Texas makes trip to BYU in top Big 12 game of Week 2

It's a good-news, bad-news situation in the Big 12. In the conference's favor, half of its members are ranked. Working against it, it absorbed two losses to FCS opponents and almost took a third on opening weekend. Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas all shook off sluggish starts for nice wins, so that's a plus. Unfortunately, TCU came up short in a statement game against the SEC, leaving the Big 12 with only one more shot at a truly marquee non-conference win (Oklahoma at Notre Dame on Sept. 28). Add it all up and the Big 12 may well already be on the outside of the BCS title chase looking in.

Here is a look at each of the Big 12 games, which will all be played Saturday, ranked from worst to best:

8. Louisiana-Lafayette at Kansas State, Saturday, Sept. 7 at 6:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: The biggest takeaway from Kansas State's loss to North Dakota State had to be that the Wildcats were not nearly tough enough in the trenches at the critical moments. K-State had a first down at the Bison 30-yard line with a chance to extend the lead in the fourth quarter and managed two negative runs and a sack before punting. North Dakota State then delivered a punishing 8:30 drive for the game-winning touchdown. That needs to change starting this week for K-State to salvage its season.

7. Stephen F. Austin at Texas Tech, Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Net

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: After being suspended for the first half, TE Jace Amaro gave the Red Raiders a boost by catching three passes for 42 yards on their first drive of the third quarter at SMU. Pairing Amaro with WR Eric Ward from the start should make the Texas Tech Air Raid offense even more dynamic in this walkover.

6. Southeastern Louisiana at TCU, Saturday, Sept. 7 at 12 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Net

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: The Horned Frogs did a lot right, including B.J. Catalon's 100-yard kickoff return touchdown, against mighty LSU, but the quarterback play was not sufficient to pull off the upset. Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin should fare much better against the Lions, providing head coach Gary Patterson a chance to settle on his starter.

5. South Dakota at Kansas, Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. ET

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: The overhauled Jayhawks finally take to the field (this is their season opener), but the biggest difference from last season's 1-11 disaster should be quarterback Jake Heaps. If the BYU transfer is at least competent, the Kansas rushing attack led by senior James Sims is powerful enough to cause some scares in Big 12 play.

4. Oklahoma State at Texas-San Antonio, Saturday, Sept. 7 at 12 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: The visit from the Cowboys represents the biggest moment yet for the fledgling Roadrunners, who first fielded a team in 2011 and are now members of Conference USA under former Miami (Fla.) head coach Larry Coker. UTSA QB Eric Soza threw two touchdowns in a comeback win at New Mexico in the opener, but the Oklahoma State defense yielded just 276 yards of offense to Mississippi State after giving up a field goal on the opening drive.

3. Buffalo at Baylor, Saturday, Sept. 7 at 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Net

Rating: 3 stars

The skinny: Buffalo LB Khalil Mack, fresh off a dominant performance at Ohio State, gets to show his stuff against the Bears' balanced spread offense. Baylor's best strategy to minimize Mack's impact might be a steady dose of play-action to try and freeze the redshirt senior and attack down the field with wide receivers Tevin Reese, Antwan Goodley and freshman Robbie Rhodes.

2. West Virginia at Oklahoma, Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. ET, Fox

Rating: 3 stars

The skinny: The spotlight was on Oklahoma QB Trevor Knight in the opener, and he delivered with 103 rushing yards and three passing touchdowns, but the biggest takeaway was the Sooners' revived defense. Oklahoma allowed only 2.7 yards per play against Louisiana-Monroe while adjusting to a new three-man front. The Sooners will need to be stout again as West Virginia is set to feature a heavy dose of RB Charles Sims (120 rushing yards, one touchdown in his Mountaineers' debut last week) as QB Paul Millard and Clint Trickett get up to speed.

1. Texas at BYU, Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Rating: 4 stars

The skinny: Texas deployed its new up-tempo offense for the first time last week against New Mexico State and the results were impressive once the Longhorns finally got out of their own way, finishing with 56 points and a school-record 715 yards of total offense. However, BYU's offense was offensive in its loss at Virginia -- though top wide receiver Cody Hoffman could return after missing the opener with a hamstring injury -- so the onus will be on the defense led by OLB Kyle Van Noy to keep the game close. OT Desmond Harrison, he of the back-and-forth battle over an online class taken through BYU to graduate from junior college, played some snaps in Texas' opener and should see action here.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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