This Top 10 list is much like the Big 12 in that the number is a misnomer. We’ve got 8 top games in the conference for you this upcoming season. We’d love to give you a full 10, but not until the conference gives us a full 12.
These first two games are probably not typically what you’d consider “marquee” Big 12 matchups. But this is an opportunity for some of the weaker teams in the conference to impress early against other Power 5 schools.
First up is Kansas at Rutgers. There’s not much hope here for the Jayhawks who are 9-36 since Mark Mangino was fired. Rutgers has been playing their best football in the history of the school and are in their second year in the Big 10.
Next we have West Virginia hosting Maryland. The Mountaineers are primed to make moves this season with arguably the best defense Dana Holgorsen has had while in Morgantown. Another chance for a victory against a Power 5 school. This is a long running rivalry between the school.
The Longhorns head to South Bend for a date with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. All-time the series stands at 8-2 in favor of the golden domers. This will be a crucial game for the Longhorns who face a tough schedule out of the gate. It would also be a big win for the strength of the conference as a whole. Last year the Big 12 missed out on opportunities to beat Auburn and Florida State. A win, some speculate, would have improved the overall “look” of the conference and possibly propelled Baylor or TCU into the College Football Playoff.
This could be a big game for a lot of reasons. With how Texas’ schedule starts for them, they could limp into this game an unimaginable 1-4 and the Sooners could be undefeated or with a loss. It would be a great opportunity to see how much Charlie Strong can do to keep the team together at that point against their hated rivals.
Last year the Sooners hosted the Volunteers in a “Stripe the Stadium” event for the stadium. Look for the Vols to checker the stadium like their endzones and blast “Good Ol’ Rocky Top” all game. This matchup will do and say a lot for both teams should they win. Tennessee, under coach Butch Jones, looks to live up to preseason hype and expectations. The Sooners on the other hand will look to find identity in the second game of the year.
Oklahoma State stunned their intrastate rivals last year with a late punt return for a touchdown that tied the game. Unable to the move the ball, the Sooners settled for a field goal while the Cowboys carved up the defense on their way to the end zone. This year’s edition of Bedlam wil take place in Stillwater where the Pokes haven’t won since beating OU for the conference crown in 2011.
The Horned Frogs come to Norman on October 4 as the Sooners look to exact revenge from a hard fought loss last year. The victory in Fort Worth last year began TCU’s path to an unexpected but dominating season, falling only to conference co-champion Baylor. TCU over the years has left a bad taste in the memories of Oklahoma fans even before their days as a conference foe.
Baylor must go to Fort Worth to take on TCU late in the season in what many consider to be the defacto Big 12 Championship game. While it sets up nicely, there are 8 other teams and a lot of football to be played between then.