Oklahoma Sooners: 2011-second-half-preview

Big 12 second-half preview

October, 12, 2011
10/12/11
10:26
AM ET
We've looked back at the Big 12 this week with an overview of the conference and each team.

[+] EnlargeOklahoma State's Justin Blackmon
Brett Davis/US PRESSWIREWhen Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon and the Cowboys meet rival Oklahoma on Dec. 3, the nation will be watching a default Big 12 title game.
What can we expect moving forward?

Bold prediction: The Big 12 championship game returns. Well, not exactly. But pretty much. It might as well be back. On Dec. 3 in Stillwater, Okla., Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, the nation's No. 2 and No. 3 teams (behind No. 1 Alabama) right now, play for a gigantic barrel of marbles.

They will also play for a Big 12 title and a spot in the national championship game. The Big 12 championship might not explicitly exist, and it might not be played in Cowboys Stadium, but this will be just as good. Two of the league's best offenses going head to head in a renewal of one of the best games of the 2010 season, when the Big 12 South was on the line. This will be a classic, and one of the best games in Big 12 history.

Who wins? (Who always wins?)

What I'm looking forward to: The Big 12 sorting itself out. I mean this both on and off the field. There's an inherent excitement in bringing new members into the league, and TCU is already on the list. Could BYU, Louisville, West Virginia or others be next? And what about Missouri? You'd have to think by season's end we'll know who's in and who's out with the Big 12. I'll be happy when it's over.

With that, I also want to know more about these teams. Just how good is Kansas State? How far can it carry this run without a loss? Will Texas Tech bully its way into the Big 12 title race with some late-season wins? Is Missouri actually underrated, or is this a 6- to 8-win down season in Columbia? How far back from 5-7 is Texas? Can Texas A&M get some help from above the standings and re-enter the Big 12 title picture? And what about Baylor? Can the Bears grab more than a bowl bid this season? We'll know before too long.

Top Impactful Games: Here are the dates you should look forward to most.

1. Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, Dec. 3: To borrow a phrase, this looks like the Granddaddy of Them All. This could be one of the most epic games in Big 12 history, and if the ball bounces the right way, it might even be a matchup of No. 1 versus No. 2 on the final weekend of the season. Unbelievable. And between two of the most fun teams to watch in the country. This will be must-see TV.

2. Texas A&M at Oklahoma, Nov. 5: This is the best opportunity for someone to muck up that dream game and change the face of the Big 12 title race. If Texas A&M wins this and doesn't lose beforehand, it likely vaults the Aggies back into the top 10, and might make season-ending Bedlam a different exercise than last year. Texas A&M had almost no chance to slip in the Big 12 title game despite sharing a division title, but if the Aggies win this one, an Oklahoma win in Bedlam might give A&M its first Big 12 title since 1998 in its last year inside the league.

3. Texas at Texas A&M, Nov. 24: The bad blood will be flowing in this one. The hatred in this rivalry helped fuel Texas A&M's decision to leave for the SEC, and it could be the last time we see this rivalry for a long while. Texas will likely be the underdog, but we all remember what happened the last time Texas came into a hugely meaningful game off the field as big underdogs ...

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