Editor's note: Every Friday, we'll use this space to tell you about the college football game you absolutely need to watch that weekend, even if it's flying under the radar. It might not always be the matchup of the two best teams, but it will definitely be the most entertaining contest. Because fun is what college football is all about, right?
The SEC might be the best division this year, but the race for the Big 12 championship promises to be just as exciting. Not because there are a lot of teams who can win the league this year—Oklahoma, TCU, and Baylor are really the only teams that have a chance—but because there are a lot of teams with enough talent to upset the contenders in any given week.
This week, we get the first of those games, with TCU at Texas Tech. Tech went bowl-less last season, and were supposed to struggle once again this year. But now the Red Raiders are 3-0, with an impressive road win over Arkansas. They also rode their air raid offense to a 69-20 win over a UTEP team that is no slouch.
Does Texas Tech have what it takes to win the Big 12? Almost assuredly not. The defense is better, but it's still far too inconsistent to lead this team to a win, week in and week out. However, this team might be in the perfect position to upset No. 3 TCU.
TCU had a dream season last year, barely missing out on the College Football Playoff with an 11-1 record, and stomping Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl as a consolation prize. With most of its offense returning, this team was a popular preseason pick to make the Playoff in 2015. However, the Horned Frogs had some flaws below the surface. With almost no injuries and some wins in close games, the computers didn't like TCU as much as the polls, and a top five spot seemed a bit high heading into the season.
So far, TCU hasn't looked the part of a top five team, struggling against both Minnesota and SMU. The SMU game is key. The Mustangs hung 37 points on the Horned Frogs, and Texas Tech is pretty much a better version of SMU, with its air raid offense. The TCU defense isn't what it used to be, and this matchup has all the makings of an upset.
Lots of points and the possibility of the No. 3 team losing? I'll be watching for sure.
Three other games to watch
BYU at Michigan
I pick a BYU game every week, it seems, but the Cougars have played the toughest schedule in college football to date, and they almost always play an entertaining game, winning on Hail Marys against Nebraska and Boise State, and losing on the final drive to UCLA. The Cougars are legit. Michigan? We don't really know yet. The Wolverines have a good defense, but the offense has been atrocious, even in wins against Oregon State and UNLV. Can Michigan get its first big win under Jim Harbaugh? The Wolverines are favored, but BYU is a lot better than it might seem.
No. 18 Utah at No. 13 Oregon
It's tough to know what to make of either of these teams. Utah has a win over Michigan, but it struggled with Utah State and (sort of) with Fresno State. Oregon's defense looks like the worst it has had in years, but the Ducks nearly knocked off Michigan State in East Lansing. Both teams have quarterback controversies, with starting quarterbacks that are a little banged up and backups that are just fine and could start at many other schools. The winner of this game will be for real in the Pac-12. The loser might look a bit overrated.
Kansas at Rutgers
No seriously! I really want to watch this game! Sometimes I think of hilarious matchups that I really want to see due solely to the futility of both teams, and this would top the list. This will be #funbad to the max. Rutgers' program is a tire fire. Kansas is probably the worst team in the power conferences. It will be a shit show and it will be hilarious. Be sure to watch!
Best game you already know to watch
No. 9 UCLA at No. 16 Arizona
UCLA is probably the best team in the Pac-12 South, but this might be the Bruins' toughest test of the season. Arizona doesn't have the talent that UCLA, USC, or even Arizona State have, but quarterback Anu Solomon is the real deal, and the Wildcats won the division last season. The problem? We have absolutely no idea if this team is any good this season, since so far it's played UTSA, Northern Arizona, and Nevada. We'll learn a lot about the Wildcats—and the Bruins, with freshman quarterback Josh Rosen—in this one.
Don't feel bad about skipping it
Mississippi State at Auburn
But it's an SEC West game! That's true, but neither team appears to be that good. Mississippi State is fine, and quarterback Dak Prescott is solid, but the Bulldogs have a big talent disadvantage in their division. Auburn, meanwhile, is an absolute mess. The Tigers were on the losing end of the running performance of the century last week, and they benched their short-lived Heisman candidate, quarterback Jeremy Johnson. This game could be all sorts of ugly between two mediocre teams.