The Big 12 REPORT
A weekly look at all things Big 12 as the college football season begins
College football is back and so are your favorite Big 12 teams. As we look ahead to week 1 of the 2018 college football season, there are plenty of things to highlight and catch up on. In this article I will preview some of the key matchups to watch in week 1, and what Big 12 players you should keep your eye on.
Must Watch Games Week 1: (BIG Story/Games of the week)
Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss
The first game I want to highlight is the matchup between Texas Tech University and the University of Ole Miss. This game will arguably be one of the most exciting and nationally recognized games that includes a Big 12 team in week 1. Look for this game to hold a lot of offensive excitement, as neither of the teams are known for their defensive ability. Also, a lot of controversy has been made of the perceived stability of Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s job heading into 2018. Many believe this season will be his last opportunity for Kliff Kingsbury to establish Tech as a true contender not only in the Big 12 but on the national stage as well.
Texas vs. Maryland
The second game that I believe should draw considerable attention is the University of Texas vs. the University of Maryland. This matchup will be a rematch from the 2017 season where Texas suffered a heartbreaking fourth quarter loss that diminished the early excitement around UT’s 2017 season, after three subpar years under head coach Charlie Strong. Eyes will be on this game for two reasons, the first being Tom Herman’s second season as the head coach of the University of Texas after a promising offseason full of exciting player development and high profile recruiting. The second reason will be due to the controversial offseason of the Maryland coaching staff after having a player die during off-season training and allegations of player abuse and mistreatment surrounded the program. Keep an eye on this game to see if Texas can come out of the gates hot for 2018 and show the country that the program is one step closer to returning to its former glory.
Oklahoma vs. FAU
The final game I recommend tuning into will be the University of Oklahoma vs. Florida Atlantic University. The 2018 OU team will not only be carry big preseason expectations from the national media, but they will also be trying to fill the shoes of a high achieving 2017 squad that made the playoffs on the backs of former quarterback and Heisman winner Baker Mayfield. Oklahoma’s new look team led by second-year head coach Lincoln Riley and new quarterback Kyler Murray, will face off against a sneaky FAU team who was revitalized in 2017 by the hiring of former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. Kiffin has loaded the FAU roster with talented athletes who have the potential to steal an early season victory away from a new and unproven Oklahoma team.
Big 12 players to watch week 1:
West Virginia QB Will Grier & WR David Sills
When it comes to the players to watch heading into this first jam packed week of college football, all eyes will be on the country's arguably most dangerous QB & WR duo at the University of West Virginia. Senior quarterback Will Grier has received high praise all off-season and is expected to compete for the title of top QB in college football for the 2018 season. To help him meet those lofty expectations will be Senior wide receiver David Sills who burst onto the scene in 2017 after hauling in 18 touchdowns and finishing the season just shy of 1,000 yards receiving. This tandem will demand attention all season but their week 1 matchup against Tennessee will have the country watching to see if they can live up to the hype.
Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray & RB Rodney Anderson
Another Big 12 backfield duo to watch week 1 will be Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray (QB) and Rodney Anderson (RB). Murray has received most of the attention this off-season as he will be stepping into the starting quarterback role with big shoes to fill, left behind by Mayfield. Murray has not seen much of the field since his dominant high school days at Texas high school football powerhouse, Allen High School, where he won three straight state championships and finished with a record of 42-0. Murray will look at Week 1 as an opportunity to quiet the skeptics and prove that his abilities translate to the major college level. Luckily for Murray he will have Anderson beside him in the backfield, who rushed for over 1,000 yards and collected 18 total touchdowns in 2017. Anderson will be the perfect running mate for Murray and should relieve a ton of pressure as defenses will have to respect his game breaking ability.
Texas QB Sam Ehlinger
The final Big 12 player that I believe deserves some extra attention in Week 1 is Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger. In 2017, Ehlinger brought hope back to the fallen Texas program, and produced flashes of potential stardom that could quicken the resurrection of the Texas football dynasty. Week 1 for this young quarterback will be a chance for Texas fans and the country to see the product of his off-season development, and a chance for Ehlinger to solidify himself as THE starting quarterback of the present and the future.