These are the 10 biggest Big 12 football games that’ll define the championship chase for the 2016 season.
10. TCU at Texas, Nov. 24
Just when it seemed like Texas was about to be okay, it got whacked around by TCU in an ugly 50-7 loss. In the last two seasons, the Horned Frogs have won by a combined score of 98 to 17.
9. Baylor at Texas, Oct. 29
It turned out to be the Texas bowl game. Baylor didn’t have any healthy-bodied top quarterback options available, but it was still supposed to win at home against the Longhorns. This time it’s a road sandwich game between road trips to Kansas State and Texas Tech. The Bears should be well-rested after getting two weeks off following the Kansas free space.
8. Oklahoma State at TCU, Nov. 19
Will the Cowboys be in one piece? It’s late in the year, and this is the second of three road games in the final four dates, and they still have to go to Oklahoma a few weeks later. This is a sandwich game for TCU between road dates at Baylor and Texas, but it gets two weeks off to prepare.
7. Oklahoma State at Baylor, Sept. 24
It’s the Big 12 opener for both teams, and it could be the biggest and best shootout of the conference season. Baylor is guaranteed to be 3-0, while Oklahoma State will have two good battles against Central Michigan – yes, Central Michigan – and Pitt.
6. Texas at Oklahoma State, Oct. 1
The Cowboys have to take care of their home games early on with many of the key conference road dates coming in the final month. They get the Longhorns right after a road game at Baylor – they need this. Texas gets two weeks to prepare for its Big 12 opener.
5. Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, Dec. 3
It’s the regular season finale for both teams, and it could turn out to be like a Big 12 championship game if both offenses perform all season as expected. The Cowboys are finishing up the year with three road games in the last four, while OU gets two weeks to prepare after going to West Virginia.
4. Oklahoma vs. Texas (in Dallas), Oct. 8
How’s this for a first part of the season? Oklahoma has to play Houston and TCU on the road, and Ohio State at home in the first four games before trying to gear it up for the revenge date rivalry against Texas. Charlie Strong and the Longhorns pulled off the shocker last year – now do it again.
3. Oklahoma at TCU, Oct. 1
Last year Oklahoma was able to slip past the Horned Frogs in a 30-29 thriller. The last four games have been close, with the Sooners going 4-1 in the last five games since the 2005 opener. The Horned Frogs get an extra day to prepare after dealing with SMU on a Friday, but the Sooners get two weeks to rest up for their Big 12 opener after hosting Ohio State.
2. TCU at Baylor, Nov. 5
How good has this rivalry become? Just 90 miles apart, this is turning into one of the new Big 12 big things, especially after playing a massive role in the 2014 College Football Playoff race. The last three games have each been decided by just one score, and they’ve all been terrific.
1. Baylor at Oklahoma, Nov. 12
The two teams have only faced each other 24 times, with last year’s 44-34 Oklahoma win turning into one of the keys to the Big 12 season. This year’s matchup should be even bigger if both teams have healthy quarterbacks by mid-November – that wasn’t the case last season.