Things to watch during the opening weekend in the Big 12 Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 17 TCU vs. Colorado. The Horned Frogs finally get back on the field nearly eight months after their lopsided loss to Georgia in the College Football Playoff national championship game while Colorado will play its first game for new coach Deion Sanders. The completely revamped Buffaloes, who next season return from the Pac-12 to the Big 12, won just one game last year. But there are 87 newcomers and only nine returning scholarship players for Sanders' coaching debut in the Power Five.
Chandler Morris again goes into the season as TCU's starting quarterback, like last year when he started the opener at Colorado before getting hurt in the second half. Max Duggan took over and was the Heisman Trophy runner-up. New Buffs starting quarterback Shedeur Sanders came with his dad from Jackson State after throwing for 6,983 yards and 70 TDs the past two seasons.
Big 12 newcomer Houston, bringing coach Dana Holgorsen back into the conference, opens against UTSA for the second year in a row. Then-No. 24 Houston won in triple overtime last year. The Roadrunners have switched from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference, the league Houston just left. UTSA has seventh-year QB Frank Harris, who accounted for 400 total yards (337 passing, 63 rushing) and four TDs vs. Houston last year. Four-year Cougars quarterback Clayton Tune is gone. Holgorsen was West Virginia's coach for its move into the Big 12 in 2012.
Houston and the other three teams making their Big 12 debuts this season open at home: UCF (vs. Kent State) on Thursday, then Cincinnati (vs. Eastern Kentucky) and BYU (vs. Sam Houston) on Saturday. ... This also marks the final Big 12 season for 11th-ranked Texas and No. 20 Oklahoma before they go to the Southeastern Conference. The Sooners, 99-23-6 in season openers, are home against Arkansas State. The Longhorns will go for their 16th consecutive win over Rice, and 44th in 45 meetings since 1965.
Junior QB Jalon Daniels, the preseason Big 12 offensive player of the year, had Kansas off to a 5-0 start last season and in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2009 before he hurt his shoulder and missed four games. He returned late for the Jayhawks, throwing for 544 yards and five TDs in their triple-overtime loss to Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl. He dealt with some back tightness in camp, but is expected to be ready Friday against Missouri State.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
With coach Neal Brown on the hot seat going into his fifth season, West Virginia opens at seventh-ranked Penn State. It’s the first meeting since 1992 for the schools that are only about 180 miles apart. The Mountaineers won three in a row from 1953-55, but are 2-34-1 since against the Nittany Lions. ... Oklahoma State has won its last 27 home openers, the longest streak in school history. Only Florida with 33 in a row has a longer active FBS streak. The Cowboys host FCS team Central Arkansas. ... Baylor finished 2022 with a four-game losing streak, but is 9-0 in its series against Texas State. ... No. 16 Kansas State, the defending Big 12 champion, has a national-best 129 non-offensive touchdowns since 1999.