Week 3 Big 12 College Football Previews and Predictions

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Week 3 Big 12 College Football Previews and Predictions

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Jerome Miron - USA TODAY SPORTS

As Week 3 of the 2013 college football season kicks off this evening in Big 12 action between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the TCU Horned Frogs in what promises to be a packed house in Lubbock, things are shaping up for a successful weekend for the conference's teams. Whoever emerges from the Tech/TCU matchup rises quickly to the top of the conference ranks, especially if it's the Red Raiders and they get off to an unexpected 3-0 start on the season.

In spite of the relatively easy opponents for some of the teams in the conference, there are some intriguing matchups outside of TCU/Tech, in particular Saturday night's game between the Texas Longhorns and Ole Miss Rebels. Can Texas bounce back after a humiliating defeat in Provo to the BYU Cougars? Will Ole Miss complete their goal of revenge for last season's thrashing at the hands of Texas on the Grove? It'll be a good one, either way.

Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Oklahoma have relative tune-ups this week against weaker opponents. Don't count out Tulsa, however. With a few interesting bounces, their potential to knock off the Sooners could grow exponentially.

It's another week for Big 12 teams to work into the fold, in large part, and continue getting ready for the full on grind of the conference season that kicks off in Week 4. Let's take a look at how we see this weekend's games playing out!

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TCU Horned Frogs (1-1) v.s. Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-0)

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Kevin Jairaj - USA TODAY SPORTS

Vegas Line: Texas Tech is a three-point favorite.

The Big 12 slate for Week 3 kicks off on Thursday evening as the Texas Tech Red Raiders invite Garry Patterson's TCU Horned Frogs to Lubbock in an intriguing matchup. True freshman walk on Tech QB Baker Mayfield looks to continue his hot start and make things tough for a TCU defensive unit that hasn't quite lived up to the hype surrounding them entering the 2013 campaign.

TCU will operate under center with backup quarterback Trevone Boykin, who after starting last season, took an early backseat to Casey Pachall. After another injury, Pachall has been sidelined, and the keys are in Boykin's hands to let his quick feet and football instinct help a talented TCU offense to victory in what will be very hostile territory.

Our Prediction: Tech holds court at home and wins in a squeaker.

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Oklahoma Sooners (2-0) v.s. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-1)

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Beth Hall - USA TODAY SPORTS

Vegas Line: Oklahoma is a 24 point favorite.

Bob Stoops' 2-0 Oklahoma Sooners invite the 2012 Conference USA champion Tulsa Golden Hurricane to Norman on Saturday afternoon in a contest that may end up being much closer than the Vegas line would suggest, or how it would look on paper. After some struggles and an injury to redshirt freshman Trevor Knight, the Sooners turn back to last season's goal-line dynamo Blake Bell to take the snaps.

The Sooners have outscored over-matched opponents in their first two contests by a total of 50-7, and face a confounding Tulsa offense that only put up seven points against Bowling Green in their opener, but bounced back strong with a 30-27 home win over the Colorado State Rams last week. The Hurricane certainly won't be intimidated by the Sooners, but it'll take a few early turnovers for Tulsa to have any chance in this one.

Our Prediction: Tulsa fights early, but Oklahoma pulls away in the second half.

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West Virginia Mountaineers (1-1) v.s. Georgia State Panthers (0-2)

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Kirby Hall - USA TODAY SPORTS

Vegas Line: West Virginia is a 41 point favorite.

Dana Holgorsen's West Virginia Mountaineers have struggled mightily in their first two games of the 2013 campaign, eeking out a 24-17 win over FCS William and Mary in Week 1 and scoring only a first quarter touchdown and nothing else in a Week 2 16-7 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners in Week 2 in Norman.

In their second year in the Sun Belt Conference, the Georgia State Panthers were roundly beaten in both of their first two games by Samford and Tennessee Chattanooga, being outscored by a total of 73-35 in the process. This one should be a nice and easy cakewalk for the Mountaineers as they get back on to their feet in preparation for the Maryland Terrapins to round out the non-conference slate next week.

Our Prediction: West Virginia is never challenged and wins easy.

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Iowa State Cyclones (0-1) v.s. Iowa Hawkeyes (1-1)

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Reese Strickland - USA TODAY SPORTS

Vegas Line: Iowa State is a 2.5 point favorite.

In the 2013 battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy, the Iowa State Cyclones will be looking for their third straight win against a banged-up (what else is new as AIRBHG smiles) Iowa Hawkeyes squad Saturday evening on Fox Sports One. The Cyclones suffered what some are calling an embarrassing in-state loss to Northern Iowa, 28-20 last Saturday in Ames to get the season off on a very bad foot.

Iowa, on the other hand, bounced back from a Week 1 loss to last year's BCS Cinderella, Northern Illinois, by easily handling the Missouri State Bears 28-14 at home in Week 2.

On paper, it's relatively reasonable to see Paul Rhoades' squad as the better team, and they certainly will have the support of a sold-out Jack Trice Stadium behind them, but trying to call a winner here, definitively, isn't shooting fish in a barrel. This one's a total toss-up.

Our Prediction: Who really knows. Too close to call. Could go either way, no, really.

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Kansas State Wildcats (1-1) v.s. Massachusetts Minutemen (0-2)

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Brendan Maloney - USA TODAY SPORTS

Vegas Line: Kansas State is a 39-point favorite.

After an unexpected Week 1 loss to FCS powerhouse North Dakota State, the 1-1 Kansas State Wildcats will certainly welcome an easy Saturday as the hapless Massachusetts Minutemen arrive in Manhattan. Bill Snyder's squad bounced back in Week 2 with a convincing 48-27 win over the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns and should walk over a UMass squad that has been beaten by a combined score of 69-14 -- with last weeks loss coming to Maine -- over their first two games.

The Minutemen are among the worst teams in Division I so far this season statistically in all four major categories and just have no chance in this one against a hungry and determined Wildcats squad in familiar territory.

Our Prediction: K-State earns a huge blowout and rests some starters to prepare for Texas next week.

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Oklahoma State Cowboys (2-0) v.s. Lamar Cardinals (1-1)

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Troy Taormina - USA TODAY SPORTS

Vegas Line: Oklahoma State is a 47 point favorite.

With this week's 5-part Sports Illustrated expose about the program hanging over Stillwater like a dark cloud, Mike Gundy's Oklahoma State Cowboys will certainly be more than happy to take the field against a weaker opponent to take out some frustration as they welcome the Lamar Cardinals to Stillwater. Scoring 77 points in two contests, the Cowboys offensive unit has looked as explosive as ever behind the leadership of quarterback J.W. Walsh and a talented set of skill players at running back and wideout.

The Cardinal destroyed Oklahoma Panhandle State (yes, I know, who?) before taking a 27-14 loss to the Louisiana Tech Rebels in Week 2. Lamar just flat doesn't have the players to hang with the Cowboys, and the fact they'll be looking to blow off some steam makes the Pokes an easy winner here.

Our Prediction: Oklahoma State steps on the gas early on and this one's over by halftime.

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Kansas Jayhawks (1-0) v.s. Rice Owls (0-1)

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John Rieger - USA TODAY SPORTS

Vegas Line: Rice is the favorite by 7.

Charlie Weis will be fighting for his job throughout the 2013 season in Lawrence and this Saturday will be no different as the 1-0 Kansas Jayhawks take a trip to Houston to take on the 0-1 Rice Owls. Kansas opened their 2013 slate in Week 2 with a 31-14 win over South Dakota with All Big-12 running back James Sims ripping the field up at will.

Rice started the season with a rough 52-31 loss to the Texas A&M Aggies in College Station, but showed no fear in the matchup, ripping up the Aggies secondary with ease even though they might have been undermanned. In short, this Rice squad has a much different look than David Bailiff teams we've seen in the past.

Rice's depth will be a little too much for the Jayhawks to handle, especially at home, and the Jayhawks will return to Lawrence with some rebuilding to do, in spite of a big game from James Sims.

Our Prediction: Rice squeaks out a win to get back to .500, sending the Jayhawks to the same.

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Texas Longhorns (1-1) v.s. Ole Miss Rebels (2-0)

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Spruce Derden - USA TODAY SPORTS

Vegas Line: Texas is a three-point favorite at home.

A game that's certain to have the nation's attention is Saturday night's ABC special between the Texas Longhorns and Ole Miss Rebels. After an embarrassing 40-21 loss to the BYU Cougars last Saturday in Provo, the Longhorns are reeling, with a new Defensive Coordinator at the helm and a myriad of questions floating about the future not only of the team in the short-term, but of Mack Brown in the long-term. Many are wondering which Texas team will show up in Austin Saturday evening and the answer will surely determine the outcome.

After securing one of the best recruiting classes in the country for 2013, the Ole Miss Rebels are riding high after starting the season 2-0 and have revenge for last season's 66-31 thrashing to Texas on the mind. They'll arrive on the Forty Acres with a chip on their shoulder. But will it be enough?

Our Prediction: Texas plays with heart with their backs against the wall and escapes with a hard-fought victory in the final moments.

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