Valentine's Day is about love, old and new and as the Big East love West Virginia had was finally extinguished, the Mountaineers are now free to cuddle up with their new love; the Big XII. This is a pretty big day in Big Twelve country which has traded College Station, Texas and Columbia, Missouri for Morgantown, West Virginia and Fort Worth, Texas as gameday destinations.
West Virginia was able to settle their lawsuit with the Big East to the tune of $20 million dollars, a sizable portion of which will be paid by the Big Twelve in an effort to finally close this chapter of expansion out. Instead of being forced to sit in limbo waiting on a dying vine in the Big East the Mountaineers will be full members of the Big Twelve as of July 2012.
The Big Twelve and commissioner Chuck Neinas have been waiting on this green light and jumped on the chance to finally, after running through many possibilities and scenarios, release their schedule for the 2012 season. No more Texas A&M and Texas on Thanksgiving, no more Mizzou-Kansas to wrap up the season but we do have some quite compelling match ups when the schedule is examined with the additions and subtractions to the mix.
Of course we've got the classic Red River Shootout in Dallas between the Sooners and the Longhorns, Bedlam is still there (moved back to Thanksgiving weekend) and much of the Big Twelve games we've come to love will be there on a week in and week out basis.
Games of note beyond the usual suspects:
10/6 Oklahoma at Texas Tech
This was the game that started the slide for the Sooners. Tommy Tuberville's team went into Norman with a great gameplan, they stuck to the gameplan and after a lengthy weather delay the Red Raiders came out, gun blazing, and put the Sooners in the dirt. In 2012 Bob Stoops' team is on a mission to get back to a BCS bowl and they return to Lubbock a place this year's seniors lost as freshman 41-13.
10/13 TCU at Baylor
Last year's Baylor hype train got started when the Bears took down TCU to start the season on one of the first of many classic Friday night football games in 2011. Robert Griffin III won't be there for the Bears this season and as new conference foes expect Gary Patterson to come in ready to get a W under his belt in Waco. Casey Pachall is the man now and he will be the quarterback folks are talking about in this game unless Art Briles figures out how to replace RG3, Kendall wright and Terrance Ganaway on offense.
10/20 Iowa State at Oklahoma State
There was one thing that kept the Cowboys out of their first ever BCS Championship game, losing to Iowa State in November. Win that game against the Cyclones and the whole SEC rematch situation never comes to fruition.
11/3 Oklahoma State at Kansas State
While the world was watching the SEC showdown that was LSU and Alabama on November fifth, the Big XII was having their own big game of sorts. Kansas State and Oklahoma State were dueling it out in the total opposite fashion of the SEC's top two teams. Points and a lot of them were scored as the Cowboys emerged with a 52-45 victory by stopping Collin Klein on the games final play. They'll be back at it this November in Manhattan as both teams look to return to their 2011 form.
10/13 West Virginia at Texas Tech
11/10 West Virginia at Oklahoma State
Dana Holgorsen was the offensive coordinator for the Pokes before Oliver Luck saw the mad man as the perfect fit to run the show in Morgantown. Prior to his two year Houston stint Holgo was the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech from 2005-2007. He's got some deep roots here having coached at Lubbock and Stillwater and he'll be returning to both places during the Mountaineers maiden voyage into the Big XII. Should be quite interesting as the 'Eers bring Holgorsen's explosive style to the two places that helped groom the head coach for his first big time job.