The Big 12 isn’t the best conference in college football but it sure is one of the most entertaining.
Baylor-TCU might have been the best game of the year regardless of conference. Oklahoma-TCU wasn’t far behind. Both the Bedlam Series and the Red River Shootout were extremely heated. And any game played in Morgantown felt like it ended in thrilling fashion.
Because everyone plays everyone, the Big 12 is guaranteed another collection of instant classics in 2015.
Here is what you need to know about the Big 12’s football schedules this fall:
Biggest Games of the Year:
1. Baylor at TCU (Nov. 27)
High-powered, high-scoring throwdown decided the Big 12 championship last year. This tilt shouldn’t be any less important in 2015.
2. TCU at Oklahoma (Nov. 21)
The Sooners — more specifically Trevor Knight — will be looking for revenge after losing a thriller off a pick-six last fall. This one could decide the Big 12 title.
The Red River Shootout (I refuse) is always one of the biggest games of the year regardless of conference. Especially, with both teams likely picked in the upper half of the league.
4. Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (Nov. 28)
Who could forget how the Bedlam Series ended last year. With both programs eyes a run at a Big 12 title, this rivalry could carry serious weight in ’15.
5. Baylor at Oklahoma State (Nov. 21)
To win a title, the Bears may have to do something they haven’t done since 1939 — win in Stillwater. And on the season’s penultimate weekend, nonetheless.
Toughest Road Slate:
Not only does West Virginia have to travel the farthest of any Big 12 program every year, it has to face the league’s best this fall. The Mountaineers draw TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Kansas on the road this fall. At least, Texas and Ok-State come to Morgantown.
Easiest Road Slate: Oklahoma State
The Pokes have a very manageable road slate in the Big 12 this fall with trips to Texas, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Iowa State. In fact, if Oklahoma State is picked fourth in the league (which is very possible), every road trip in the Big 12 will be played against a team picked behind them in the standings. Kansas State gets honorable mention with trips to Austin, Stillwater, Lubbock and Lawrence.
Five Big 12 Home Games: Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Kansas
Five Big 12 Road Games: TCU, West Virginia, Iowa State
Texas and Oklahoma play on a neutral field every year in the Cotton Bowl. Texas Tech and Baylor have started playing their series in Arlington. Frankly, it’s a trend that needs to continue for all Big 12 teams because it solved the home-road split in a nine-game conference slate. The other six teams need to get on board.
Upset Alert: Baylor at Kansas State (Nov. 5, Thurs.)
The biggest four games of the year for Baylor come in the final four weeks. But before that (and after a bye), the Bears must go into Manhattan and win on a Thursday night. Beware of Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Upset Alert II: TCU at Oklahoma State (Nov. 7)
TCU will be focused on Oklahoma and Baylor in the final two weeks of the year all season. The Frogs will have a few extra days to prepare but Ok-State could be playing its best ball by November and TCU should be unbeaten.
Season-Ticket Special: Oklahoma State
The Pokes have arguably the best home slate in the Big 12. It may not translate into wins but season ticketholders in Stillwater are going to get their money's worth. Rival Oklahoma, the top two teams in the league in Baylor and TCU and both programs from Kansas have to visit Boone Pickens Stadium. Kansas State also gets a juicy home slate with TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Iowa State coming to town.
Beware of the Committee: Baylor
With SMU, Lamar and Rice in the non-conference, Baylor could once again see its weak out-of-conference resume hurt it come playoff time. This was the issue with the Bears last season (and that game in Morgantown), so Art Briles needs to address this moving forward.
Top Non-Conference Games: