Matt Rhule certainly didn’t get the jump-start his program wanted when Liberty pulled off a 48-45 stunner over Baylor in last weekend’s season opener at McLane Stadium.
Rhule was furious over Baylor’s uninspired performance and doesn’t expect a repeat.
Next up is a UTSA team that will play its season opener against the Bears after last weekend’s game in San Antonio was postponed by University of Houston’s request due to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
The road will get much tougher from this point, beginning with a Sept. 16 date at Duke, so Baylor needs a win in the worst way.
UTSA (+17) at Baylor
With Anu Solomon earning the starting quarterback job, Baylor’s offense rolled up 532 yards against Liberty.
Baylor’s problem was a defense that allowed 585 total yards and put very little pressure on Liberty quarterback Stephen Calvert, who threw for 447 yards and three touchdowns.
UTSA quarterback Dalton Sturm will present problems after passing for 2,170 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushing for 313 yards and four scores last season.
The Roadrunners also have a solid defense led by lineman Marcus Davenport, who collected 6½ sacks last year.
But expect the Bears to play with a great deal more emotion and win their first game of the season.
Baylor 35, UTSA 24
San Jose State (+26) at Texas
It didn’t take long for Texas fans to go sour of first-year coach Tom Herman following last weekend’s 51-41 loss to Maryland in Austin.
The Longhorns expected a much better debut and will likely take it out on a San Jose State team that rebounded from a 42-22 season-opening loss to USF by beating Cal Poly, 34-13.
But a Longhorns win won’t put them back in the Top 25 no matter how lopsided. Voters learned this Texas team isn’t worthy of a ranking.
Texas 42, San Jose State 14
No. 23 TCU (-3) at Arkansas
With Texas, Baylor and Texas A&M losing last week, TCU salvaged a little bit of the Lone Star State’s football dignity, even if it was a 63-0 win over outmanned Jackson State.
Arkansas will give the Horned Frogs a much truer test of where they stand. The Hogs’ 49-7 season opening win was highlighted by a 120-yard rushing performance by Hayden Chase and a good defensive showing.
TCU’s Kenny Hill must prove he’s a consistent quarterback, and Saturday’s date in Fayetteville is a good place to start.
TCU 28, Arkansas 21
Iowa (-2.5) at Iowa St.
The Cyclones showed some offensive explosiveness as Jacob Park threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s 42-24 win over Northern Iowa.
Iowa State’s defense also produced some good signs by intercepting three passes and recording a pair of sacks.
Iowa is coming off a 24-3 season opening win over Wyoming behind a strong defense that allowed just 233 yards. But the Hawkeyes won’t have enough offense to beat the Cyclones in Ames.
Iowa State 27, Iowa 24
No. 5 Oklahoma (+7) at No. 2 Ohio State
This is college football’s game of the week, as the Sooners try to avenge last year’s loss to the Buckeyes in Norman.
The Lincoln Riley era got off to a good start as Oklahoma steamrollered UTEP, 56-7. Baker Mayfield was near perfect as he hit 19 of 20 passes for 329 yards and three scores.
Indiana stayed with Ohio State for three quarters before the Buckeyes pulled away for a 49-21 win. Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett has been around so long that it seems like he should be coaching this team, not playing for it.
The Big 12 really needs a significant win, but it’s hard to see the Sooners pulling it off in Columbus.
Ohio State 35, Oklahoma 24
Last week: 2-3 overall, 2-3 against the line