- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Season predictions in July might sound like a fruitless endeavor, but we just can't help it. We're too ready for this season to begin. And this time last year, we did boldly and correctly project TCU would beat Oklahoma as well as a West Virginia upset of Baylor. So what have we cooked up for 2015?
Over the next two weeks, we're making predictions for all 75 Big 12 games of the season. We kick the series off this morning with Week 1.
Oklahoma State 49, Central Michigan 10: The new guys have all the fun in Mount Pleasant. Juco transfer running backs Chris Carson and Todd Mays open up the Cowboys' offense, making Mason Rudolph’s job easy in the road romp.
TCU 41, Minnesota 21: The Gophers no longer have David Cobb or Maxx Williams, but do have enough talent to give the Horned Frogs a challenge. Unfortunately, we never find out because Trevone Boykin gets rolling with a rapid 21-0 start. Boykin surpasses 400 total yards to properly kick off his Heisman campaign.
Baylor 55, SMU 6: Chad Morris will cook up some crazy looks for Baylor’s defense in his head coaching debut, but he doesn’t have nearly enough firepower to keep up with Seth Russell, who steals the show with his dual-threat talents. Ismael Zamora finds the end zone twice in his debut.
Kansas 20, South Dakota State 17: A game-winning field goal by Matthew Wyman means nothing but good vibes for the Jayhawks in their first game under David Beaty. The duo of Montell Cozart and Ke’aun Kinner does enough damage in the run game to survive the FCS Jackrabbits.
Oklahoma 45, Akron 17: It’s Baker Mayfield time, and after sitting out a year he’s ready to let it rip. Mayfield throws for five scores, including two to emerging tight end threat Mark Andrews, to bounce the Zips with ease.
Kansas State 28, South Dakota 13: The Coyotes closed out 2014 with eight straight losses and provide an easy first test for true freshman Alex Delton, the surprise starter at quarterback. He makes mistakes but shows promise and gets lots of help from KSU’s defense, which forces three turnovers.
Notre Dame 24, Texas 20: The Longhorns play it safe and give the road start to Tyrone Swoopes, who shows noticeable improvement in South Bend. But Malik Zaire makes a few too many plays against a Texas defense that throws surprises his way but shows its inexperience late.
West Virginia 27, Georgia Southern 17: The Eagles nearly upset Georgia Tech and NC State last season and won’t be an easy out. Their run game (best in FBS last season) nearly hits 300 yards but can’t get it done in the red zone against West Virginia’s stout D.
Iowa State 31, Northern Iowa 24: Upset alert? After getting shocked by North Dakota State in last season’s opener, Paul Rhoads doesn’t let his team fall for that trap again and staves off a late rally from a quality FCS opponent.
Texas Tech 38, Sam Houston State 13: Kliff Kingbury makes the tough call on his quarterback battle by picking Patrick Mahomes, who comes out firing against one of the better programs in FCS. But it’s the two defensive touchdowns forced by David Gibbs’ defenders that provide the biggest sign of progress.
Current Big 12 standings
1. Baylor -- 1-0
2. Iowa State -- 1-0
3. Kansas -- 1-0
4. Kansas State -- 1-0
5. Oklahoma -- 1-0
6. Oklahoma State -- 1-0
7. TCU -- 1-0
8. Texas Tech -- 1-0
9. West Virginia -- 1-0
10. Texas -- 0-1
6dJake Trotter and Brandon Chatmon
13dBrandon Chatmon and Max Olson