Big 12

This week’s Big 12 predictions: TCU, Baylor should start quickly in playoff quest

TCU smothered Minnesota last season but lost its top two tacklers to graduation.
TCU smothered Minnesota last season but lost its top two tacklers to graduation. Star-Telegram

Burch’s Picks

No. 2 TCU 45, Minnesota 28 (8 p.m. Thursday, ESPN): Stellar offense rescues young defense that shows some growing pains.

Oklahoma State 41, Central Michigan 20 (6 p.m. Thursday, ESPNU): Cowboys remind pollsters that they are eligible, even worthy, of votes next week if enough Top 25 teams stumble in their openers.

No. 4 Baylor 52, SMU 10 (6 p.m. Friday, ESPN): Bears click on both sides of the ball with new QB, veteran defense making statements.

No. 11 Notre Dame 31, Texas 17 (6:30 p.m. Saturday, KXAS/Ch. 5): Longhorns receive yet another reminder about how much they must improve to regain their top-10 status from yesteryear.

Texas Tech 48, Sam Houston State 34 (2:30 p.m. Saturday, FSSW): Red Raiders find the right side of the W-L ledger against a pesky FCS foe.

No. 19 Oklahoma 49, Akron 21 (6 p.m. Saturday, FSN PPV): New offense hums in its debut under first-year coordinator Lincoln Riley.

Kansas State 38, South Dakota 16 (6 p.m. Saturday): Wildcats start season in typical fashion, defeating overmatched FCS opponent without showing any creative offensive wrinkles.

Kansas 28, South Dakota State 26 (11 a.m. Saturday, FSSW): Jayhawks barely avoid recent trend of Big 12 teams losing openers to FCS foes.

Northern Iowa 23, Iowa State 21 (7 p.m. Saturday): Cyclones start a third consecutive season with loss to an FCS school, hardly the way to rally a fan base.

West Virginia 31, Georgia Southern 14 (6:30 p.m. Saturday, FSSW Plus): Mountaineers’ defense lives up to its “much-improved” proclamations against underappreciated foe in opener. But tougher tasks remain.

Last season: 63-12

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