The Big 12 has sent a team to the College Football Playoff three times in five seasons, but that team has been Oklahoma on each occasion. The league needs a new power to emerge — and that might be happening in Austin, Texas. The Longhorns, however, aren’t the only Big 12 team on the rise. Iowa State is emerging as a legitimate contender under Matt Campbell; Baylor made tremendous strides a year ago in Matt Rhule’s second season; and there are a host of new coaches who are bringing new energy at schools such as West Virginia, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Kansas.
Here is our list of the top 15 games involving Big 12 teams on the 2019 college football schedule.
1. Oklahoma vs. Texas, Oct. 12 (Dallas)
Like last season, this likely will be the first of two matchups between these bitter rivals. This one is big, but the rematch in December — assuming it happens — will be for a championship.
Fun fact: Each of the last five regular-season meetings has been decided by seven points or fewer.
2. LSU at Texas, Sept. 7
This might be the most important non-conference game on the 2019 college football schedule. The winner will be included — at least temporarily — in the discussion for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Fun fact: It’s the first regular-season matchup between these two storied programs since 1954. They last played in the Cotton Bowl, on Jan. 1, 2003.
3. Iowa State at Oklahoma, Nov. 9
The Cyclones shocked the college football world on their last trip to Norman. OU returned the favor last year in Ames.
Fun fact: Iowa State scored a total of 32 points in a six-game stretch against Oklahoma from 2002 through 2011. The Cyclones scored 38 in their win at OU two years ago.
4. Texas at Iowa State, Nov. 16
This trip to Ames figures to be Texas’ most difficult road game on the 2019 slate. The Horns are 6–1 all-time at Jack Trice Stadium.
Fun fact: This game has featured two ranked teams twice in the 16 all-time matchups: last year (No. 13 Texas beat No. 18 Iowa State 24–10) and in 2002 (No. 7 Texas beat No. 17 Iowa State 21–10).
5. Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, Nov. 30
Bedlam has lived up to its name of late: The losing team has scored at least 47 points in each of the last two games.
Fun fact: Mike Gundy has taken Oklahoma State to new heights but hasn’t been able to solve Oklahoma too often; he’s 2–12 against the Sooners and 70–36 against the rest of the Big 12.
6. Iowa at Iowa State, Sept. 14
Matt Campbell has raised the national profile of Iowa State football — but has yet to beat Iowa. The Cyclones have lost four straight and five of six to Iowa.
Fun fact: Iowa State has never been ranked at the time of the game in the history of this series which includes 63 games and began in 1899. The Cyclones are ranked in both the AP and Coaches poll to start the season.
7. Iowa State at Baylor, Sept. 28
Before Iowa State can start thinking about Oklahoma or Texas — among other teams — the Cyclones must first get past Baylor in this tricky Big 12 opener.
Fun fact: These two teams have split the 16 matchups since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996. Baylor holds a one-game edge in the all-time series thanks to a 35–0 win in Ames in 1988.
8. Houston at Oklahoma, Aug. 31
Dana Holgorsen, who went 0–7 vs. Oklahoma in his tenure as the head coach at West Virginia, makes his debut as the boss at Houston. Prediction: A bunch of points will be scored. Another prediction: OU will win.
Fun fact: The two starting QBs in this game have rushed for 100-plus yards in a game a combined 31 times — 27 by Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and four by Houston’s D’Eriq King.
9. Baylor at Oklahoma State, Oct. 19
Either of these two teams is capable of emerging as a dark horse contender for a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Fun fact: Oklahoma State scored 60 points in the first-ever meeting between these teams (a 60–0 win in 1914) but scored a total of 119 points in the next eight games (all losses).
10. Texas at TCU, Nov. 23
Texas won’t truly be back until it starts beating its in-state Big 12 rivals — such as TCU — on a consistent basis. Tom Herman is 1–1 against the Frogs, with a 24–7 loss in 2017 and a 31–16 win last year.
Fun fact: Texas has not been ranked at the time of this game in any of the last six meetings. TCU has been ranked in four of those six.
11. Kansas State at Kansas, Nov. 2
This game will have no impact on the Big 12 title chase, but it’s important for a pair of new coaches hoping to make their mark in Year 1. Some advice for K-State’s Chris Klieman: Don’t lose this game.
Fun fact: The last time both Sunflower State programs had new coaches was in 1986 — Stan Parrish at K-State and Bob Valesente at KU. It didn’t go well for either: Parrish went 2–30–1 in three seasons; Velesente 4–17–1 in two.
12. Texas Tech at Texas, Nov. 29
We’d rather see the Longhorns take on Texas A&M on Thanksgiving weekend, but this is a decent consolation. Each of the last four games has been decided by eight points or fewer.
Fun fact: Texas Tech has won two straight at Texas for the first time since the series began in 1934.
13. West Virginia at Missouri, Sept. 7
First-year West Virginia coach Neal Brown takes his new-look Mountaineers into Columbia for an intriguing early-season test against Missouri.
Fun fact: Unofficially, this will be the first game on the 2019 schedule that features two first-year graduate transfers facing off at QB — Austin Kendall for WVU and Kelly Bryant for Missouri.
14. Kansas State at Mississippi State, Sept. 14
This trip to Starkville will be the first test of the Chris Klieman era. The Wildcats were humbled at home by the Bulldogs last September.
Fun fact: Kansas State is 1–4 against SEC opponents in the last five seasons and has managed fewer than 300 yards of offense in all four of the defeats (vs. Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Auburn).
15. Oklahoma State at Texas, Sept. 21
New offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson makes his Big 12 debut for the Pokes against what should be a very good Texas defense.
Fun fact: Gleeson’s final team at Princeton led the FCS ranks in scoring (47.0 ppg) and finished second in total offense (536.8 ypg).