So, the Big 12 schedule's been officially released. A few dates may shift here and there, but the weeks are locked into place. Time for some analysis and notes.
Sept. 15: TCU at Kansas: It's been awhile since Lawrence hosted a game that came anything close to must-see, but this qualifies. TCU takes part in the first Big 12 game of the season, and Charlie Weis makes his debut in the conference to see what his Jayhawks have to offer.
Sept. 22: Kansas State at Oklahoma: Another solid early-season game in the Big 12. This could easily be a matchup of two top-10 teams, and maybe even top five if the ball bounces K-State's way. OU rolled by 41 in Manhattan last year, but K-State will have a chance to validate its 2011 season with a good performance in this one.
Sept. 29: Baylor at West Virginia: The Mountaineers play their first Big 12 game at home a week later. It'll be pretty crazy to see a packed Milan Puskar Stadium full of yellow with a Big 12 logo on the turf and a new-look Baylor team look for its own brand of validation without RG3.
Oct. 13: Texas vs. Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The Big 12's version of the Granddaddy of Them All. The league's best rivalry resumes at the State Fair of Texas this weekend, which unfortunately falls on the same weekend as Austin City Limits. For the hipster/college football crossover fans, this is your worst nightmare.
TOUGHEST FINISH: Oklahoma
The Big 12 did the league favorite no favors this time around. Oklahoma will have to earn its Big 12 title. It travels to West Virginia on Nov. 17 before hosting Oklahoma State for the first time since 2009 in the Bedlam game. Finally, it closes its season with a trip to TCU in Fort Worth. It's late in the season, but don't be surprised if that's three top-25 teams and two on the road.
BEST COINCIDENCE (?): Matching dates for UT, A&M and Mizzou, KU
So, what are you guys doing on Nov. 17? Texas and Texas A&M are both off that weekend. Just a thought, you know. In case you got a wild hair to stop being petty, Longhorns.
Meanwhile, Missouri is about to lock into a game with Central Florida, but Kansas is off on Sept. 29 and the Tigers haven't announced their half of the schedule just yet. UCF lists the Tigers, but everybody has their price. Mizzou has pushed for the rivalry to resume, but here's guessing if KU agreed, the Tigers would oblige to meet that day.
The chances of either of these games happening? Just above .00001%.
BEST HOME SCHEDULE: Texas Tech
The Red Raiders get to host Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia in Year 1. Very nice. Next year might be a little difficult, but enjoy this one, Tech.
BEST AWAY SCHEDULE: Oklahoma
The Sooners get to pave the way for the rest of the Big 12 and make trips to the league's new territory in Year 1. Road trips to West Virginia and TCU are on the schedule.