The Big 12 Conference has seen Oklahoma take over in recent seasons, with the Sooners advancing to the College Football Playoff in three of the last four seasons as well as having the last two Heisman Trophy winners. But the rest of the conference is hoping 2019 is a different story. Here’s a look at some of the key contests that will help determine if that is true.
Oklahoma vs. Texas, Oct. 12
The Red River rivals faced off twice last season, with Texas taking the regular-season meeting in Dallas and Oklahoma winning the Big 12 Championship Game in Arlington, Texas. Now former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts joins the rivalry as Oklahoma’s signal caller. Former Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield may have added to the rivalry — if that’s possible — with recent disparaging comments about Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger. The Longhorns are looking to climb into the national championship race this season after winning their bowl game against Georgia last year, and winning this game against the highly-ranked Sooners would certainly help their cause.
Baylor at Oklahoma State, Oct. 19
A pair of potentially explosive offenses will match up in Stillwater in a game with potential title implications. The Bears have won five of the last seven meetings, including last season’s 35-31 shootout, but the Cowboys won the last meeting in Stillwater by a 59-16 score, Oklahoma State’s largest margin of victory in the 24 games the two schools have played. Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer is a dual threat, throwing for 3,019 yards and 19 touchdowns and rushing for 375 yards and seven scores as a sophomore in 2018. Oklahoma State will likely counter with redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders, but whoever is under center will have a plethora of weapons in coach Mike Gundy’s spread offense.
Iowa State at Oklahoma, Nov. 9
The last time the Cyclones played in Norman, they came away with a 38-31 victory over then-No. 3 Oklahoma. Unfortunately for Iowa State, that’s their only victory over Oklahoma in the last 19 meetings between the two. Sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy gives the Cyclones some hope though after the team went 7-2 with him as a starter as a true freshman. Purdy finished the season with 21 total touchdowns (16 passing, five rushing), and he gives Iowa State a puncher’s chance against anyone with his versatility.
Texas at Iowa State, Nov. 16
The second of a two-week gauntlet for the Cyclones brings a quarterback showdown between Purdy and Ehlinger. Iowa State has lost three straight in the series by lopsided margins, as the Longhorns’ defense has held the Cyclones to a combined 23 points in those games. Ehlinger threw for just 137 yards and a touchdown before leaving last year’s game with a shoulder injury, so he’ll be looking to bounce back in this one. The Texas defense recorded six sacks in the game, though this will be a different unit for the Longhorns after losing nine starters from that squad.
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, Nov. 30
The battle for Oklahoma could also factor into the battle for the Big 12 Championship Game, as both teams are hoping to be in the race at this point in the season. The Sooners have won four straight meetings in this rivalry, though it hasn’t been easy. Oklahoma won last season’s matchup 48-47 after holding off the high-scoring Cowboys 62-52 in 2017. The winning team in this rivalry has scored at least 30 points in nine straight meetings, which means this one should be another shootout as well.