Look at top 75 conference games in 2020: Texas vs. OSU figures to be Big 12’s most vital grid game

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

By Berry Tramel

The Oklahoman

We don’t know if or when college football will start, and we don’t know which games will remain intact, but to remind us of what could be, here are all 75 scheduled Big 12 games in 2020, ranked in order of importance:

1. Texas at Oklahoma State, Nov. 27: The two teams picked to challenge OU for conference supremacy meet on Thanksgiving Friday — Stillwater could host what amounts to a Big 12 semifinal.

2. Oklahoma at Iowa State, Oct. 17: Too high? Look at it this way. This figures to be the Sooners’ toughest road game of the season.

3. Texas at LSU, Sept. 12: The Longhorns could strike a big blow for Big 12 pride against the defending national champion — or the SEC dominance could continue.

4. Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, Oct. 24: Three of the last four Bedlams on Owen Field have been decided by one point or in overtime.

5. Iowa at Iowa State, Sept. 12: A victory over the Big Ten Hawkeyes would build Big 12 prestige.

6. Oklahoma vs. Texas in Dallas, Oct. 10: Huge game nationally, but it’s strange how little OU-UT affects the Big 12 championship in recent years.

7. Iowa State at Oklahoma State, Oct. 10: Winner stakes an early claim to make it to Arlington for the Big 12 title game.

8. Tennessee at Oklahoma, Sept. 12: Volunteers finished 2019 with a six-game winning streak after a 2-5 start.

9. Iowa State at Texas, Nov. 21: If OSU doesn’t contend, this could be a Big 12 semifinal. Cyclones have lost four straight in Austin.

10. Baylor at Texas Tech, Oct. 15: The Bears weren’t considered a Big 12 title contender last offseason, but quickly changed once the pads started popping.

11. Oklahoma State at TCU, Oct. 3: Could the Horned Frogs surprise? This game will tell us early.

12. TCU at Baylor, Oct. 24: This rivalry misses Art Briles. Dave Aranda figures to be just as likable as was Matt Rhule.

13. West Virginia vs. Florida State in Atlanta, Sept. 5: The Mountaineers have a chance to pad the Big 12’s resume’ early.

14. Iowa State at TCU, Nov. 7: The Cyclones have posted three straight winning seasons; not since 1923-27 has ISU had four winning years in a row.

15. Baylor vs. Ole Miss in Houston, Sept. 5: Lane Kiffin’s Mississippi debut comes in Aranda’s debut with the Bears.

16. Oklahoma at TCU, Oct. 31: Sooners have scored 52 points in each of their last two trips to Amon Carter Stadium; Gary Patterson will be prepared.

17. Oklahoma State at Baylor, Nov. 7: Cowboys haven’t won in Waco since 2009.

18. TCU at California, Sept. 5: Big season opener; the Golden Bears are highly touted in the Pac-12.

19. Baylor at Texas, Oct. 31: QB Charlie Brewer’s final game at Royal-Memorial, where his father, Robert, quarterbacked the Longhorns.

20. Oklahoma at Army, Sept. 26: Historic matchup — and potentially dangerous, but the Black Knights are considered down in 2020.

21. Baylor at Iowa State, Nov. 14: Great quarterback showdown — Brewer and ISU’s Brock Purdy. This could be a strong year for Big 12 QBs.

22. TCU at Texas, Nov. 14: Man, the Big 12 schedule is backloaded. Lots of good November games.

23. Boston College at Kansas, Sept. 19: The Jayhawks’ 2019 rout of BC was the high-water mark of the Les Miles era so far, and a repeat could wound the ACC’s status.

24. Baylor at Oklahoma, Oct. 3: We’ll find out quickly if Baylor has fallen in the year after Rhule.

25. Maryland at West Virginia, Sept. 19: Historic rivalry (52 meetings) but first matchup since 2015.

26. Texas at Texas Tech, Oct. 24: Longhorns haven’t lost in Lubbock since 2008, the famous Michael Crabtree play.

27. TCU at West Virginia, Oct. 10: Big 12’s newest members are 4-4 against each other since joining in 2012.

28. Arizona at Texas Tech, Sept. 19: Tech’s trip to Tucson last season was miserable — a 28-14 loss and a season-ending injury to quarterback Alan Bowman.

29. Oklahoma State at Kansas State, Nov. 21: Let’s hope this game isn’t on ESPN Plus, like the 2019 meeting in Stillwater.

30. West Virginia at Texas Tech, Oct. 3: Mountaineers figure to be quarterbacked by Jarret Doege, brother of former Tech QB Seth Doege.

31. TCU at SMU, Sept. 26: Horned Frogs’ home loss to SMU last season cost TCU not only bragging rights, but also a bowl bid.

32. Texas at Kansas State, Oct. 3: The Longhorns have won three straight from the Wildcats, after KSU went 7-2 against UT from 2006-16.

33. Oklahoma at West Virginia, Nov. 7: Sooners in Morgantown is always wild — 59-56, 56-28, 45-33 and 50-49 OU victories.

34. Kansas at Kansas State, Oct. 10: KSU has its second 11-game series winning streak just since 1992. And you think you’ve got troubles.

35. Baylor at West Virginia, Nov. 21: That 70-63 game of 2012 seems a long time ago.

36. Texas Tech at Kansas State, Nov. 7: Can either team get in the bowl picture? This game could be huge for those prospects.

37. West Virginia at Texas, Oct. 17: The Mountaineers’ all-time Big 12 record in conference games is 36-36.

38. Kansas State at TCU, Oct. 17: Gary Patterson had a winning record (4-3) vs. Bill Snyder, but KSU beat the Frogs in Chris Klieman’s inaugural season of 2019.

39. Texas Tech at Iowa State, Sept. 26: Cyclones have won four straight in the series; none were one-possession games at the finish.

40. Vanderbilt at Kansas State, Sept. 19: K-State’s 14-7 loss at Vandy in 2017 was a black eye for the Big 12.

41. Texas Tech at TCU, Nov. 21: Strange, not since 2014 has the home team won in this series.

42. Kansas State at West Virginia, Sept. 26: KSU won the first four meetings with WVU as Big 12 brothers but has lost the last four.

43. Oklahoma at Texas Tech, Nov. 28: OU trips to Lubbock once were harrowing; they still are harrowing, but the Sooners have won four straight.

44. TCU at Kansas, Nov. 28: The Horned Frogs lost their most recent game in Lawrence, a 27-26 decision in 2018 that was the low-water mark of the last two decades of TCU football.

45. Kansas State at Baylor, Nov. 28: Another solid quarterback game; sometimes we forget about Wildcat veteran Skylar Thompson.

46. West Virginia at Iowa State, Nov. 27: Not bad scheduling, putting the Big 12’s two coldest-weather teams against each other in the final weekend.

47. Kansas at West Virginia, Oct. 24: The Jayhawks haven’t won a Big 12 road game since October 4, 2008, at Iowa State. Will this be the year?

48. Texas Tech at Oklahoma State, Oct. 31: Suddenly, the Cowboys have lost two straight to the Red Raiders, after nine straight wins in the series.

49. Kansas State at Iowa State, Oct. 29: KSU finally leads the series, 50-49-4. That’s what happens when you lose only five times to the Cyclones in the last 30 years.

50. Oregon State at Oklahoma State, Sept. 3: The Beavers were better than projected a year ago but lost quarterback Jake Luton and two other NFL draftees.

51. Kansas at Texas Tech, Nov. 14: Les Miles’ Year 1 was more interesting than we thought. How about Year 2?

52. West Virginia at Oklahoma State, Nov. 14: The Cowboys have won five straight in the series; last year, OSU didn’t even have to score in the 40s or 50s (20-13) to win.

53. Iowa State at Kansas, Oct. 3: Philosophical question — would you rather be Kansas, great in basketball and awful in football, or Iowa State, quite competitive in both but not great in either?

54. Texas at Kansas, Nov. 7: Some OU fans never will forget November 19, 2016. The day KU beat the Longhorns 24-21.

55. Oklahoma State at Kansas, Oct. 17: If Miles make the Jayhawks much improved, this game shoots up the ladder.

56. Louisiana Tech at Baylor, Sept. 26: The Bulldogs are an underrated mid-major — La Tech, under Skip Holtz, has produced six straight winning seasons and six straight bowl victories.

57. Kansas at Baylor, Sept. 12: Uh, I don’t think this is what the television networks meant when they said they would like some early-season conference games.

58. Kansas State at Oklahoma, Nov. 14: Klieman at least didn’t lose a lot of talent — the Wildcats were blanked in the NFL Draft for the first time since 1993.

59. Kansas at Coastal Carolina, Sept. 26: The Jayhawks lost at home to Coastal last September.

60. Buffalo at Kansas State, Sept. 5: The Bulls are projected to be one of the better teams in the Mid-American Conference.

61. South Florida at Texas, Sept. 5: Rats, USF fired Charlie Strong after last season, else this would have been a reunion.

62. Tulsa at Oklahoma State, Sept. 12: This once was a rip-roaring rivalry. Not so much anymore, but give both athletic directors credit for reviving the series.

63. Texas Tech at Texas-El Paso, Sept. 5: Old Border Conference foes seem like neighbors, but Lubbock is closer to Norman (342 miles) than to El Paso (346).

64. Kansas at Oklahoma, Nov. 21: If fans can’t go to games this season, this is the only game they won’t feel slighted.

65. Nevada-Las Vegas at Iowa State, Sept. 19: Former OSU assistant Marcus Arroyo takes over the Rebels, but they are undermanned even in the Mountain West.

66. Texas-El Paso at Texas, Sept. 19: Some believe the Miners will be the worst team in Division I-A.

67. Missouri State at Oklahoma, Sept. 5: This is actually the least competitive game in the Big 12 — and maybe the nation — but hey, Bobby Petrino is the Bears’ new coach.

68. New Hampshire at Kansas, Sept. 5: New Hampshire helped beget Chip Kelly and Alex Grinch.

69. North Dakota at Kansas State, Sept. 12: This is just me, but I would be wary of scheduling any team that includes the name “Dakota.”

70. South Dakota at Iowa State, Sept. 5: The Coyotes played in Norman last September and lost 70-14.

71. Eastern Kentucky at West Virginia, Sept. 12: Seems like these schools would be fairly close, but they’re 332 miles apart.

72. Prairie View A&M at TCU, Sept. 12: Ken Houston, Otis Taylor, Clem Daniels, Jim Kearney. Time was, Prairie View turned out some ballplayers.

73. Alabama State at Texas Tech, Sept. 12: Alabama State, South Carolina State, Tennessee State, Kentucky State. All historically black colleges. Wonder why Langston wasn’t called Oklahoma State? OSU didn’t adopt the name until 1957.

74. Incarnate Word at Baylor, Sept. 19: I apologize, but I think of Incarnate Word as an NAIA program that should be playing Mary Hardin-Baylor.

75. Western Illinois at Oklahoma State, Sept. 19: The Leathernecks went 1-11 last season. Ugh.