These 10 non-conference Big 12 football games aren’t quite as strong as the other top leagues, but there are some killers up top.
10. Pittsburgh at Oklahoma State, Sept. 17
It’s the first ever meeting between the two programs. Oklahoma State has the offense, Pitt has the defense, but the game is in Stillwater – can the Panthers keep up the pace?
9. Texas at California, Sept. 17
Texas gave Jared Goff and the Bears a push in a thrilling one-point loss. There’s no Goff this time around, but the rematch is in Berkeley. The Longhorns get two weeks off after this to prepare for Oklahoma State.
8. Texas Tech at Arizona State, Sept. 10
The last time the world saw Arizona State face a Big 12 team, it was loading up in a Cactus Bowl firefight with West Virginia. The passing stats in this one should be mind-boggling.
7. Iowa State at Iowa, Sept. 10
Matt Campbell gets his first taste of the tough in-state rivalry. Nothing would signal a big new era of great possibilities more than a shocking win over the loaded Hawkeyes. The running game should get going early on.
6. Missouri at West Virginia, Sept. 3
Will the Tigers have the offense to keep up the pace? It’s the first game of the Barry Odom area, but against a dangerous West Virginia offense, the points have to start coming after a rough 2015. The Mountaineers need to make a statement in the home opener.
5. Kansas State at Stanford, Sept. 2
It’s the first ever meeting between the two teams, kicking off just before the weekend gets rolling. Can the Wildcats stop Christian McCaffrey and a depleted Cardinal team? Kansas State might not have the firepower or pop to keep up in a wild game, but it has a defense that should make this a fight.
4. Notre Dame at Texas, Sept. 3
Last year Texas got drilled by the Fighting Irish in an ugly start to a disappointing season. This time around it’s a nationally-televised moment everyone will be paying attention to – it’s about as must-win as an opening week non-conference game can get. This could either be a home loss for Charlie Strong that’ll put the pressure on that much more, or it’ll be the big win that could propel the team into a big first part of the season.
3. Arkansas at TCU, Sept. 10
The former Southwest Conference foes will bring the contrast in styles. Arkansas will keep with its ground and pound, while TCU might still be trying to get the offensive pieces in place to get bombing again. Texas Tech got the job done last year against the Hogs – could it be TCU’s turn?
2. Houston vs. Oklahoma (at NRG Stadium), Sept. 3
C’mon, Oklahoma. They’re trolling you. If Oklahoma is back to College Football playoff good, this is the type of showdown against a rising program that shouldn’t be a problem. It’s a big enough game that a win for the Sooners would be big no matter what.
1. Ohio State at Oklahoma, Sept. 17
The Sooners will have already played Houston and have the Big 12 opener against TCU coming up next followed up by the rivalry date against Texas. Even so, this will be the one big moment to show just how good the team really is. It’s as close to a College Football Playoff game in September as it gets.