The Ultimate Big 12 Road Trip: Week 1

You gotta love an ambitious spirit, no?

Well, let's say you were going to craft a season-long road trip going to the best game in the Big 12 each week. We'll take you on that journey in our new series: The Ultimate Big 12 Road Trip.

I've been inspired by the boys at the Big Ten Blog, and this should be a fun walk through each week in the new-look Big 12 next season. I'll pick one game a week during the season that I'd attend if it were entirely up to me. I don't make the call, and things change as games are played of course, but right now, this is how it'd look if it were up to me. I'll include road nonconference games, too.

Let's get started.

Here's the Week 1 slate:

  • Baylor vs. SMU

  • Iowa State vs. Tulsa

  • Kansas vs. South Dakota State

  • Kansas State vs. Missouri State

  • Oklahoma at UTEP

  • Oklahoma State vs. Savannah State

  • TCU: Bye

  • Texas vs. Wyoming

  • Texas Tech vs. Northwestern State

  • West Virginia vs. Marshall

My pick: West Virginia vs. Marshall

There are only two real candidates here, and it would come down to the renewal of the old Southwest Conference rivalry in Waco or a brand-new look at West Virginia's in-state rival, the Thundering Herd.

What better way to be introduced to the Mountaineers? Marshall finished 7-6 and won a bowl game last year after a 5-3 year in Conference USA. There's no blockbusters in Week 1, but this should be a great look at a really good rivalry. We'll get a chance to see WVU at its best and the debut of Year 2 under Dana Holgorsen. Geno Smith should be better, and RB Dustin Garrison will be healthy while Smith finds Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey for a firework-filled first time out with the Big 12 logo on Mountaineer Field.

West Virginia won last year's game by 21, but the two teams went into overtime back in 2010 at Marshall, Bill Stewart's last year at the helm. That sounds close, but the Mountaineers have never lost in 11 games against the Thundering Herd. I'd love to start 2012 by seeing West Virginia defend its status as the state's top program, wouldn't you?