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Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Ranking Big 12 games: Part III

By Jake Trotter

As we await Big 12 media days next week, we're taking this week to rank all 75 Big 12 games, both in and out of conference, from worst to first.

Today we continue with Nos. 45-31:

No. 45. Kansas at Duke (Sept. 13): The Blue Devils are coming off an appearance in the ACC title game, but if the Kansas defense plays up to its potential, the Jayhawks might have a chance to make this one interesting.

No. 44. Minnesota at TCU (Sept. 13): Minnesota won eight games last year while TCU lost eight. But with the bulk of a stout defense returning, the Horned Frogs should have the better team in 2014.

No. 43. West Virginia at Texas Tech (Oct. 11): This was one of the more exciting games in the league last year. With a fourth-quarter comeback, Tech moved into the top 10 of the polls, while West Virginia won just once the rest of the year. This could be another fork-in-the-road matchup for both squads.

No. 42. West Virginia at Oklahoma State (Oct. 25): If Oklahoma State QB J.W. Walsh plays this season the way he did last year at West Virginia, the Cowboys will be in major trouble.

No. 41. Oklahoma State at TCU (Oct. 18): Oklahoma State will finally travel to Fort Worth after playing host to TCU the last two years.

No. 40. TCU at SMU (Sept. 27): Playing the Mustangs every year in this mild Metroplex rivalry has been a positive for TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte, who has one fewer game to worry about scheduling.

No. 39. TCU at West Virginia (Nov. 1): In their two meetings as Big 12 members, the Horned Frogs and Mountaineers have played three overtimes -- with the road team prevailing both times.

No. 38. Oklahoma at West Virginia (Sept. 20): To the relief of Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, Tavon Austin is not expected to be inside Milan Puskar Stadium this time.

No. 37. Kansas State at Iowa State (Sept. 6): As the first Big 12 game of the conference season, Farmageddon will get the limelight it warrants.

No. 36. Baylor at Iowa State (Sept. 27): Iowa State got spanked in Waco last year. But this game is in Ames, where the Cyclones often take highly ranked teams to the brink. Plus, the Bears could get caught looking ahead to a clash at Texas the following weekend.

No. 35. Oklahoma at Iowa State (Nov. 1): Iowa State got spanked in Norman last year. But this game is in Ames, where the Cyclones often take highly ranked teams to the brink. Plus, the Sooners could get caught looking ahead to a clash with Baylor the following weekend.

No. 34. West Virginia at Texas (Nov. 8): The Mountaineers and Longhorns have staged two thrilling finishes the last two years. West Virginia's trip to Austin two years ago was the last time the Mountaineers' faithful felt secure about their standing in the Big 12.

No. 33. Kansas State at West Virginia (Nov. 20): The Wildcats have bludgeoned West Virginia 55-14 and 35-12 in their two conference meetings. But a November trip to Morgantown on a Thursday night will not be an easy one for K-State.

No. 32. Iowa State at Texas (Oct. 18): The Cyclones -- and coach Paul Rhoads -- are still fuming at last year's no-call fumble at the goal line that essentially handed Texas the win. Iowa State will be out for revenge.

No. 31. SMU at Baylor (Aug. 31): Welcome to McLane Stadium, home of the Baylor Bears.