No league in college football is as balanced as the Big 12. Oklahoma is the pick by many to win the conference title, but there are six other teams good enough to contend. Not bad for a 10-team league.
As a result of this parity, there are a slew of intriguing games each week. Here are 10 must-see games in the Big 12 in 2018.
1. Oklahoma vs. Texas (Oct. 6 in Dallas)
The Red River Shootout hasn’t commanded the nation’s attention lately, due to the Longhorns’ struggles. Tom Herman hopes to change that... soon.
Fun fact: The last four games in the series have been decided by an average of 5.5 points. The largest margin of victory during this stretch: Texas’ 24–17 win in 2015.
2. Oklahoma at West Virginia (Nov. 24)
The Mountaineers face Texas, TCU and Oklahoma State the three previous weeks. If they’re still standing, this could be for a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Fun fact: Oklahoma is 6–0 vs. West Virginia since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12, and the Sooners have scored at least 44 points in five of the six games.
3. TCU at Texas (Sept. 22)
Nothing is more rewarding for TCU fans than beating Texas — and the Horned Frogs have won four straight in the series. This one will be pivotal for a pair of teams who hope to play in the league title game.
Fun Fact: Texas has scored a total of 33 points in its four-game losing streak against TCU. The average score in the streak is 38–8.
4. TCU vs. Ohio State (Sept. 15 in Arlington, Texas)
A win by the Frogs would be a huge boost to the Big 12 — and would vault Gary Patterson’s club into the Playoff discussion.
Fun fact: These two schools have not met since 1973. The Buckeyes hold a 4–1-1 advantage in the series and have outscored TCU by a combined score of 148–42 in the six games.
5. Oklahoma State at Oklahoma (Nov. 10)
Bedlam has always been entertaining. Oklahoma State’s recent rise to prominence has made the game relevant on the national stage.
Fun fact: Oklahoma has rolled up 1,414 total yards in the last two games against Oklahoma State.
6. Oklahoma at Iowa State (Sept. 15)
Remember when the Cyclones rolled into Norman and stunned the Sooners last October? This early league opener sets up as a critical showdown for both teams.
Fun fact: These two teams have played 82 times. Iowa State has defeated Oklahoma by more than seven points just once: 13–0 in 1928, the first-ever meeting in the series.
7. Texas vs. USC (Sept. 15)
Texas dropped a heartbreaker in overtime last fall in Southern California. The Longhorns will be eager to return the favor when the Trojans come to town for the first time since 1966.
Fun fact: Texas is 1–5 all-time against USC, but the one win was memorable — the 2005 BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl.
8. West Virginia at Texas (Nov. 3)
This trip to Austin kicks off a brutal season-ending four-game stretch for the Mountaineers, who also play TCU, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma in the final month of the season.
Fun fact: West Virginia is 6–6 in Big 12 games played in the state of Texas — including a 2–1 mark in Austin — since joining the league in 2012.
9. Kansas State vs. Mississippi State (Sept. 8)
This game might lack national relevance, but it’s an intriguing non-conference matchup between two under-the-radar programs who are poised for strong 2018 seasons.
Fun fact: Kansas State is 1–4 against SEC teams over the last 10 years, with a win over Texas A&M and losses to Vanderbilt, Arkansas (twice) and Auburn.
10. Oklahoma vs. UCLA (Sept. 8)
Gone are the marquee quarterbacks from a year ago, yet there’s much to like with two historic programs and a classic uniform matchup.
Fun fact: This is Oklahoma’s first game against a Pac-12 school since meeting Stanford in the 2009 Sun Bowl. It’s the Sooners’ first regular-season game against a Pac-12 team since Sept. 13, 2008, when they beat Washington 55–14 in Seattle.