Big 12 Football: Every Team's Toughest Road Game in 2014

Sean FryeFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2014

Big 12 Football: Every Team's Toughest Road Game in 2014

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    Fans in the Midwest love their football, making the Big 12 home to some of the best and loudest stadiums in college football. 

    Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State and K-State have some of the most raucous crowds in the nation. 

    A road game in league play last year cost Baylor—which went on to win the Big 12—a shot at the national championship. In 2012, a trip to Waco, Texas, cost K-State the same shot. 

    Life on the road in the Big 12 isn't easy, and that's sure to hold true in 2014. Let's check out each team's toughest road game in the upcoming season. 

Baylor: November 8, at Oklahoma

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    Baylor should have enough talent coming back this season to make a run at back-to-back Big 12 titles. 

    But if the Bears want to repeat, they'll have to get over the huge hump that is Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. 

    Bob Stoops defends Norman like it's the Alamo with his 87-5 record at home. The Sooners were undefeated there last year, and the last two losses were in 2012 to Notre Dame and K-State. The Irish played for a national title, and the Wildcats won the Big 12 that season. 

    Art Briles has turned Baylor into a powerhouse, but he has yet to win in Norman. If you want to truly establish your program as the top dog in the conference, a win at Gaylord would do a lot for that cause. 

Iowa State: October 4, at Oklahoma State

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    Iowa State's first five games are brutal, but it doesn't get any worse than a road trip to Stillwater, Oklahoma, to start off the month of October. 

    The Cyclones may very well be 0-4 heading into their matchup with Oklahoma State, as they face North Dakota State —the FCS powerhouse that's undefeated in its last four meetings against FBS teams—as well K-State, Iowa and Baylor. 

    So after being battered to start the year, a trip to Boone Pickens Stadium may seem like salt in an open wound at that point. 

    The Cowboys figure to be in the chase for the conference title, while Iowa State is likely to go a second straight year without bowl eligibility and is reeling from a two-win season in Big 12 play last season. 

Kansas: September 13, at Duke

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    Yes, Kansas has to travel to Baylor, Oklahoma and K-State this year, meeting the latter two in back-to-back weeks to end the year. 

    But all three of those games are in the second half of the season, when the Jayhawks' campaign will likely already be a lost cause. 

    The real punch in the gut on the road this year will be in just the second game of the year for Kansas, when it has to travel to North Carolina to face reigning ACC runner-up Duke. 

    The Blue Devils saw a resurgence of their football program last year, so you have to figure that attendance will be way up in 2014. So Kansas is not only going halfway across the country to face a talented team, but it will be facing a fanbase that is already known for being rabid at basketball games and now has a reason to show up on Saturdays in the fall. 

    That spells trouble for Charlie Weis and Co. 

Kansas State: December 6, at Baylor

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    The last time K-State visited Waco, the Wildcats saw their national title dreams dashed in 2012 by a Baylor team that went on to win a Big 12 title of its own. 

    Now for the last regular-season game of the season, K-State returns to the scene of one of the program's most notorious losses in history. 

    Kansas State played Baylor tough last season, losing by just 10 points at home. The Wildcats figure to be in the hunt for the Big 12 championship this season, especially since they face many of their toughest opponents at home. 

    But this final week will seal the fate for both these squads and could be one of the most exciting games of the entire year. 

Oklahoma: November 15, at Texas Tech

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    Here's who Oklahoma gets to face at home in 2015: Oklahoma State, Texas, Baylor, K-State and Tennessee. 

    Those are easily the Sooners' five toughest opponents this season, and all of them have to make the trip to Norman. 

    That leaves just Iowa State, Texas Tech, TCU, WVU and Tulsa as the road games—and of course the Red River Rivalry against Texas at the Cotton Bowl, a neutral site. 

    Of those road games (not counting Texas because it's neutral site), Texas Tech will likely be the toughest opponent. The Red Raiders are always capable of pulling a big upset with that Air Raid offense under Kliff Kingsbury. 

Oklahoma State: November 22, at Baylor

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    Remember that fateful night in 2013 that saw Oklahoma State steal away Baylor's chance at a national title? 

    Well, the Cowboys have to make the trip to Waco this year, and you better believe the Bears will be bloodthirsty this time around. 

    Not only does Oklahoma State have to go on the road to face the defending conference champions who are looking for revenge, but it will have to go to Baylor's new stadium as well, which is bound to be louder and more raucous than last year. 

    This game is also the third of a back-loaded four-game stretch to end the year for Oklahoma State that starts with K-State and Texas and ends with the Bedlam Rivalry game against Oklahoma. 

TCU: November 27, at Texas

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    This was a tossup between TCU's trips to Baylor and Texas, both in-state rivals that should receive higher rankings in the preseason polls than the Horned Frogs. 

    But regardless of Texas' recent struggles, the Longhorns still have the toughest stadium to play at in the Lone Star State, making TCU's late-season trip to face the Longhorns its toughest road trip in 2014. 

    Texas throttled the Horned Frogs last year 30-7, and the Longhorns are looking to improve in 2014, while TCU is in the midst of rebuilding. 

    It's never easy to win at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, and that's doubly true for a team like TCU that's struggling to find its footing in the Big 12. 

Texas: October 25, at Kansas State

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    If you visit Manhattan, Kansas, you'll discover that one of the most popular sayings amongst K-State fans is "We own Texas." 

    The origin? The fact that the Wildcats have lost to Texas just once since 2006 on the gridiron, and that was last season in Austin. 

    The last time Texas travelled to the Little Apple? K-State sealed the Big 12 that night and stormed the field. 

    Bill Snyder is rarely outcoached, and he has a penchant for beating the Longhorns. With Texas likely to go through a year of growing pains with its new head coach, a trip to Manhattan is likely to bring all sorts of problems to the Longhorns. 

Texas Tech: September 25, at Oklahoma State

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    Texas Tech has built a reputation in the past few years for getting off to a hot start, only to cool off down the stretch. 

    Well, a September trip to Stillwater, Oklahoma, will put that theory to the test as the Red Raiders hit the road to face Oklahoma State to kick off Big 12 play. 

    As mentioned earlier, Oklahoma State looks to be in the hunt for the Big 12 title. Texas Tech has a lot of potential, but competing for the conference championship is likely still a few years away. 

    The Red Raiders have a pretty easy road schedule, as they don't have to travel to Oklahoma, Texas or Baylor. But Boone Pickens Stadium has a way of swallowing up contenders, and Texas Tech could be a victim. 

West Virginia: November 8, at Texas

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    Despite West Virginia's struggles to adapt to the Big 12 lifestyle, it has gone 1-1 against Texas and has played well in both games. 

    Last year, in Morgantown, the Mountaineers lost a heartbreaker 47-40 in overtime. The year before, Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Co. led WVU to a 48-45 win at Texas. 

    But this year is different. Texas is trying to make another run at a Big 12 title, which it was one win away from last season, while WVU is reeling from its worst season in recent memory and doesn't have a decent option at quarterback. 

    That means a November matchup against the Longhorns, who should at that point be close to fully adapted to Charlie Strong's system, is less than ideal for Dana Holgorsen, who is likely in a do-or-die year.