COUGAR TRACKS

10 Must-Watch Big 12 Nonconference Games In 2023

May 10, 2023, 11:23 AM | Updated: 11:25 am

SALT LAKE CITYย – Big 12 football will be filled with intrigue again for the 2023 season. The conference play should be entertaining, but who doesn’t love a good nonconference matchup?

With the Big 12 still requiring its members to play at least one nonconference game against a Power Five opponent, it creates some must-see games before league play starts.

Top 10 Big 12 Football Nonconference Games

Here are ten games involving Big 12 football teams that will be must-see nonconference matchups in 2023.

1. TCU vs. Colorado, Sept. 2

What’s the follow-up act for TCU under Sonny Dykes after a National Championship game appearance? Also, the Coach Prime debut is going to be fascinating. Then there’s the backdrop of Big 12 vs. Pac-12. TCU will be a sizable favorite, but this game will be must-see TV.

2. Texas at Alabama, Sept. 9

Last year’s game between Texas and Alabama was a classic on the Forty Acres as the Crimson Tide squeaked out a 20-19 win over their future SEC foe. Unlike last year, when the Crimson Tide had No. 1 NFL draft pick Bryce Young at QB, the Longhorns have the edge at QB this year with Quinn Ewers. While Alabama will have a QB debate rage on into fall camp after the addition of Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner.

3. Texas Tech vs. Oregon, Sept. 9

These two programs haven’t faced off against one another since 1992. Texas Tech comes in with heightened expectations in year two under Joey McGuire. The same can be said for Oregon under second-year coach Dan Lanning.

4. Baylor vs. Utah, Sept. 9

Baylor looks to have a bounce-back season after a disappointing 6-7 campaign a year ago. The Bears will have an opportunity to show last year was a fluke when they face the two-time defending Pac-12 champion Utah Utes in Waco. It’s the first meeting ever between the two schools.

5. BYU at Arkansas, Sept. 16

The first barometer game for Big 12 newcomer BYU. Last season, Arkansas torched BYU’s defense, racking up 644 yards of offense. Kalani Sitake’s teams have consistently performed well in revenge games. The downside for BYU is that Arkansas QB KJ Jefferson is still around. So they will have to find a way to slow him down.

6. UCF at Boise State, Sept. 9

This matchup was a crown jewel for Group of Five football. Now it brings a Power Five element to the mix, with UCF moving up from the AAC to the Big 12. The Knights make the long 2,623-mile trip to the Blue Turf to face the Broncos.

7. West Virginia at Penn State, Sept. 2

*On KSL 5 TV

An old-school rivalry gets renewed in Happy Valley in week one when West Virginia takes on Penn State. The two programs used to play annually from 1947-1992 when they were FBS Independents. But the rivalry went by the wayside after the Nittany Lions moved to the Big Ten in the 90s and West Virginia to the Big East. West Virginia has one of the league’s toughest nonconference schedules, with Penn State and Pitt on the slate.

8. Kansas State at Missouri, Sept. 16

An old Big 8 matchup is renewed as the defending Big 12 champions travel to Columbia to face Missouri. Last year, the Wildcats defeated Mizzou 40-12 in Manhattan. This matchup will be the 99th meeting all-time on the gridiron between the two schools.

9. Oklahoma State at Arizona State, Sept. 9

The Cowboys had a wild off-season with transfer portal movement, but they have a favorable schedule that could pose opportunities to surprise people this season. They travel to Tempe for a good nonconference test against Arizona State. Last year, the Pokes defeated ASU 34-17 in Stillwater.

10. Iowa State vs. Iowa, Sept. 9

Last year, Iowa State ended a six-game losing streak to Iowa to claim the CyHawk Trophy for the first time in the Matt Campbell era. Iowa State is looking to return to the postseason after a disappointing 4-8 season. Iowa’s revised contract for offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz requiring 25 points per game and seven wins, makes this rivalry even more interesting this season.

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Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12โ€“3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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10 Must-Watch Big 12 Nonconference Games In 2023