STILLWATER — A quick scan of the Oklahoma State football schedule released Tuesday points to Nov. 10 as an early date to circle.
That's when West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen and the high-powered, spread offense he installed at Oklahoma State will return to Stillwater during the Mountaineers' first season as a member of the Big 12.
Holgorsen turned OSU's offense into one of the nation's best and helped develop Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon into two of college football's biggest stars when he was the Cowboys' offensive coordinator in 2010. But he left Stillwater after one season to become the head coach at West Virginia.
That contest will also be a homecoming of sorts for Joe DeForest, the longtime OSU assistant who left Stillwater last month to join Holgorsen's staff.
OSU will also host TCU, the other Big 12 newcomer, on Oct. 27 in a game that starts what appears to be the most difficult stretch of the season for the defending Big 12 champion Cowboys.
Following their home contest against the Horned Frogs, the Cowboys travel to Kansas State on Nov. 3, host WVU and Texas Tech and then face Oklahoma in Norman for the first time since 2009 on Nov. 24.
OU, K-State, West Virginia and TCU are all expected to be in the mix for the Big 12 title in 2012. So is OSU, which won the conference (8-1) and finished No. 3 in the BCS standings in 2011 but has lost some key pieces from that team like Weeden and Blackmon.
Interestingly, Bedlam will not be the regular-season finale for the Cowboys, as the schedule concludes with a road contest against Baylor on Dec. 1.
The Cowboys' Big 12 opener will be at home against Texas on Sept. 29 in the Longhorns' first visit to Stillwater since 2009. OSU won back-to-back games in Austin in 2010 and 2011.
The Texas game is sandwiched by two bye weeks. After the second open date, OSU will face Kansas in Lawrence on Oct. 13 before an intriguing Homecoming date with Iowa State, the only team to beat the Cowboys in 2011.
OSU opens the season on Sept. 1 against Savannah State, a Football Championship Subdivision team that went 1-10 last season.
The Cowboys will then see two familiar nonconference foes the next two weeks, facing both Arizona (Sept. 8) and Louisiana-Lafayette (Sept. 15) for the third time in as many seasons.
OSU beat Arizona 36-10 in the 2010 Almo Bowl and 37-14 last season in Stillwater. But a new coaching staff will be in place when the Cowboys make the return trip to Tucson, as offensive guru Rich Rodriguez was hired to replace Mike Stoops, who was fired midseason.
The Cowboys routed Louisiana-Lafayette 54-28 on the road in 2010 and 61-34 at Boone Pickens Stadium last season.