5. Arizona State
When: Sept. 10, 9 p.m. (CT)
Where: Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, AZ.
TV info: FS1
ASU’s odds to win 2017 national title (VegasInsider.com): 150 to 1
Importance: This is the Red Raiders’ marquee non-conference matchup and could set the tone for the rest of the season much like the matchups with Arkansas did the past two years. The Sun Devils will likely be favored at home and no doubt Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham, a Texas native and former Allen High School coach, will be looking to avenge the 2013 Holiday Bowl loss. If the Red Raiders can win this game and take care of business against other non-conference foes Stephen F. Austin and Louisiana Tech, they could easily be looking at a 5-1 or 6-0 record early on before they plunge into the meat of their Big 12 schedule.
Last meeting: Texas Tech won 37-23 in 2013 Holiday Bowl
Past five meetings: Tied 1-1
All-time series: Tied 1-1
When: Nov. 5, kickoff time TBA
Where: Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, TX
TV info: TBA
UT’s odds to win the national title: 80 to 1
Importance: Some are going to take issue with the Longhorns not being higher on the list, but the truth is Texas has fallen off quite a bit. This is not the 2008 matchup of two top 10 teams. That being said the UT matchup will always be a big draw at The Jones and I expect the crowd in Lubbock to be electric for this one as well. No matter the circumstance nor UT’s current standing in the college football world, a win over the Longhorns is always a big deal for Texas Tech and Red Raider nation. A win over UT next season would also mark just the fifth time the Red Raiders have notched consecutive wins over the Longhorns and the first time since 1997-98.
Last meeting: Texas Tech won 48-45 in Austin, TX
Past five meetings: Texas 4-1
All-time series: Texas leads 49-16
When: Nov. 25, 5 p.m. (CT)
Where: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX
TV info: ESPN
BU’s odds to win 2017 national title: 35 to 1
Importance: Following two decades of dominance where the Red Raiders won 18 of 20 matchups, including 15 in a row, Baylor has flipped the script and won the past five games by an average margin of 18 points. With Art Briles gone and the Bears' program in shambles Tech is looking for a little payback. This game is the regular season finale for the Red Raiders and will likely hold pretty big ramifications as to where Tech will go bowling. More than that it would be Kliff Kingsbury's first victory over Baylor as head coach. Fair or not, the 2016 season could likely be judged on the outcome of this game.
Last meeting: Baylor won 63-35 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.
Past five meetings: Baylor 5-0
All-time series: Baylor leads 37-36-1
When: Oct. 29, kickoff time TBA
Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, TX
TV info: TBA
TCU’s odds to win 2017 national title: 40 to 1
Importance: It wasn't too long ago that Tech appeared to have TCU's number by winning three of four contests played between 2004-2013, including their first two matchups as Big 12 opponents. TCU blew that up with an 82-27 shelling in 2014 and then squeaked by last season in Lubbock. The Horned Frogs reside in one of, if not the Red Raiders' most important recruiting areas and largest alumni base. Ending the losing streak against TCU would give Tech a 3-2 advantage in Big 12 play, could potentially provide a huge boost to recruiting, with no doubt several targets for both squads likely in attendance and finally give Red Raider nation some much needed bragging rights around the water cooler.
Last meeting: TCU won 55-52 in Lubbock, TX
Past five meetings: TCU 3-2
All-time series: Texas Tech leads 30-25-3
When: Oct. 22, kickoff time TBA
Where: Jones AT&T Stadium
TV info: TBA
OU’s odds to win 2017 national title: 12 to 1
Importance: Story lines abound for this juicy matchup which will feature a whole lot of good old fashioned hate. Of course, former quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has gone scorched Earth on Kingsbury, the Tech football program and Lubbock since leaving during the 2013 season, will garner most of the headlines. Though nobody will admit it, a win for Kingsbury and the program over Mayfield would be provide a lot of satisfaction for everyone involved with the program. That being said, the potential stakes of this game are way bigger than just the Mayfield narrative. If things go Tech's way in Tempe it's not out of the question for Tech to be 5-1 or 6-0 and possibly ranked when the Sooners roll into town. A win over the Sooners, which Kingsbury has failed to accomplish so far, would be a feather in his cap and would likely turn Mahomes' Heisman chances into a reality. I expect a rabid Tech crowd to create a great atmosphere and for the game to definitely be one to remember... one way or another.
Last meeting: Oklahoma won 63-27 in Norman, OK
Past five meetings: Oklahoma 4-1
All-time series: Oklahoma leads 17-6