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OSU football: Breaking down the schedule

BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, Published: February 14, 2012

STILLWATER—Oklahoma State released its 2012 football schedule Tuesday. Here's a breakdown of what the Cowboys could expect.

The gauntlet

The Cowboys will face the other four early contenders for the Big 12 title in a span of five weeks during the second half of the season. OSU hosts TCU on Oct. 27, travels to Kansas State the next week and then hosts West Virginia on Nov. 10. Then after a home date with Texas Tech on Nov. 17, the Cowboys make the trip to Norman. Safe to say those five weeks will determine OSU's spot in the Big 12 pecking order.

Toughest road game: Kansas State (Nov. 3)

Bedlam is the easy answer here, as OU should again be a preseason national title contender. But with bulldozing quarterback Collin Klein back and Bill Snyder still roaming the sideline, K-State will be a dark horse pick to win the Big 12. Plus, who could forget the thriller the Cowboys and Wildcats played last season?

Toughest home game: West Virginia (Nov. 10)

Few games in the Big 12 season will have more intrigue, as former OSU offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen and longtime assistant Joe DeForest will return to Stillwater in West Virginia's first season as a member of the Big 12. And coming with those former OSU assistants will be the Mountaineers' high-powered offense that hung 70 points on Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

This year's Iowa State?

Arizona appears to be the top candidate to pull off a shocking upset against the Cowboys. That will be the first road test for an unproven OSU quarterback — whoever it is — in an environment that can get rowdy. UA struggled in 2011, leading to the midseason firing of Mike Stoops, but there is a renewed buzz around the program after it hired Rich Rodriguez. OSU will be one of the first teams to see how Rodriguez's spread attack works in the desert.

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