Football-wise, the Big 12 (aka. Oklahoma and the nine others) is barely hanging on, now that Nebraska is in the Big Ten and Colorado bolted to the Pac-12.
The 2011 season, which is just over a month away, marks the first time that the Big 12 won't play a conference championship game in football. This means that the newly instituted round-robin schedule will mean more than ever in determining the formality that will be, in our minds, the Sooners' crown.
Before OU posts up in New Orleans on January 9, 2012 for the BCS National Championship, here are five games involving Big 12 teams that are most definitely laying-in-your-own-filth-in-front-of-the-TV worthy.
5. Baylor vs. TCU, September 2 If former University of Houston skipper and current Baylor main man Art Briles can find a way to shore up his defense, the Bears, led by Heisman darkhorse quarterback Robert Griffin III, might surprise. They'll first need to knock off a Horned Frogs team that lost seven starters on offense, including QB Andy Dalton, and five on D.
Prediction: TCU 24, Baylor 20
4. Missouri at Arizona State, September 9 The Blaine Gabbert-less Tigers won't be as awesome as last year, but they have the potential to make some noise. After opening the season against the cream puffs from Miami (Ohio), Mizzou travels to Tempe to face Pac-12 South frontrunners ASU in a marquee, nationally televised ESPN Friday-night donnybrook.
Prediction: ASU 31, Missouri 16
3. Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma State, September 24 With Governor Rick Perry, uh, Ryan Tannehill under center, the Aggies will look to avenge the last-second defeat handed to them by the Cowboys in a game that ended up meaning a lot more to last year's conference standings than a lot of people expected.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 32, Texas A&M 30
2. Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma, December 3 Landry Jones to Ryan Broyles will be greater than Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon during this Bedlam edition that will send the Sooners to the Big Easy. A scheduling quirk means the Sooners must play in Stillwater for a second consecutive year. It won't matter.
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Prediction: Oklahoma 49, Oklahoma State 38
1. Oklahoma at Florida State, September 17 This game is early enough that even if OU loses, they'll have two-plus months to make up for it. The Seminoles, a trendy top-five pick, should perform much better in Tallahassee compared to last year's faceplant in Norman.
Prediction: Oklahoma 41, Florida State 35
Honorable mention (in chronological order): Texas A&M vs. SMU, September 4 Texas vs. BYU, September 10 Oklahoma vs. Missouri, September 24 Texas A&M vs. Arkansas in Arlington, October 1 Oklahoma vs. Texas in Dallas, October 8 Texas A&M vs Texas, November 24 Baylor vs. Texas, December 3