Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Baylor.
Oklahoma State 37, Arizona 14 (actual score)
The Cowboys made their statement early in this game, jumping out to a 21-0 margin midway into the second quarter. For all intents and purposes, the game was over at that point, as Arizona, coached by Oklahoma coach Bog Stoops' brother, Mike, failed to sustain much of an offense most of the night. The final score, 37-14, was not surprisingly similar to when these same two teams hooked up in the Alamo Bowl last December. Oklahoma State won that game also by a count of 36-10. Joseph Randle, a graduate of Wichita Southeast High School, ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns and also caught nine passes for 99 yards in leading the Pokes to their second victory of the young season. All-America wide-receiver Justin Blackmon added 12 receptions for a total of 128 yards.
Missouri 17 @ ARIZONA STATE 20
As featured in our Game of the Week article on Thursday, theMissouri Tigers will be in the Arizona desert for a Friday Night Lights matchup with the other Arizona Pac-12 school, 23rd-ranked Arizona State. Missouri will put its No. 19 national ranking and a 22-game nonconference winning streak on the line against the Sun Devils. Gary Pinkel's Tigers are hoping for a better result than the last time they played at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. This will be the second time in Mizzou's last three games they have played in Tempe. The Tigers lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes in that same venue last season in the Insight Bowl.
Asked about going on the road early in the season and facing ranked opponents, Pinkel said, "I think it's all the same. Our league is a harsh environment. The stadiums we go and play at are like Sun Devil Stadium. I look at it as an opportunity to play in some great venues, and this is certainly one.
"If you want to be good, you have to win games on the road," he said. "We all know that, so that's the challenge we have."
Against Arizona State's high-powered offense, piloted by 6-8 junior quarterback Brock Osweiler, Missouri is not going to be able to rely on its defense to make up for the Tigers inefficiency on offense, as it did last week in a hard-fought 17-6 win over Miami of Ohio. The Tiger defense is going to have its hands full slowing down the Sun Devils' offense. Points will be hard to come by, I believe, on either side, but I see Arizona State outlasting the Tigers in this one by a narrow three-point margin.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS 24 @ Kansas 16
Kansas avoided the opening-game upset to a Division II-A opponent this season, outslugging McNeese State 42-24 last week at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence. The Jayhawks won't be as fortunate this week against Northern Illinois, one of the better teams in the Mid-American Conference (the same conference as Miami, Missouri's opponent last week).
Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren is very familiar with Kansas. He coached the Jayhawk linebackers from 2002-2005 under Mark Mangino. Doeren is a Kansas City native and coached high school football at Shawnee Mission Northwest. Northern Illinois beat Army in its season-opening game last week, and was 5-2 in road games a year ago, including a postseason win over Fresno State in the Humanitarian Bowl.
The Jayhawks displayed some of the flashy young talent in Turner Gill's 2011 recruiting class, and it was impressive. But Kansas is not going to be able to count on getting the same kind of output each and every week from its first-year players. It's going to take some time for their development, but the raw talent is there and should start to turn things around for the slumping Jayhawk football program in the coming years.
Senior Huskie quarterback Chandler Harnish will be the big difference maker in this game. Look for Harnish to put up big numbers against a porous KU defense in a Northern Illinois road win.
IOWA 21 @ Iowa State 13
Nothing is bigger in the state of Iowa this weekend than the annual rivalry contest between Iowa and Iowa State. Both teams come into the early-start Saturday game at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames with opening game victories. Steele Jantz is in his first season as the starting quarterback for the Cyclones. Jantz fell victim to the turnover bug in his debut last week against Northern Iowa. He did, however, lead the Cyclones on two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter of that game to squeak out a one-point 20-19 win. Iowa also has a first-year starting quarterback in James Vandenberg, who replaces last year's signal-caller Rick Stanzi, who is now with the Kansas City Chiefs. Iowa is not expected to be as strong in 2011 as they have been in recent years, but the Hawkeyes are plenty solid enough to defeat their in-state rival and take home the Cy-Hawk Trophy. Iowa has won six of the last ten games in this series and holds a 23-11 advantage all-time.
Brigham Young 13 @ TEXAS 27
BYU comes to Austin looking for a second consecutive road victory. The Cougars won a close game with Mississippi last weekend on a late defensive touchdown. In that win, the BYU defense held Ole Miss to 208 yards of offense and just 64 yards rushing. Junior quarterback Garrett Gilbert won the nod in the preseason to remain the Longhorn starting QB, and based on his performance last week, it appears that he has a couple of highly capable pass targets in receivers Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley (younger brother of former Texas All-America receiver Jordan Shipley). The Texas offense seemed a bit sluggish in getting it going last week against Rice, but the Horns should have enough in the tank to get by a BYU team that isn't as strong this season as in years past. This is only the third time these two teams have ever met in football. BYU won the previous two games, including a 22-17 victory the last time Cougars traveled to Austin, in 1987.
Last week's picks: 10-0