- David Ubben, College Football
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Time to start analyzing each team's schedule across the Big 12. Next up, those Cowboys up in Stillwater.
Nonconference (with 2011 records):
Sept. 1: Savannah State (1-10)
Sept. 8: at Arizona (4-8)
Sept. 15: Louisiana-Lafayette (9-4)
Home Big 12 games:
Sept. 29: Texas (8-5)
Oct. 20: Iowa State (6-7)
Oct. 27: TCU (11-2)
Nov. 10: West Virginia (10-3)
Nov. 17: Texas Tech (5-7)
Away Big 12 games:
Oct. 13: at Kansas (2-10)
Nov. 3: at Kansas State (10-3)
Nov. 24: at Oklahoma (10-3)
Dec. 1: at Baylor (10-3)
Non-con challenge: at Arizona. This will be a fun one, even if Oklahoma State rolls like it has in the matchup between these two teams in each of the past two seasons. OSU knocked off the Wildcats in the Alamo Bowl before embarrassing Arizona again in a game in Stillwater last year, the first of two Stoops brother-coached teams to lose at Boone Pickens Stadium. There's a new man in charge in Tucson, and former West Virginia/Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez will get a chance to prove himself early on. It'll also be a nice challenge in true freshman quarterback Wes Lunt's first road game and first real competition.
Gut-check game: Texas. This will be an early-season crossroads game. Neither team will necessarily prove itself with a win, but these two are just outside the legitimate contenders for the Big 12 title. Win this game, and people will start to take you seriously. It means the same for Texas, but OSU can win a third consecutive game against the Longhorns and sent a shot across the Big 12 that even without Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden, it's going to be a force in 2012.
Chance to impress: at Kansas State. Ask Baylor about how easy it is to go into Bill Snyder Family Stadium and get a win. Texas A&M can probably attest to the difficulty, too. OSU snuck out of its own stadium with a win last year in a game it may have lost if there were 30 more seconds on the clock, but the Cowboys were the only team to beat K-State in one of its nine one-score games last season. The Wildcats will be motivated and probably in the top 15. A win on the road for OSU in that scenario? Legit.
Snoozer: Savannah State. These guys went 1-10 in the FCS last season, and now they're signing up to try to beat the reigning Big 12 champs on their home field. Not gonna happen. The only intrigue in this game is how Lunt looks in his first game. Even if he's awful, OSU rolls. It'll be a learning experience for the young gun.
Final analysis: We didn't mention Bedlam yet, but the Thanksgiving weekend game will be a must-see date as the war of words heated up over the offseason. Oklahoma will be a heavy favorite, but Oklahoma State may still have Big 12 title aspirations. OSU gets a five-game home schedule, but plays three 10-win teams from 2011 on the road this season. Baylor won't be a 10-win team this year, but Kansas State and Oklahoma certainly have great shots to do it. Outside of the additional home game, it's a tough final stretch for the Cowboys, who finish the season on the road with trips to OU and Baylor. They also host West Virginia and travel to Kansas State as two more of their final five games. OSU isn't built to win big this year, but it will win, and if it can find a way to win a few of those close games down the stretch, should surprise some people and flirt with nine to 10 wins.
6dBrandon Chatmon and Jake Trotter
7dSam Khan Jr.
18dSam Khan Jr.