The Big 12 stood at the center of the national spotlight in Week 3 — and did not disappoint. The most praiseworthy victory came when Texas dominated the 22nd-ranked USC Trojans 37-14. Other notable performances came from Oklahoma and TCU. The Sooners defeated Iowa State to remain undefeated and secure their position as one of the top five teams in the nation, while TCU surprised college football fans across the nation as they gave No. 2 Ohio State a serious run for their money. With the third week of college football in the books, conference play begins and things should heat up as teams start to make their push at a Big 12 conference title.
Must Watch Games — Week 4
Texas vs. TCU (17)
With both teams sitting at 2-1 and coming off their most difficult games of the season, this matchup between the Horned Frogs and the Longhorns should be one to remember. Texas will be energized from their most exciting victory in the past two years after defeating No. 22 USC in convincing fashion, while the TCU will be looking to get back on their feet after falling short in a hard fought game versus the Ohio State Buckeyes. Texas looked sharp on both sides of the ball as they scored 37 points and only allowed two touchdowns, both of which came in the first quarter. TCU on the other hand found themselves slightly over matched by Ohio State, and could not recover from their mistakes on the offensive side of the ball. This Texas showdown should be full of exciting plays and jaw dropping moments. Both teams have proven their ability to cause havoc on the defensive side of the ball, and with the Longhorns finding their groove on offense, there is no telling what types of acrobatic plays will be made by the athletes on each team.
Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State (15)
This Week 4 matchup between the Cowboys and the Red Raiders should be one to light up the scoreboard. Oklahoma is one of only three teams in the Big 12 that remain undefeated, plus they have scored 157 total points in their first three games of the season. Texas Tech will enter into Week 4 with a 2-1 record, but has actually outscored the Cowboys with 167 total points so far this season. Oklahoma State is considerably the more complete team with the help of RB Justice Hill, who has eclipsed 100 yards rushing twice this season and has found the end zone four times. Texas Tech on the other hand has proven to be largely one dimensional as freshman QB Alan Bowman threw the football 59 times on his way to a record breaking 600 yard passing performance with six touchdowns against the University of Houston. If you love fast-paced shootouts, you won’t want to miss this one.
Kansas State vs. West Virginia (12)
The final Big 12 game to catch this weekend is No. 12 West Virginia (and Heisman hopeful Will Grier) versus Kansas State. The 12th-ranked Mountaineers will head into their first Big 12 matchup with a 2-0 record after their Week 3 game against NC State was canceled due to Hurricane Florence. While West Virginia remains undefeated, there are concerns that the cancelation of the NC State game could have potential implications on their chances of making the college football playoffs. What this means for West Virginia going forward is that if they do not win the remainder of their games in convincing fashion, they could be forced out of National Championship contention. Luckily, the Mountaineers have just the man to help accomplish this feat in QB Grier, who has thrown for 761 yards and nine touchdowns already this season.
Big 12 Players to Watch — Week 4
Oklahoma State RB Justice Hill
Yes, there is no doubt that the game between Oklahoma State and Texas Tech will be an offensive shootout through the air, but the difference maker in this game could be Cowboys running back Justice Hill. Through three games Hill has racked up 277 yards and four touchdowns, which is even more impressive considering the fact that he has averaged 8.1 yards per attempt. If coach Mike Gunday can find a good balance on offense and spread out the Red Raider defense, Hill will take advantage of wide-open running lanes all game long.
TCU WR’s Jalen Reagor & KaVontae Turpin
The biggest matchup of the weekend in the Big 12 will without a doubt be 17th-ranked TCU facing UT. Both teams have shown major potential to control games on both sides of the ball and the ability to make highlight plays at any moment. For TCU, there are two players that I believe could cause serious issues for a young Longhorn secondary. Wide receivers Jalen Reagor and KaVontae Turpin have combined for 321 yards and have led the TCU receiving corps in receptions in every game so far this season. The duo will be facing off against a Texas secondary that has shown moments of susceptibility to big plays through the air. Not to mention the Longhorn defense will be without starting Safety BJ Foster for the first half of the game after he was ejected for targeting against. USC, and possibly without starting cornerback Davante Davis who left last weekend’s game with an apparent ankle injury. Look for coach Gary Patterson to find a way to get these two speedsters involved often and early.
Texas QB Sam Ehlinger
The final player to keep your eye on in this first week of Big 12 conference play is Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger. While Ehlinger has had two efficient performances in a row since the Longhorns' Week 1 loss to Maryland, the young quarterback seemed to find his confidence last weekend versus USC. Ehlinger showed trust in his big play wide receivers and his arm strength by taking multiple shots down field. Ehlinger will be going for his fourth straight 200 yard passing game, and in all honesty is growing into his pressure filled role as the end all be all factor for the Longhorns.
This story originally appeared on SportsMap.