Making a statement: After both co-champs (TCU, Baylor) were omitted from last year’s College Football Playoff bracket, Big 12 teams need to boost the stock of this year’s champ by winning their highest-profile nonconference games. Included are 14 intersectional matchups against bowl teams from last season, with four this week (TCU at Minnesota; Texas at Notre Dame; Oklahoma State at Central Michigan; Akron at Oklahoma).
Avoiding FCS hiccup: Enhancing the league’s national reputation means avoiding a recent trend of losses to FCS opponents on opening weekend. It’s happened three times in the past two seasons: North Dakota State over both Iowa State (2014) and Kansas State (2013), as well as Northern Iowa over Iowa State in 2013. Kansas also fell to North Dakota State 6-3 to open its 2010 season. There are four matchups this week against FCS foes.
Boykin campaign begins: TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin begins pursuit of the Heisman Trophy on Thursday against Minnesota (8 p.m., ESPN). Boykin, fourth in last season’s voting after accounting for 4,608 yards and 41 TDs, has been installed by Bovada Sports Book as the 5-1 co-favorite, along with Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, in this year’s race.