STANZ: Thoughts and notes on the 2023 Big 12 football schedule

The Big 12 football schedule was finally released on Tuesday and it has plenty to takeaway here in the dog days of the college football offseason.

Here are a few notes and thoughts on Iowa State’s slate and a few things on some other Big 12 schedules.

*** All in all, it would have been hard to imagine a more difficult schedule for Iowa State. They’ll play both Oklahoma and Texas. They’ll play two of the league’s new teams in Cincinnati and BYU with both games on the road. Their bye date isn’t until mid-October and comes sandwiched between road trips to Cincinnati and Baylor.

Oh, and the schedule release reminded everyone Iowa State has to travel to Ohio this year for the return trip of a home-and-home series that started last season.

*** Iowa State will host Oklahoma State on Sept. 23 to open Big 12 play at Jack Trice Stadium. It will be the 58th meeting between the two programs, and their earliest match-up on the schedule since they played each other on Aug. 30, 1997.

The Cowboys and Cyclones have played each other on Sept. 23 before, all the way back in 1961 at Clyde Williams Field in a game Iowa State won 14-7.

*** The Cyclones will make one last trip to Norman for their 89th date with Oklahoma on Sept. 30. The Sooners are set to join the SEC as soon as 2024, and that will bring to an end one of Iowa State’s longest conference affiliations.

Iowa State and Oklahoma played each other every year from 1928 through 1995 when the first iteration of the Big 12 came into form. They’ve played 20 times since with Iowa State pulling off two of the program’s most memorable wins in recent history against the Sooners.

This will be only the third time Iowa State and Oklahoma have played each other in September. The Sooners won the last such meeting, 37-27 in Ames, behind Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray in 2018.

*** Iowa State will host the reigning national runner-up TCU Horned Frogs on Oct. 7 for the Jack Trice Legacy Game. That will be one day after the 100-year anniversary of Jack Trice’s death due to injuries sustained in a football game against Minnesota.

Iowa State has already announced numerous plans to commemorate Trice’s legacy throughout the 2023 season. Those plans include throwback uniforms for the football team for one game during the season.

I’d say we know which game that will be now.

*** Iowa State’s road trip on Oct. 14 presents a meeting with a new foe and a reunion with an old friend (or, I guess, foe, depending on your perspective). The Cyclones will travel to play Cincinnati in their first season as members of the Big 12.

Cincinnati recently hired former Iowa State offensive coordinator Tom Manning to the same role after he parted ways with the program shortly after the 2022 season.

*** The month of November brings one of the most difficult stretches of the season, kicking off with Kansas on Nov. 4 for homecoming in Ames. This will be the two programs’ 103rd meeting, and they’ve played each other every year since 1928.

To end the month, and regular season, Iowa State will visit reigning Big 12 champion Kansas State in Manhattan for the 107th edition of their annual rivalry. The programs have played each other every year since 1917.

I was glad to see the Big 12 keep some of these long-running series in the mix, and I hope they’ll do everything they can to guarantee them in the future.

Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma State have been tied together as conference partners for a very long time. They’re the only four members of the old Big Eight left standing.

Making sure these four teams continue to play each other in football every year or close to it, and preferably twice each year in basketball, feels important for the historic value of the league. No matter how much the league changes, we need to make sure the four schools that have stuck together through everything across nearly 70 years of history can continue to meet as much as possible.

The Big 12 is about to be a very different-looking league without too much national brand recognition of its traditions as a whole. The new additions bring a lot to the table, and certainly, all four make the league better.

Still, keeping teams that already don’t like each other with 100-plus years of history together will be good for the league’s ability to carve out its niche in its next iteration.

*** Speaking of the new additions, Iowa State gets a date with another fresh face when they’ll travel to Provo on Nov. 11 to play BYU. If past basketball match-ups between these two schools are any indication, this series has to be circled as one with high odds of becoming a ridiculously intense rivalry in a very short amount of time.

Iowa State is 4-0 all-time against BYU with road wins in 1968 and 1973 then home wins in 1969 and 1974.

*** My last thoughts on the schedule are centered around Texas, who pushed over the dominoes that led the Big 12 into this entire situation from the beginning. The reward for the Longhorns’ decision to leave for the SEC will be one last trip to a bunch of Big 12 schools that will surely relish the opportunity to host them one last time.

Iowa State will host the Longhorns on Nov. 18 for the 21st game between the two programs, but that’s not the worst of it for Texas. Other Big 12 road trips include games at Houston, TCU and Baylor. You can rest assured there will be no love lost for the Longhorns in any of those games.

Texas’ home schedule is undoubtedly one of the worst in the league with home dates against Kansas, Kansas State, BYU and a Black Friday game with Texas Tech. Obviously, the Longhorns will still have their neutral site game with Oklahoma, but the league did them no favors elsewhere in not sending big-name brands or rival schools in Texas to Austin.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.