Northern Iowa - Aug. 31
University of Northern Iowa struggled last season and finished with a 7-6 record, but the team did upset FCS-ranked opponents in No. 2 South Dakota State and No. 13 Illinois State. With that being said, UNI lost to its only FBS opponent, University of Iowa, 38-14, and simply lacks the offensive and defensive punch to threaten Iowa State.
Iowa - Sept. 14
The Hawkeyes went 9-4 last season, and their only win against a ranked opponent was against Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl. This coming season, Iowa returns one of the best pass rushers in the nation in defensive end AJ Espinesa as well as senior quarterback Nate Stanley and an experienced offense. The Hawkeyes will be one of the best teams Iowa State faces early in the season.
Louisiana-Monroe - Sept. 21
Louisiana-Monroe went 6-6 last season in the Sun Belt Conference and they will be a tune-up game after the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk game and the start of the Big 12 season for Iowa State.
Baylor (away)- Sept. 28
After going 7-6 last season, head coach Matt Rhule will be entering his third season with the Bears after going 1-11 during his first season with Baylor in 2017. Baylor returns one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12, Charlie Brewer, who passed for 3,019 yards, 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Against Iowa State last season, Brewer was ejected halfway through the fourth quarter and Iowa State took the game 28-14.
TCU - Oct. 5
The Horned Frogs went 7-6 last season, but they did beat Iowa State in Ames 17-14. The Horned Frogs started three different quarterbacks last season, with none finding much consistency in the offense, but TCU does have solid offensive pieces like depth at the running back and receiver Jalen Reagor, who had 1,061 receiving yards last season.
West Virginia (away) - Oct. 12
With head coach Dana Holgorsen gone after going 8-4 last season, West Virginia now has Neal Brown at the helm. Brown was previously at Troy and had a 35-16 record there. Now with the Mountaineers, Brown needs to replace quarterback Will Grier and of their top four receivers, only one is returning this coming season.
Texas Tech (away) - Oct. 19
After firing Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech will have former Utah State coach Matt Wells at the helm for the Red Raiders. Wells had a record of 30-18 with Utah State.
With a 5-7 record last season, the Red Raiders will be a far cry from a Big 12 Championship contending team, but quarterback Alan Bowman—who was a true freshman last season—could be special. In the eight games Bowman appeared in due to injury, he had 2,638 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions, which is better than Brock Purdy’s 2,250 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions in nine games.
Oklahoma State - Oct. 26
Coach Mike Gundy’s squad went 7-6 last season and will be without quarterback Taylor Cornelius and running back Justice Hill, but the team does return Tylan Wallace at wide receiver. Wallace led the team in catches with 86 and also in touchdown receptions with 12.
Even with new quarterbacks and running backs in the mix, Gundy’s teams have always been competitive. The last time the Cowboys failed to make a bowl game was 2005.
Oklahoma (away) - Nov. 9
Like a revolving door, Oklahoma has a new transfer quarterback ready to set the league ablaze. Before it was Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, and now Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts is in the fold. Hurts had a four to one touchdown-to-interception ratio for the Crimson Tide in his career and in a wide open offense at Oklahoma, his numbers should only blossom.
The Sooners also return Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks at running back. Together, the two players combined for 2,003 yards and 25 touchdowns. The Sooners are going to score a lot of points next season and should be the favorite to win the Big 12 Championship.
Texas - Nov. 16
The Longhorns went 10-4 last season in the second season for coach Tom Herman, which saw quarterback Sam Ehilnger emerge as one of the best quarterbacks in the conference.
Ehlinger passed for 3,292 yards, 25 touchdowns and five interceptions and has the best statistics of any returning quarterback in the conference. Only Oklahoma State’s Taylor Cornelius, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and West Virginia’s Will Grier had more passing yards a game than Ehlinger.
Outside of Ehlinger, the team has talent across the board and will compete with Oklahoma for the Big 12’s best. Depending on Iowa State’s record come Nov. 16, this game could be another scenario where the winner gets to advance to the championship game.
Kansas State (away)- Nov. 30
Kansas State is experiencing the end of an era with the retirement of coach Bill Snyder, who coached the Wildcats for 27 seasons.
Snyder’s replacement, Chris Klieman, is familiar with dynasties after leading perennial FCS powerhouse to four national championships in only five seasons with the team.
Klieman, a native of Waterloo, Iowa, will be taking over a Wildcat team, which went 5-7 last season, and will be replacing much of its running back corps.