football-fbs flag

The Associated Press | August 30, 2018

Big 12 football: Oklahoma's game of the week and other teams to watch

College Football: Alabama wins National Championship

Some things to watch in the Big 12 Conference the first weekend of the 2018 season:

GAME OF THE WEEK

Florida Atlantic at No. 7 Oklahoma: The Sooners have won three Big 12 championships in a row, and last season went to the College Football Playoff for the second time. Conference USA champ Florida Atlantic carries a 10-game winning streak into 2018, its second season under coach Lane Kiffin. The Owls are looking for their first-ever victory over a ranked FBS opponent. They have the C-USA preseason offensive and defensive players of the year in junior running back Devin Singletary (1,920 yards rushing, national-best 32 TDs) and senior linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair (147 tackles). One of FAU's quarterbacks is redshirt freshman Chris Robison, who was at Oklahoma last summer before being dismissed from the program for violating team rules.

BEST MATCHUP

Two coaches leading their alma maters when Texas Tech plays Mississippi in Houston: Former Red Raiders quarterback Kliff Kingsbury has a 30-33 record going into his sixth season as coach. Matt Luke was an offensive lineman at Ole Miss, and served as interim coach for the Rebels during a 6-6 season last year before getting the full-time job. The Red Raiders, who expected their defense to be greatly improved, is listed a slight favorite.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

West Virginia, which plays Tennessee in Charlotte, North Carolina, has lost its last two neutral-site openers against Power Five opponents. The Mountaineers fell to Virginia Tech last season at the home of the NFL's Washington Redskins, and lost to Alabama in Atlanta four years ago. The Volunteers are 5-0-1 in season-opening games at a neutral site.

 There are five first-time matchups for Big 12 teams the opening weekend, including the Florida Atlantic-Oklahoma and WVU-Tennessee games. The others are all home games: TCU against Southern University; Kansas playing Nicholls State; and Baylor taking on Abilene Christian.

MORE: Alabama No. 1, Clemson right behind in first AP Poll

The Big 12 will play 11 of its 30 non-conference games (37 percent) against teams from other Power Five leagues. That is the highest percentage for any of the autonomy conferences. Three of those games are Saturday.

LONG SHOT

No. 16 TCU plays its opener against a SWAC team for the third time in seven seasons. Southern will try to do what Grambling State and Jackson State failed to do — score a point. The Horned Frogs, who played Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game last December, overwhelmed Jackson State 63-0 to start last season and beat Grambling 56-0 in the 2012 opener.

RELATED: The ultimate viewing guide to opening weekend of college football

PLAYERS TO WATCH

West Virginia's potent quarterback-receiver combo of Will Grier and David Sills. Grier threw for 3,490 yards and his 34 TD passes in 11 games were the second-most in a single season for the Mountaineers. Sills, a former quarterback, tied for the national lead with 18 TD catches — all on passes from Grier.

This article was written by The Associated Press from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

The 25 NCAA baseball champions who went undefeated in College World Series play

Nine schools have gone undefeated in Omaha en route to winning the College World Series since a format change in 1999. Here's the full group of 25 since the CWS started in 1947.
READ MORE

These are the 5 most important players in the Big 12 for the 2019-20 college basketball season

The Big 12 was a conference full of parity, excitement and intensity last year, and the 2019-20 season will look similar. Here are the five players Andy Katz expects to make a lasting impact on their teams this season.
READ MORE

UCLA wins Women's College World Series against Oklahoma on walk-off single

The 2019 NCAA Softball tournament continues with the Women's College World Series Finals. Check out the bracket, schedule and scores below.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners