Friday, June 24, 2016

Week 1 Big 12 schedule highlights

                                  Photo Credit: Geno Green

While everyone enjoys the fruits of summer vacations across the country, the aroma of charcoal grills and tailgates on Saturday afternoons in the fall are closer than you think as the first full weekend of games begin on Sept. 1.

Here are some of the key Big 12 non-conference games to watch for:

Oklahoma vs Houston at NRG Stadium, Sept. 3, 11 a.m., ABC

If you are a fan of great quarterback play, than this game could satisfy anyone's appetite as Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Houston's Greg Ward Jr. will duel it out in Houston.

After transferring from Texas Tech after the 2013 season and redshirting in 2014, Mayfield's impact was made last fall with a career-high 36 touchdown passes. 

Oklahoma's run to the College Football Playoff semifinal round helped play a key role in Mayfield being named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.

Ward Jr. proved to be a dual threat in 2015 by finishing second in the nation in rushing yards (1,108) and touchdowns (21) from under center.

Notre Dame at Texas, Sept. 4, 6:30 p.m., ABC

In a rare, high-profile Sunday night game, Texas will be out for revenge on Notre Dame after a 38-3 in South Bend to begin last season.

With a new offensive coordinator on the Longhorns' staff and a tough non-conference road trip to California two weeks later, coach Charlie Strong needs this win if any momentum can be made towards winning more than five games this season.

Kansas State at Stanford, Sept. 2, 8 p.m., FS1

One of the more underrated games of opening weekend takes place in Pao Alto as two of the more successful teams this decade meet.

Wildcats coach Bill Snyder oversaw a Big 12 championship in 2012 and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl, while Cardinal coach David Shaw is fresh off leading a 45-16 thrashing of the Iowa Hawkeyes in last season's Rose Bowl Game.

Expect points to be at a premium in the opener, or maybe not.

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