Many teams will be looking for revenge on the reigning Big 12 champion Oklahoma State Cowboys next season. That fact will lead to many highly anticipated games in 2012, and I'm here to tell you which are the most so.
New opponents and rivalries thanks to conference realignment will also help with some of the anticipation for certain games next season. The Cowboys will have their work cut out for them if they wish to replicate their success from 2011.
Here are the five most highly anticipated games on the Cowboys' schedule for the 2012 college football season.
Oklahoma State and TCU have played very few games against each other in their histories, so this game is highly anticipated simply because it will be the first of many.
The Cowboys should have the edge not just in talent but also by situation. The Horned Frogs will be finding out just how tough it is to win in a top-notch football conference after dominating the Mountain West over the past few seasons.
Still, look for this to be a great game in Stillwater.
One of the Cowboys' best games of 2011 was in Stillwater in early November against Kansas State. A nail-biter, that contest ended in the waning seconds after Wildcat quarterback Collin Klein's pass fell incomplete in the end zone.
This season, Kansas State returns nearly all of its talent, while the Cowboys have younger, inexperienced players to work with. The game is also in Manhattan, which will make it even tougher.
Oklahoma State will still have the edge talent-wise, but KSU coach Bill Snyder is the best in the business at getting the most out of his players. It will be a tough, fun-to-watch contest.
After defeating the Longhorns two years in a row in Austin, this game finally comes back to Stillwater in 2012 for the Cowboys. They'll definitely need that this season.
Against a Texas team that has consistently gotten better over the past few seasons, this younger Cowboy team will greatly benefit from getting to play this game at home. Unlike most of the games on the schedule, the Cowboys will almost always be at a significant talent disadvantage in this game.
However, playing at home and having a solid defense as is expected could lead to an unprecedented third win in a row against Texas for this Cowboy team.
The Mountaineers' thrashing of Clemson in the Orange Bowl back in January was nothing if not a fitting audition for joining the offenses of the Big 12. West Virginia and Oklahoma State have extremely similar offenses for one big reason.
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen was the Cowboy offensive coordinator back in 2010 and helped install the pass-happy offense the Cowboys now run. He took the system with him to Mountaineer country and is now headed back to the Big 12.
Another team that must come to Stillwater, the Mountaineers have the talent and offensive firepower to challenge anyone anywhere. So will the Cowboys, though, which should make for a great game.
Could any other game be the most anticipated?
Bedlam is just that every year for Oklahoma State, but this year's game is in Norman against an Oklahoma team that kept most of its star power from last season. It will be an extremely tough game, but not an impossible one.