In less than a month we’ll have college football!!! We’ve waited since early January for this moment and just to prove that we’ll watch any team play with the ole’ pigskin the Big 12 is offering its usual slate of early season duds. Here’s a look at the ten worse games that the conference has to offer in 2019.
10. Northern Iowa at Iowa State (Saturday, August 31st) | The Cyclones were picked to finish third in the Big 12 this season and the Panthers placed third in the Missouri Valley Conference last season. To be fair, NIU did beat Iowa State 25-20 in 2016 but lost 42-24 in their most recent game (2017)
9. ULM at Iowa State (Saturday, September 14th) | Hey look at Iowa State making our list for a second time in two spots. Their annual rivalry with the Iowa Hawkeyes is sandwiched between two games that are must wins. Louisiana-Monroe (6-6 last season) will be the Cyclones’ third and final tune-up before conference play starts. All three games, to start the season, are played at home.
8. Stephen F. Austin at Baylor (Saturday, August 31st) | I truly expect Baylor to make some noise in the Big 12 this year, especially if they’re able to make improvements on the defensive side of the ball. This game is only going to raise those expectations among the fanbase as the Lumberjacks were just a two-win team in 2018. Among their eight losses was a 63-6 thumping by Mississippi State to start the season and a 47-14 loss to Nicholls who we will get to in just a minute.
7. Montana State at Texas Tech (Saturday, August 31st) | The ESPN Power Index gives Texas Tech a 96.9% chance to win this game. Of course the Red Raiders went 0-5 to close out their 2018 football season while the Bobcats went 4-1 during that same span. That said, don’t expect anything less than a rout in Matt Wells’ debut as the new Texas Tech head coach.
6. UAPB at TCU (Saturday, August 31st) | Poor quarterback play plagued the Horned Frogs in 2018 and Gary Patterson is hoping to have that fixed in 2019. We probably won’t know, one way or the other, though until the second week of the season when TCU hosts Purdue.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff was a nine-loss team in 2018, including a 90-6 decision against South Dakota State.
5. Nicholls at Kansas State (Saturday, August 31st) | Another new head coach making his debut on opening weekend is the Wildcats’ Chris Klieman. He’ll have an interesting opener against a Nicholls team that went 9-3 in 2018 and defeated the Kansas Jayhawks, 26-23, to start the season.
4. UTSA at Baylor (Saturday, September 7th) | The Bears become the second team to make our list twice. Baylor is taking the “buy a win” approach seriously in 2019 as the non-conference portion of their schedule should easily get them a third of the way to bowl eligibility. The Roadrunners played the Bears to within 17 points last season (37-20) but also ended up producing a 3-9 record in 2018.
3. McNeese at Oklahoma State (Saturday, September 7th) | Kudos to Oklahoma State for going on the road to open the season at Oregon State but this second game of the season is definitely one for “up and comers” rather than a team that has competed for the conference title the last four seasons. McNeese dropped four of their final five games of 2018 to finish with an overall 6-5 record.
2. James Madison at West Virginia (Saturday, August 31st) | It’s a battle of new head coaches in this one. Curt Cignette takes the helm of the Dukes, after spending the last two seasons at Elon, and Neal Brown is hoping to take the Mountaineers to previously unreached heights.
1. South Dakota at Oklahoma (Saturday, September 7th) | Winners of the Big 12 for the last four consecutive seasons, the Sooners will undoubtedly be tested as they open up against Houston. A week later is a different story though as South Dakota comes to Norman to collect a paycheck. The Coyotes played Kansas State to within a field goal to open the 2018 season before going on to ultimately finish with a 4-7 overall record.
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