Here we go, West Virginia, a new life in the Big 12. Baylor arrives in Morgantown as the first conference opponent, and the league has arranged what should be an entertaining matchup. The teams have combined to average 98.6 points per game, and they rank eighth and 10th in total defense in the league. Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith is getting plenty of early Heisman attention. In three games, he’s thrown 12 touchdowns, no interceptions and 22 incomplete passes in a 118 attempts. Plus, Smith has terrific targets in Tavon Austin and Tevin Reese.
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
• Missouri at Central Florida, 11 a.m. FSN: Whom will Blaine Gabbert cheer for? He was Missouri’s starting quarterback for two years, but his brother Tyler is a reserve quarterback for the Knights. Tyler Gabbert spent a year in Columbia, but when James Franklin was selected as the starter after the 2011 spring practice, Tyler looked for another school. He spent a few days at Louisville before winding up at Central Florida. He’s one of three former Big 12 quarterbacks in Conference USA along with Tulsa’s Cody Green, who started at Nebraska, and Garrett Gilbert, formerly of Texas. Green and Gilbert start.
• Arkansas at Texas A& M, 11:21 a.m. Channel 62: With a visit from the Razorbacks and a trip to Mississippi next, the Aggies have a nice chance to rebound in SEC play after falling to Florida in their opener. Johnny Manziel is off to a nice start as A&M’s quarterback. He and Alabama’s A.J. McCarron are the only SEC starting quarterbacks who haven’t thrown an interception this season. How about the game by Arkansas wide receiver Cobi Hamilton last week? Ten receptions, three touchdowns, 303 yards in the loss to Rutgers.
• Tennessee at Georgia, 2:30 p.m. Channel 5: It will be fun to see how much pressure Georgia pass-rusher-supreme Jarvis Jones can get on the quarterback Tyler Bray and the Tennessee passing game. Bray leads the SEC with 12 touchdown passes. He’ll have to deal with Bulldogs safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree, who are expected back from four-game suspensions.
• South Carolina at Kentucky, 6 p.m. ESPN/ESPN2: The Gamecocks look to avoid a letdown in a game they should win easily. South Carolina won this game 54-3 in Columbia last season. Quarterback Connor Shaw missed his first pass against Missouri on Saturday but hit his final 20. Kentucky quarterback Maxwell Smith expects to play after missing last week’s 38-0 loss at Florida because of a separated shoulder.
• Towson at LSU, 6 p.m. ESPNU: Towson does some nice things, like pass defense. It leads Division I-AA, allowing only 107 yards per game. But LSU should be able to name that score. Towson lost to Kent State by 20. Kentucky beat Kent State by 33, and Kentucky is the SEC’s worst team.
• Mississippi at Alabama, 8:15 p.m. ESPN/ESPN2: The Rebels, at 3-1, have already surpassed last year’s victory total. But the schedule now gets ferocious. Alabama beat Florida Atlantic last week 40-7, missing a third straight shutout. The Tide has surrendered only three touchdowns in four games.
• Baylor at West Virginia, 11 a.m. FX:The Bears are off to a fine start, and quarterback Nick Florence has maintained the high-power offensive standard set by Robert Griffin III over the last few seasons. Florence averages 335 passing yards per game, ranking second to the Mountaineers’ Smith (357) and has 11 touchdown passes with four interceptions. The question is: Can the Bears’ defense get a few stops?
• TCU at SMU, 6 p.m. FSN: Frogs coach Garry Patterson says the Mustangs amp it up for this one. He’s probably right, but after SMU pulled off the stunner last season, his Frogs better bring a good attitude to Dallas. One area that needs fixing: red-zone turnovers. They’ve turned it over six times in the red zone in their previous two victories, over Kansas and Virginia.
• Texas Tech at Iowa State, 6 p.m. FCS: The Red Raiders lead the nation in total defense. Can this be right? Sure enough. But Tech has struggled against the Cyclones each of the last two seasons, losing by a combined 93-45.
• Texas at Oklahoma State, 6:50 p.m. Fox: +The Cowboys’ + Wes Lunt is listed as a co-starter with J.W. Walsh, but Lunt’s knee was immobilized as late as Monday. It’s difficult to see him going, especially with Walsh playing as well as did against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Cowboys have defeated Texas in each of the last two seasons in Austin, but the Longhorns have won six straight in Stillwater.