Hitting the high points of the 2013 schedule

The Big 12 officially released its 2013 schedule this afternoon, a welcome development after being forced to wait until February -- just over six months before the season began -- to release the 2012 schedule.

You can see the full grid right here on the Big 12 website.

Anyway, here's a quick look at my top five games:

1. Oklahoma State at Texas, Nov. 16: It's tough to project this far out, but these are two solid teams with a lot of youth and a ton of returning talent in 2012. It just might be the game that decides the Big 12 title. Maturing quarterbacks Wes Lunt (or Clint Chelf) and David Ash will probably decide this one, but Oklahoma State's won its last two games in Austin.

2. Oklahoma vs. Texas in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, Oct. 12: Oh, Red River. No season is complete without it. The Big 12's signature rivalry is back once again, amidst the corny dogs and neutral site in Dallas. Could this be the game Blake Bell convinces America he can also throw the ball? I'm a believer in his arm, but we haven't seen it yet. The Sooners lose Landry Jones, but bring back plenty of talent and could still contend for a title.

3. The Big 12-SEC opening weekend. TCU will match up with LSU in Cowboys Stadium on Aug. 31 in easily the biggest nonconference game of the Big 12 season. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State faces Mississippi State in Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. These two leagues don't face each other enough, and will meet just twice in 2012. They'll have just as many meetings on the opening weekend of 2013. That's a move in the right direction.

4. Texas at TCU, Oct. 26. Two more young teams with a lot of room to grow. Will TCU have Casey Pachall back, or will the Trevone Boykin show be in full swing? Those are all questions for the coming months, but TCU is playing 70 percent freshmen and sophomores this year and dealing with injuries. This could be the game in which the Frogs announce their Big 12 title candidacy.

5. Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, Dec. 7: Maybe Bedlam won't decide the Big 12 title, but I'd be very, very surprised if it didn't evolve into a major factor in the title race on the season's final weekend. It's coming up fast on Red River as the Big 12's best rivalry, and the winner of this one might take home a trophy on championship weekend.