August 30, 2017

Some things to watch in the Big 12 Conference the first weekend of this season:

GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 22 West Virginia vs. No. 21 Virginia Tech, Sunday, at Landover, Maryland. The border rivals meet for the first time since 2005. West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen likes starting the season against a Power Five team from another league, and is excited about the renewal of the rivalry. Former Florida quarterback and preseason Big 12 newcomer of the year Will Grier makes his debut for WVU, which leads the series 28-21-1. The Mountaineers also have running back Justin Crawford, the Big 12's top returning rusher.

BEST MATCHUP

Texas coach Tom Herman vs. Maryland coach DJ Durkin. The 23rd-ranked Longhorns , coming off three consecutive losing seasons, make their debut under Herman, a 22-game winner the past two seasons at Houston after a national title as offensive coordinator at Ohio State. Durkin also had assistant roles at Power Five schools before becoming a head coach. The Terrapins, who last played Texas in the 1978 Sun Bowl, doubled their win total to six games last year in Durkin's first season.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder's 202 career wins are the most by an active coach at his current school. Snyder is starting his 26th season with the 20th-ranked Wildcats. Gary Patterson, TCU's 17th-year head coach, is second on that list with 149 wins. ... No. 10 Oklahoma State, which hosts Tulsa on Thursday night, has won 21 consecutive home openers. ... Baylor's assistant coaches have 37 combined years of NFL experience, the most in college football. The Bears play their first game under coach Matt Rhule when they host Liberty.

LONG SHOT

No. 7 Oklahoma is unlikely to lose a season opener for the second year in a row. The Sooners, who lost 33-23 to Houston to start last season, play their first game since 1998 without coach Bob Stoops and are favored more than six touchdowns in coach Lincoln Riley's debut . They are home against UTEP, opening its 100th season.

PLAYER TO WATCH

After starting 14 games as Iowa State's quarterback the past two years, Joel Lanning goes into his senior season as a starting linebacker . But the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Lanning will likely still see some time on offense, especially in wildcat formations. While not saying how much that would be, coach Matt Campbell said the Cyclones ''would be foolish not to use his skill set on offense and certainly his ability to help us offensively when needed.'' Iowa State opens at home against Northern Iowa.

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Compiled by AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins in Fort Worth, Texas

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