The best week of the season thus far features a long-standing rivalry and another rivalry that is quickly gaining steam after an intense encounter in 2013.
Last week, we kicked off our Big 12's Ultimate Road Trip series. This week, we journey deeper into the 2014 schedule.
To those unfamiliar with this series, we both pick a game featuring a Big 12 team in every week of the season that we’d cover if the travel budget were unlimited and there were no editors telling us where to go.
We’ll be basing our choices on several factors, including the quality of the matchup and the stakes that could be involved. The only restriction is that each of us can pick only one game per week.
Let’s continue with Week 7.
Toledo at Iowa State
West Virginia at Texas Tech
Oklahoma State at Kansas
Texas vs. Oklahoma (in Dallas)
TCU at Baylor
It’s really too bad the TCU-Baylor game falls on the same weekend as the Red River Showdown. That’s a game I really, really, really want to see after TCU coach Gary Patterson last year squared off against coach Art Briles at midfield, then Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon in the post-game press conference. If that weren't enough to generate interest, this would also be a clash of the league’s most explosive offense against arguably its top defense.
But alas, the OU-Texas (to those of you north of the Red River) or Texas-OU game (for those of you to the south) is just too preeminent to pass up. Even though the Longhorns hammered the Sooners last year, Texas’ numerous fiascos in the Cotton Bowl over the years were part of Mack Brown’s ultimate undoing.
How the Longhorns perform in this game will go a long way in setting the tone for the Charlie Strong era among burnt orange nation.
On the other sideline, the Sooners will be out for blood after getting humiliated in Dallas last year. But this will also be an opportunity on the big stage for Oklahoma to show the rest of the country -- and the College Football Playoff committee -- that it is in fact a bona fide national title contender.
Along with the Iron Bowl and Ohio State-Michigan, this remains one of the three best rivalries in all of college football. And it also doesn’t hurt that the State Fair of Texas serves the best corny dogs in all the world.
The Big 12’s top offense faces one of the conference’s top defenses with the backdrop of Briles-Patterson making things even more interesting.
This game is simply too good to pass up.
TCU felt like it gave the game away in its narrow 41-38 loss to the Big 12 champions last season. And the Horned Frogs could be right.
Baylor’s 4.11 yards per play against TCU’s defense was easily its worst output of the 2013 season, and the Horned Frogs’ four turnovers included two interception returns for touchdowns.
If TCU can remove those self-inflected wounds, this could be one of the best games of the 2014 season.
The Bears, meanwhile, won’t take kindly to Patterson’s post-game comments. This rivalry continues to blossom, and one of the best things about the dislike between the two coaches is that both are among the best in the business -- Briles at putting together explosive offenses and Patterson at creating stout defenses.
Add my first trip to Baylor’s brand-new digs at McLane Stadium and this is a win-win in every way for me. National attention may be on the Red River Showdown, but my attention will be focused on the best game of the day in Waco, Texas.
Week 1: Trotter -- SMU at Baylor; Chatmon -- West Virginia vs. Alabama (in Atlanta)
Week 2: Trotter -- Kansas State at Iowa State; Chatmon -- Kansas State at Iowa State
Week 3: Trotter -- Texas vs UCLA (in Arlington); Chatmon -- Tennessee at Oklahoma
Week 4: Trotter -- Auburn at Kansas State; Chatmon -- Auburn at Kansas State
Week 5: Trotter -- Texas Tech at Oklahoma State; Chatmon -- Baylor at Iowa State
Week 6: Trotter -- Baylor at Texas; Chatmon -- Baylor at Texas