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Kansas State vs. Texas top Big 12 game of Week 4


Charlie Riedel / Associated Press
Kansas State QB Daniel Sams takes on the Longhorns' struggling run defense.

Everyone knows the old joke about terrible food and such small portions. Fortunately, the Big 12 isn't taking that mentality to heart, paring down a mediocre slate of games on a largely forgettable weekend across college football. That means once again all eyes will be on besieged head coach Mack Brown and Texas, which opens Big 12 play against nemesis Kansas State.

Here is a look at all of this weekend's games involving Big 12 teams, ranked in order of worst game to best:

5. Texas State at Texas Tech, Saturday, at 6 p.m. ET

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: First-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury has his alma mater ranked in the top 25 after a wild Thursday-night win over TCU. Credit for Texas Tech's strong start should go to a surprisingly stout defense, anchored by defensive end Kerry Hyder, which is allowing just 15.3 points per game. Looking at the schedule, the Red Raiders should be 7-0 headed to Oklahoma in late October.

4. Louisiana Tech at Kansas, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: The Kansas passing offense isn't the tire fire of last season, but it still has a long way to go to escape the Big 12 cellar. Quarterback Jake Heaps has not been getting much help from his wide receivers, with a rash of dropped passes through two games. With Louisiana Tech suffering a power drain minus head coach Sonny Dykes, averaging just 18.7 points per game, this is going to be a low-scoring affair in which Jayhawks running back James Sims should control the tempo.

3. Louisiana-Monroe at Baylor, Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

Rating: 1.5 stars

The skinny: Baylor has played nothing but cupcakes to start the season but is putting them away with ease, to its credit. The Bears lead the FBS in scoring offense and total offense and are second in points allowed. With a backloaded schedule, it will be a while before we figure out where Baylor really fits in the Big 12 title race, but tune in for the first half to watch quarterback Bryce Petty, running back Lache Seastrunk and wide receiver Tevin Reese put up more ridiculous numbers.

2. West Virginia vs. Maryland (at Baltimore), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Rating: 2 stars

The skinny: Maryland sophomore wide receiver Stefon Diggs (16 receptions for 387 yards and three touchdowns) represents the true test of how much progress the Mountaineers defense has made since 2012's meltdown. West Virginia allowed Diggs to get free for 113 receiving yards and two touchdowns on only three catches in last season's meeting but has only allowed an average of 136.7 yards through the air through three games this year. Safeties Darwin Cook and Kris Joseph will have to be aware of where Diggs is at all times to assist the young WVU corners.

1. Kansas State at Texas, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC

Rating: 3 stars

The skinny: Texas can't stop the quarterback run, the specialty of Kansas State redshirt sophomore signal-caller Daniel Sams. If Sams and running back John Hubert can use the zone-read to embarrass the Longhorns once again, it could mark the end for Mack Brown. To avoid that, Texas will need a steady ball-control offense that features running backs Johnathan Gray, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron to shorten the game and pray its defense can make a tackle or create a third-and-long so pass-rush specialist Jackson Jeffcoat can do what he does best. Of course, with all the focus on the ground game, a couple of play-action shots for Kansas State wide receivers Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson could be just as damaging.

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