There are certain Big 12 teams (Kansas) that we expect to lose more games than other Big 12 teams (Oklahoma). However, when will each team’s first loss take place? Since the Big 12 went to a true round robin, only the 2016 Sooners have gone undefeated in conference play, and no team has reached the postseason without at least one loss in either conference play or non-conference play.
So let’s take a look at where each Big 12 team will suffer its first loss.
Baylor Bears: September 25th vs. Iowa State
The Bears have an easy start to the season against Texas State, Texas Southern and Kansas, but then in Week 4 they get popped with a likely Top 10 Iowa State Cyclones team coming to Waco. Sure the game is at home, but Dave Aranda’s group is still rebuilding, figuring out its quarterback situation, and simply won’t have the firepower on either side of the ball to match the Cyclones.
Iowa State Cyclones: November 6th vs. Texas
This game will be the fourth game in a brutal stretch that requires the Cyclones to go to Manhattan for Farmageddon, followed by Oklahoma State on Homecoming Weekend, then it’s a road trip to West Virginia followed by a game back home against Texas, a team the Cyclones barely beat last year on a Black Friday game that likely cost Tom Herman his job. Texas’ quarterback, whoever it is, will have several games under his belt and should be comfortable in the Steve Sarkisian offense by then. And something tells me UT players will want revenge and Sarkisian is going to be a better motivator than Herman was in these spots.
Also, Texas will have been coming off a bye week and then a short road trip to Waco to face a mediocre Baylor team. This will also be just the second game for Texas outside of the state of Lone Star State to this point in the season. They will be well rested and eyeing some revenge, while possibly still in the Big 12 title hunt.
Kansas Jayhawks: September 11th at Coastal Carolina
Coastal Carolina was a Top 25 team for much of last season, while Kansas well… they weren’t. Normally this might be considered a bad loss in the non-conference, even for KU. It won’t be this year. I’ll give them an opening win over South Dakota, but all that ends in Week 2.
Kansas State Wildcats: September 25th at Oklahoma State
The season opener against Stanford at Jerry World won’t be easy, but I think the Wildcats can get it done. However when Big 12 play opens in Stillwater, that’s tough. These two teams have played close games the last decade, with eight of their last 11 match ups decided by 10 points or less. But the Cowboys are going to be home, with one of the stingiest defenses in the conference and an offense that loses firepower (Chuba Hubbard, Tylan Wallace), but will be overlooked heading into the season.
Oklahoma Sooners: Y2K
It’s very possible this is the year the Sooners run the table in the non-conference and conference slate for the first time since 2000 when they went on to win a National Championship. Lincoln Riley has his second-year QB and Heisman favorite in Spencer Rattler, with a ton of weapons, while the defense under Alex Grinch gives this team as much balance as it’s had in over a decade. Yes, the Sooners have had those random trip-up games early in the season like Kansas State and Iowa State in recent years, but I’m not getting a sense of that at the moment. They will end up at AT&T Stadium for a Big 12 Championship game undefeated, and then it’s anybody’s guess.
Oklahoma State Cowboys: October 23rd at Iowa State
The Pokes have a very tough two-game stretch in mid-October with road trips to Texas and Iowa State in back-to-back weeks. They’ll be going to Jack Trice Stadium for what is also going to be Homecoming Weekend in Ames. Have fun with that, Pokes. Now granted, Oklahoma State has won eight of their last nine against Iowa State, kudos to Mike Gundy for that, but the Cyclones will get their revenge at home in this match up.
Texas Longhorns: October 2nd at TCU
Why not? Gary Patterson owns Texas. Since joining the Big 12, TCU is 7-2 vs the Longhorns and now they get them at home as Texas is working in a new quarterback in just his fourth game as a starter. That sounds ripe for a Gary Patterson defense to do some damage and force a key turnover or two to win this game at home. I am high on Steve Sarkisian, but there will be a bump or two in the road in his first season running the program.
TCU Horned Frogs: October 16th at Oklahoma
As good as Gary Patterson is against Texas, he underwhelms against Oklahoma. He is 1-9 against OU since joining the Big 12 and most of those games haven’t been close. Emotional games against Texas and Texas Tech in the state followed by a road trip to Norman is going to be tough for this Frogs team and they just won’t be able to keep up against the Sooners in this game.
Texas Tech Red Raiders: September 25th at Texas
Remember last year’s crazy game? Texas was down 15 points with three minutes left and had statistically a .2% chance of winning the game. Well, they won it. Steve Sarkisian won’t let those brain farts happen against mediocre competition, which was in many ways the downfall of Tom Herman. Texas will be revved up for its Big 12 home opener and will roll to victory against a Tech program that will struggle to find its way this fall.
West Virginia Mountaineers: September 4th at Maryland
I hope I am wrong on this. But WVU is still going to be figuring things out on offense, while the defense lost so many key pieces, I need to see it before I believe they can duplicate last year’s success. Meanwhile, the Terrapins ranked second in the Big Ten in yards per play (6.6) but finished 11th in the league in scoring (23.6). Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa does have a deep receiving corps, which could provide trouble for the Mountaineers. Overall Maryland returns eight starters on offense and six on defense, a good spot to be in for a home opener against Power 5 competition.