So as we get ready to discuss the most important game for each Big 12 team this fall, I will keep this conversation to conference games only, since the non-conference schedule is looking dicey, at best, as of this writing.
Baylor at Texas, October 31st, 2020
This game will basically be the halfway mark of the Bears’ 2020 season. We’ll have a pretty good idea of where this team is going to be entering the final month of the season. Are they going to be a dark horse in the Big 12 race for a second-straight year? Or will their lucky streak in close games now carry over from 2019? Baylor won this game with relative ease last season (24-10) and if they can do it again, this time on the road, the final month of the season will be a fun one in Waco.
Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State at Oklahoma State, October 10th, 2020
This is an early-season match up between two teams trying to be the challenger to OU in the Big 12. ISU should have two Big 12 wins under its belt at this point taking on Texas Tech and Kansas. So this will be our first chance to see if the ball bounces Iowa State’s way in the close games this year, or if Matt Campbell still finds his team struggling in those spots. They’ll have to go to Stillwater to get it done, and by the way, even if they do, the Oklahoma Sooners are on a deck. It’ll be a wild two weeks for Cyclones fans.
Kansas at Kansas State, October 10th, 2020
The Sunflower Showdown is early this season and will give us a glimpse into how much improvement Les Miles’ team has made. Plus, it’s a rivalry match up. In the first match up between the first-year head coaches last year, it was Chris Klieman blasting Les Miles 38-10. K-State will still be the favorite, but in the deep Big 12, it might be one of the better chances KU has to get a conference win. Get it against your rival early in the season and maybe Les Miles gets this team with some unexpected momentum.
Kansas State Wildcats
Kansas State at West Virginia, September 26th, 2020
This might seem like an odd choice, but I think it’s the obvious one. I have no idea if Klieman can exceed expectations after his eight wins last season. It seems like a lofty goal for this year, but if it’s going to happen (assuming all the non-conference games are played), winning this game in Morgantown is imperative. And West Virginia is a program looking to improve on 2019 when it won five games. If K-State handles the Mountaineers, then 2020 has all the indications of being a surprisingly fun season in Manhattan, but if not, it could be a season that results in setback.
Oklahoma vs. Texas, October 10th, 2020
Obviously, right? Texas should be one of, if not the top, challenger to the Sooners for the Big 12 title this fall. Sure, OU could lose this game and still easily make the Big 12 title game, but if Lincoln Riley is going to get his team back into College Football Playoff contention, which is how he now gets judged in Norman for better or for worse, dropping this game is not going to be a good look. Also, any time you roll into this game with a quarterback who has not yet experienced it, there is an element of the unknown. However, Riley handled Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts just fine on that front the last two years.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, October 24th, 2020
Mike Gundy has had unprecedented success in Stillwater, but his 2-13 record in Bedlam is obviously a black eye. Can Gundy get a win this year with arguably his best team since Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon were setting records? Especially when OU will likely still be working in a redshirt freshman quarterback? If not now, when? Plus, if Oklahoma State wants to put itself in serious conversation for a Big 12 Title Game appearance, this is a game that if the Pokes can win, they’ll be in a great spot heading down the home stretch.
Texas vs. Iowa State, November 21st, 2020
The Texas Longhorns have an incredible final two games taking on Iowa State at home before ending the season at Oklahoma State. These two games could determine one of the teams in the Big 12 Championship Game, if not both. Sam Ehlinger vs. Brock Purdy, two of the top gunslingers in the conference, could prove to be a class late November match up. And if Texas can’t win this game at home, then, depending on how the rest of the season goes to date, that finale against Oklahoma State may have lost its meaning.
TCU Horned Frogs
TCU at Baylor, October 24th, 2020
TCU administration and fans can not be happy that four years after major scandal, Baylor has passed TCU in the Big 12 Conference. And after winning five in a row in the series, Baylor pulled off a triple overtime win last year that was one of the best games in the Big 12 in 2019. In fact, five of their last seven meetings have been decided by seven points or less. If TCU is to get back into the Big 12 conversation, getting a big midseason win over their rival will set the Bears back and get the Horned Frogs into the next tier in the Big 12 heading down the home stretch of the season.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Texas Tech vs. West Virginia, October 3rd, 2020
In a battle of second-year head coaches, Matt Wells welcomes Neal Brown to town as we get to size up where each of the programs are as they look to take the next step to bowl eligibility. WVU always has a disadvantage in road games due to its lengthy travel, and there is no further trip than Lubbock. This is a game that Matt Wells has to win in 2020 if he wants his team to have the success it’s capable of. The Red Raiders are building and winning games like this are a good next step.
West Virginia Mountaineers
West Virginia vs. Oklahoma, November 7th, 2020
This might seem like an odd choice, but ever since joining the Big 12, WVU has never beaten the Sooners, going 0-8. If Neal Brown wants to make a statement in Year 2 in Morgantown, how about a win over OU on their home turf?! This might be the year to do it with OU working in a new QB and the game being in West Virginia. It won’t be easy, but these are the kind of program-defining wins that can lift a program to new heights.
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