Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Ranking Big 12 nonconference games: 10-6
By David Ubben
We're moving on to the best games of the Big 12 slate now that we're 2/3 of the way through the nonconference game rankings.
You can find the rest of the list here. Let's get a bit closer to the top, shall we?
10. West Virginia vs. Maryland: The two border rivals will meet at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, and WVU will get a chance to prove it's better than most think against the Terps. Maryland's quarterback issues last year left them playing a linebacker at the spot, but Stefon Diggs has the ability to make last year's six-game losing streak a distant memory. This game comes after WVU's trip to Oklahoma, though, so the Mountaineers will have already been tested.
9. Baylor vs. Louisiana-Monroe: Last year's game was a Friday-night classic in Monroe. Baylor's got a good shot to be a better team this season, but so could ULM, which returns quarterback Kolton Browning. The Bears have been one of the best Big 12 teams at home lately, and will need to prove it again if they want this game to be out of reach of the Warhawks late in the fourth quarter.
8. Texas Tech at SMU: Kliff Kingsbury's debut will come just a few miles from downtown Dallas at SMU. The Mustangs return Texas QB transfer Garrett Gilbert from a seven-win team a year ago. Zach Line is gone, but Tech's new look team, likely spearheaded by sophomore QB Michael Brewer, should be must-see TV on Friday, Aug. 30.
7. Iowa vs. Iowa State: The last two games between these two in-state rivals have been classics, with ISU taking home three-point victories both times. In 2011, it took three overtimes. Last year, the 9-6 game came down to a late interception to seal the win. The Cy-Hawk trophy will be up for grabs back in Ames this year, and a rebuilding Iowa State team will have a great crowd behind it for the 6 p.m. ET kickoff.
6. TCU vs. SMU: The battle for the Iron Skillet has heated up lately, but I'm happy the old Southwest Conference rivalry has survived so much conference realignment in recent seasons. SMU's overtime win in 2011 was its lone victory over the Frogs since 2005. Big 12 fans should get to know this rivalry. It's underrated with lots of bad blood here between programs less than an hour away on opposite sides of the Metroplex.