<
>

Predicting the 2014 season: Week 1

The season is just around the corner.

It should be a fun year in the Big 12 with defending champion Baylor returning the conference offensive player of the year, Bryce Petty, yet finding themselves behind Oklahoma in several preseason projections. The Sooners used their Allstate Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama to spark themselves into the top 10 in several preseason prognostications.

It's our turn. Over the next week or so we will be predicting the entire season on the Big 12 blog. This morning, we kick things off with Week 1.

Iowa State 35, North Dakota State 31: North Dakota State looks poised to win its second-straight season opener against a Big 12 team after pulling the upset over Kansas State in 2013. But a pair of big plays from ISU tight end E.J. Bibbs and receiver Quenton Bundrage early in the second half help the Cyclones take a comfortable lead before a late Bison touchdown makes the final score look closer than is actually was.

Alabama 45, West Virginia 35 (in Atlanta): The Mountaineers are ready for the challenge against the Crimson Tide, taking them into the fourth quarter with WVU within striking distance. But Bama's running game eventually takes over to help the Crimson Tide pull away in the final quarter. Mountaineer quarterback Clint Trickett plays well but WVU's struggles in the trenches stifle its upset hopes.

Kansas State 42, Stephen F. Austin 21: Bill Snyder's team cruises in this one as Jake Waters and Tyler Lockett hook up for two early touchdowns and the Wildcats force a turnover to add another score to make this game a blowout before halftime. The lone downside for the Wildcats during an otherwise perfect start is the lack of a strong performance from any of its running backs.

TCU 49, Samford 17: The Horned Frogs new offense looks ready to roll as four different TCU receivers catch touchdowns in the win. And Gary Patterson's defense looks as dominant as ever with four sacks and two interceptions as TCU cruises in Week 1.

Texas Tech 56, Central Arkansas 14: Red Raider quarterback Davis Webb has the performance of the week with six touchdown passes in the first game of his sophomore season. Tech's defense surrenders an early touchdown but rebounds to have a solid opener once Webb and the offense get rolling and the confidence carries over to the other side of the ball.

Oklahoma 45, Louisiana Tech 20: The Sooners look like they haven't skipped a beat after the Allstate Sugar Bowl, taking a four-touchdown lead into halftime thanks to three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) from Trevor Knight.

Florida State 38, Oklahoma State 21 (in Arlington, Texas): The Seminoles simply overwhelm the Cowboys to start the season. OSU's young talent shows up in various moments against the defending national champions but its inexperience is the story of the night.

Texas 31, North Texas 14: Charlie Strong's debut game is up and down with the Longhorn defense taking a shutout into the fourth quarter but with the offense struggling to pull away from North Texas. Ultimately, UT is never really threatened but has plenty of room to grow after Week 1.

Baylor 63, SMU 42: Baylor's offense does what we've come to expect from Baylor's offense, but the Bears defense and secondary in particular struggle in the season opener against the Mustangs. BU quarterback Bryce Petty, once again making things look easier than they are, passes 400-plus yards and four touchdowns including two to Antwan Goodley as SMU never really has a hope of outscoring Art Briles' crew despite having plenty of success on offense.

Current Big 12 standings

1. Baylor -- 1-0

2. Iowa State -- 1-0

3. Kansas State -- 1-0

4. Oklahoma -- 1-0

5. Texas -- 1-0

6. TCU -- 1-0

7. Texas Tech -- 1-0

8. Kansas -- 0-0

9. Oklahoma State -- 0-1

10. West Virginia -- 0-1