Five most intriguing new Big 12 matchups in 2023

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The Big 12 released its 2023 schedule on Tuesday night and the sound heard around the internet was one of excitement for what is sure to be a one-year bonanza of football ridiculousness. The conference is overloaded with teams thanks to the additions of BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston. Texas and Oklahoma are at least a year away from exiting for the Big 12. 

A new-look conference provides viewers with brand new matchups. Here are five new games to look forward to in 2023. 

1. Texas at Houston (Week 8)

The last time these two old Southwest Conference foes met was 2002. The last time they met in Houston was 2001. Most of the players in the game weren’t even alive back then, much less for the last time the pair played in a conference game – 1995. The home game helps Houston with a big pay day considering it’ll be a sellout. Whether it’ll be full of red or burnt orange is to be determined by the first seven weeks of the season. 

2. Oklahoma at Cincinnati (Week 4) 

The Bearcats are amongst the best programs in college football over the past five years and receive an early-season opportunity to prove that the former bullies of the AAC can hang with the big dogs on a consistent basis. Cincinnati, while under new leadership, is used to winning. The program is 53-9 since the start of 2018. They were 33-5 in conference play during that time. Oklahoma is too talented to struggle for another season. We’ll learn a lot about both teams in Week 4. 

3. TCU at Houston (Week 3) 

Dana Holgorsen and Sonny Dykes were wide receiver coaches on the first staff Mike Leach put together at Texas Tech earlier this century. Leach needed the two to get on the recruit and go recruiting, so he took out a map and spread it on the table. He circled DFW and told Dykes to go there, and then he pointed at Houston and instructed Holgorsen to go there. The rest is history. 

4. Texas Tech vs. UCF (Week 12) 

This game won’t get a ton of attention in the schedule reveal, but it should. UCF has won nine games in five of its last six seasons, including a 9-5 mark in 2022. Gus Malzahn is 18-9 in two seasons at the helm. Texas Tech beat Texas and Oklahoma at home in the same season for the first time in school history and finished with a winning record in the Big 12 for the first time since 2009. 

5. Baylor at UCF (Week 5) 

Give me a Malzahn offense playing chess against Dave Aranda’s defense every week. Both teams want to win at the line of scrimmage, establish the run game, and break an opponent’s will by the fourth quarter. Isn’t that what football is about? Baylor starts with four home games so the game against UCF is the first road trip of the season for the Bears, and it takes place a week after hosting Texas. 

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