On Tuesday, Big 12 Conference officials released the 2017 college football schedule. The biggest change from the past year is the addition of a conference championship game, which will be played on December 2. There are also some shakeups regarding traditional matchups between the leagues best teams. Here are some of the games you should keep an eye on:
September 23 TCU @ Oklahoma State
The first week of the Big 12 season will feature a trip to Stillwater for Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs. The Cowboys have not only overachieved the past two seasons, but they’ve also scored two big wins against TCU—2015 in Stillwater and 2016 in Fort Worth. TCU would love to get some sweet revenge by spoiling the Cowboys’ Big 12 season before it even gets started.
October 28 Texas @ Baylor
No college football programs have gone through more recent turmoil—albeit for different reasons—than Baylor and Texas. When the two teams clash in October, it will be a good indicator as to which team is on a quicker road to recovery. It will also be a big showcase game for Tom Herman and Matt Rhule, both rookie coaches needing strong recruiting classes to prove that a successful jump from the American Athletic Conference to the Big 12 is feasible.
November 4 Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State
Traditionally played on or after Thanksgiving weekend, clearly Bob Bowlsby and the other decision makers don’t want to risk a third straight de facto conference championship game—this time before an actual conference championship game—at Bedlam. The Cowboys and Sooners are bound to have another high stakes matchup in 2017, and for some it will be unusual seeing the rivalry game being played earlier in the season.
November 28 West Virginia @ Oklahoma
“Clearly” might have been a bit of an exaggeration. The Big 12 could still face the problem of a proven, round robin champion having to play an unnecessary rematch against a team they’ve already beaten. The addition of Quarterback Will Grier, who transferred from Florida, should make West Virginia an even more formidable adversary in 2017. Pending the announcement of early departures, Oklahoma should also start next season with sky-high expectations. A late-season showdown between Holgorsen and Stoops’ teams could be epic. And a rematch in Dallas the next week could be… kind of neat, I guess.