Big 12 Upset Watch: Week 1
Time to debut what will be a weekly feature this season on the Big 12 Blog: Upset Watch.
There are favorites and there are underdogs. This is the Big 12 game most likely to not go the way everyone figures it will.
My pick: Baylor vs. SMU
The Bears are a double-digit favorite, but don't you dare sleep on June Jones' Mustangs. SMU has opened its season on the road against a Big 12 team in each of the past two seasons, so you know nothing is going to surprise this unit.
That goes for atmosphere and personnel. Texas Tech (2010) and Texas A&M (2011) both have atmospheres superior to what you'll find at Baylor.
Former Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert adds a little intrigue to this one as the Mustangs' starter, but the biggest problem for the Bears may be Zach Line. He's a stud, and a tough train to derail at 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds. He's no speedster, but bringing him down is never easy. He ran for 1,224 yards and 17 touchdowns a year ago, despite missing the final three games. He nearly topped 1,500 yards in 2010, and ran for 128 yards against Texas A&M last year, averaging nearly 6 yards a carry.
Darius Johnson had 1,118 yards receiving last year, and if the Gilbert Redemption Tour lives up to the hype, you have to figure he'll have plenty more this year.
The Bears are the better team here, but still feature a lot of unknown entities. The running back spot should be productive and solid. Nick Florence should be fantastic, with all the experience he has. The receivers should be tough for SMU to keep up with.
Still, you never quite know until you know, and if Baylor opens its season flat and doesn't play well, its BCS-conference best six-game winning streak is going down in flames, and its hopes for a third consecutive bowl game will take a major, major hit.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Bob Stoops' recent comments about the SEC and the pending college football playoff, what appears to be an unpredictable Big 12 in 2013, how the Aggies will handle expectations and more.
Play Podcast Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin talks about the improvements being made to Kyle Field, what those improvements will to for the program, the success of last year, Johnny Manziel's offseason and the expectations for the Aggies in 2013.
Play Podcast Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo talk about Texas A&M's decision to expand its stadium and say although the Aggies had a fantastic year, the school must also be careful not to overextend its resources based on a single hot stretch.
Play Podcast Baylor head coach Art Briles joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what kind of player the Cowboys are getting in Terrance Williams.
Play Podcast Arlington and Texas A&M product Luke Joeckel, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett to discuss the draft, coaches and advice from his dad.
Play Podcast Florida Gulf Coast athletic director Ken Kavanagh joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his school's Cinderella story and playing in the Sweet 16 at Cowboys Stadium.
Play Podcast Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby joins Fizsimmons & Durrett to discuss Cowboys Stadium as a venue, the state of Big 12 basketball, the new 2014 college football format, why there's no hurry to have a Big 12 football championship and much more.
Play Podcast Jay Bilas joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the remaining 16 teams in the NCAA tournament, the intrigue surrounding the Northwest Region and the excitement over FGCU, even though a similar story happens every year.