- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
The Big 12 Conference has plenty of games to look forward to this fall, with rivalries, rematches and scores to settle across the conference. Here are 10 games we're looking forward to in the Big 12 in 2015.
Texas at Notre Dame, Sept. 5: The Longhorns walk right into the fire in the first game of Charlie Strong's second season on the 40 acres. A road trip to South Bend should challenge whoever wins the starting quarterback job, while ND quarterback Malik Zaire will be looking to show everyone the Irish won't miss Everett Golson. Strong's squad will need a stellar debut performance to head home with a win.
Oklahoma at Tennessee, Sept. 12: One of the best nonconference matchups in the Big 12 is an early test for new OU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley's offense in hostile territory. The Volunteers have a talented roster that should be improved, while the Sooners could be taking a while to adjust to Riley's attack. This is OU's chance to make an early statement, but it won't be easy.
Iowa at Iowa State, Sept. 12: If the Cyclones' season-opening game against Northern Iowa is considered the “soft opening,” their instate Cy-Hawk battle should be considered the "grand opening" of renovated Jack Trice Stadium. Last year's game was an epic battle decided on the game's final play, when Cole Netten's 42-yard field goal gave Paul Rhoads' team its lone road win of the 2014 campaign.
TCU at Texas Tech, Sept. 26: TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie returns to Lubbock to face his former boss, and the Red Raiders look to avenge their embarrassing 82-27 defeat at the hands of the Horned Frogs. Even though it's an early matchup, both squads will have been tested in nonconference road games -- TCU at Minnesota and Tech at Arkansas. Both have proven playmakers behind center, which makes this a game of interest and high-scoring potential.
Oklahoma vs Texas, Oct. 10: The Red River Showdown will always be one of the Big 12's highlight games, regardless of the state of the respective programs. Neither is considered a preseason favorite, but the second Saturday of October will be highlighted anyway. Both programs want to return to the top of the Big 12 standings, and their head-to-head meeting is a good place to start.
West Virginia at Baylor, Oct. 17: How legit are WVU's Big 12 title hopes? We should know heading into their trip to Waco after back-to-back games against OU and Oklahoma State. The Bears will want to avenge their lone loss of the 2014 regular season, and the Mountaineers will likely provide BU's toughest test of the season to that point.
Baylor at TCU, Nov. 27: The rematch. The unease that surrounded the two programs kicked up a notch in December, when the Bears and Horned Frogs tried to fight for a spot in the college football playoff and battled each other in the process. TCU pointed to the fact that its lone loss was a 61-58 road overtime setback, while BU pointed to the fact that the lone loss was at the hands of the Bears. The 2015 matchup, which could easily decide the Big 12 champion, is compelling on its own. Add the surrounding intrigue, and this game becomes a must-watch.
Kansas at Kansas State, Nov. 28: New KU coach David Beaty has been candid about his respect and admiration for Bill Snyder since taking over the job. Beaty will get a firsthand look at the Wildcats veteran head coach in his Sunflower Showdown debut as a head coach. The Jayhawks should have a better feel for Beaty's expectations in the home stretch of the season, while the Wildcats will have likely found answers at the skill positions by late November.
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, Nov. 28: Bedlam has risen to one of the conference's top games, year in and year out. Last year's version sparked OSU into a bowl game and raised expectations for the 2015 season in Stillwater. The Cowboys' victory helped spark changes at OU. The past three meetings have been decided in the final minute or overtime, so even if it doesn't have Big 12 title implications, it will be a game to watch.
Texas at Baylor, Dec. 5: The bicker bowl returns to Waco, Texas, with the Longhorns first visit to McLane Stadium. These two programs don't hesitate to bicker over social media, but BU has clear bragging rights, given a 4-3 record since Art Briles' arrival and four wins in the past five meetings. Strong's 2014 defense was one of the few units that slowed BU's high-powered offense -- allowing 4.74 yards per play and 1.62 points per drive -- so the matchup of Briles' offense and Strong's defense is one to watch.
The Big 12 Conference has plenty of games to look forward to this fall, with rivalries, rematches and scores to settle across the conference.