A couple of weeks ago, it was same old, same old at Arkansas. The Razorbacks couldn’t handle Auburn in the second half of the opening game, when the Tigers’ suspended starting quarterback, Nick Marshall, returned.
The Big 12 and SEC have four regular-season matchups this season, and two are this weekend when Tennessee visits Oklahoma and Arkansas goes to Texas Tech. Next week, Auburn travels to Kansas State. The conferences were almost evenly matched for the first decade or so of the Big 12’s existence, but the SEC has dominated since then.
The Big 12 attempts to put its best foot forward this week when its college football teams take on seven opponents from the four other power conferences. The league hopes to avoid the same fate as the Big Ten, which lost its high profile games last weekend.
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Some encouraging results like the narrow losses by Oklahoma State and West Virginia against the nation’s top two ranked teams, Florida State and Alabama, provided an upbeat opening weekend in the Big 12. The cold water came Monday with injury reports. Texas lost center Dom Espinosa for the season and quarterback David Ash for at least this week’s game against Brigham Young. Iowa State lost its top wide receiver, Quenton Bundrage, for the season.
Iowa State, which dropped their opener last year to a lower-level team and went on to a 3-9 season, takes on three-time defending Football Championship Subdivision champion North Dakota State on opening week in the Big 12. In the SEC, four teams play Thursday night.
Junior Liana Salazar and senior Ali Kimura took different paths to Kansas. But they have both been critical in the rise of the KU women’s soccer team to the best start in school history. The Jayhawks, 8-0, are ranked 16th in the latest soccer coaches’ poll, and will attempt to stay perfect at Marquette, 2-5-1, on Friday.
Auburn will be without its most experienced defensive back when it takes on Kansas State. Jermaine Whitehead, a senior with 12 tackles and two interceptions in the Tigers’ first two games, did not travel with the team to Manhattan, according to multiple reports.
Kansas State plays host to its biggest nonconference college football game in years Thursday when the No. 5 Auburn Tigers take on the No. 20 Wildcats. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. and the game will air on ESPN.
Kansas State heavily recruited Nick Marshall, Auburn’s quarterback from Garden City Community College. The Wildcats and Tigers face off Thursday night in Manhattan, Kan. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. and the game will air on ESPN.