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Friday, May 15, 2009
The ultimate Big 12 road trip 2009


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

It's never too early to start thinking about the upcoming season and the games that the Big 12 will provide.

During a flight of fancy last night, I sat down and plotted my ultimate dream schedule if I could watch what I now consider the best game every week.

Here's my list, including a running total of the miles I would travel from my San Antonio home:

Week 1: Georgia at Oklahoma State, Sept. 5 -- This might be the best nonconference game of the season for a Big 12 team as Mike Gundy's Cowboys face the Bulldogs. It should be a clash of two top 20 teams in the season opener. We'll get an early opportunity to see whether the Cowboys are as legitimate as their preseason publicity might suggest.

Week 2: Kansas at UTEP, Sept. 12 -- Can Kansas really challenge for the Big 12 North title? We should learn a lot more about the Jayhawks' defense as they try to contain UTEP quarterback Trevor Vittatoe. Besides, it will mean some pregame enchiladas and rellenos at Kiki's in El Paso, one of the greatest hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants I've ever been to.

Week 3: Texas Tech at Texas, Sept. 19 -- Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree are both gone, but emotion will be high as the Longhorns hope for revenge for their only loss last season.

Week 4: Missouri at Nevada, Sept. 25 -- I just have a funny feeling that this game will be very competitive. It will be the Wolf Pack's chance to show off quarterback Colin Kaepernick to the nation. And it will be an interesting test for Blaine Gabbert and the retooled Missouri offense.

Week 5: Oklahoma at Miami, Oct. 3 -- The Sooners' toughest test before the Texas game will feature a trip to the newly named Land Shark Stadium. It will bring back memories of Barry Switzer squaring off with Jimmy Johnson in those classic battles of the 1980s.

Week 6: Oklahoma State at Texas A&M, Oct. 10 -- Are the Cowboys really legitimate contenders to challenge for the South title? To do so they need to win at Kyle Field -- a place where they have won at only once in six tries since the Big 12 was formed.

Week 7: Texas vs. Oklahoma at Dallas, Oct. 17 -- Is there any real choice? The intensity for this game is at a fever pitch and kickoff is still 162 days away

Week 8: Texas A&M at Texas Tech , Oct. 24 -- The nation's most underrated blood feud should be interesting this season after Mike Leach's comments about Stephen McGee and Mike Sherman's response.

Week 9: Texas at Oklahoma State, Oct. 31 -- Many observers think that this will be Texas' toughest road game -- including me. The Longhorns have won 11 straight games in the series, including four of the last five with stirring comebacks.

Week 10: Oklahoma at Nebraska, Nov. 7 -- The Sooners have dominated this rivalry since Bob Stoops took over. But Bo Pelini should have the Cornhuskers peaking about this time as they challenge for the North title.

Week 11: Nebraska at Kansas, Nov. 14 -- Could the North Division title be settled in this game? Todd Reesing will be gunning for revenge after his disappointment in the Jayhawks' loss in Lincoln last season.

Week 12: Oklahoma at Texas Tech, Nov. 21 -- Leach remembers the beatdown his team took in Norman last season for Tech's only conference loss. Sam Bradford remembers his concussion the last time he played at Jones AT&T Stadium. And Stoops remembers losing his last two games there.

Week 13: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, Nov. 28 -- The Big 12 South title likely will be decided in this game. It will be interesting to see if Bill Young does a better job against the Sooners than former coordinator Tim Beckman did last season. The Sooners finished the game with eight straight possessions that resulted in scores.

Week 14: Big 12 championship game at Arlington, Texas, Dec. 5 -- Hopefully a berth in the national championship game will be at stake in this game. It might be the only championship game contested at Jerry World in the foreseeable future.

Total miles traveled during the season: 14,522 miles.