In this week's Take Two, we debate which will be the Big 12 in-conference game of the year:
Take 1: Max Olson -- Oklahoma at TCU
The parallels to 2014 are fairly easy to see. That year, a top-five ranked Oklahoma team came to Fort Worth in the first week of October and faced a rising TCU team with Big 12 title aspirations. I’m expecting a similar scenario in 2016.
Let’s assume Oklahoma holds off Houston and bests Ohio State in September. If Baker Mayfield and the Sooners emerge from the season’s first month undefeated, they would have to be one of the top four teams in the country, right?
I don’t know where TCU will be ranked by then. Doesn’t matter much to me, really. I think the Frogs are the most dangerous threat to the Sooners' throne this fall. As long as they get the quarterback position right, they have enough firepower on offense and experience on defense to win the Big 12 this season.
Every game Oklahoma and TCU have played since the Frogs joined the conference in 2012 has been a nail-biter. The Sooners won the first two meetings by margins of seven and three points, respectively. TCU pulled off the upset in 2014 with a 37-33 win. Thanks to the last-second heroics of Steven Parker, Oklahoma escaped with a 30-29 win last season.
That last showdown was a late-season brawl featuring backup quarterbacks who were just trying to survive. So I’m glad these teams are meeting early in the season again. You would hope both will be at full strength and ready to put on a show.
Take 2: Jake Trotter -- Oklahoma State at Oklahoma
Before Baylor began to slide off the rails off the field, I probably would have tabbed the Bears' trip to Norman here.
Now, I'm going with Bedlam -- the game that seemingly always carries major stakes -- and usually delivers on the drama.
With several key players back from last season's College Football Playoff squad, the Sooners are the obvious Big 12 favorites entering the season. Mayfield, Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon headline a backfield that will be a load for anyone to slow down this season.
But to get back to the playoff, the Sooners will first have to go through Oklahoma State. Though Oklahoma routed the Cowboys in Stillwater last season, Oklahoma State was still a 10-win team and otherwise has played the Sooners tough in recent years.
Two years ago as a true freshman, Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph led the Pokes to a stunning comeback win in Norman. Now a seasoned junior, Rudolph is the biggest reason this has the potential to be Oklahoma State's best team since the school won the Big 12 in 2011.
Who knows if Oklahoma State will be playing for a Big 12 title again on the final week of the season. The Cowboys certainly have several obstacles in front of them before Bedlam, including road trips to Waco and Fort Worth.
Though favored, the Sooners are certainly no locks, either.
But Bedlam usually finds a way to be relevant. And often, thrilling. This season figures to be no different.