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Ranking Oklahoma State’s Most Likely Rivals in the New Big 12

Explaining the spectrum that is OSU, Tech and K-State.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

Oklahoma State fans, Texas Tech fans and Kansas State fans all reside along the same spectrum.

This is coming from an OSU grad who was born in Lubbock. Those are my bonafides. But I feel like you’re more likely to see a pair of cowboy boots at those three schools than you are any other school in the Big 12. So when Oklahoma and Texas leave for the SEC after this season, leaving Oklahoma State in search of a new rival, I think either of those schools make the most sense.

To me, Tech is at the chaotic end of the spectrum, Kansas State is at the lawful end of the spectrum and Oklahoma State is somewhere in the middle.

When I think Tech, I think tortillas (and other objects) being thrown on the field and Chris Beard nearly needing the National Guard just to get in and out of United Supermarkets Arena. It’s a madhouse. When I think Kansas State, I think the wholesomeness that is Bill Snyder penning a kicker a handwritten letter. With a long-tenured coach rocking a mullet and with students banging paddles feet from the opposing teams’ bench, OSU is somewhere in the middle.

Not being on I-35, Tech has always seemed like the odd team out of the Texas two-steps in the Big 12, but I’m sure given state pride they will still have rivalries with Baylor, TCU and even Houston.

But to combat state bragging rights, OSU fans and Tech fans have the battle of “Who does this finger gun hand sign belong to?” And “Who has the right to run a live horse across the field?” Those are things that sound silly in the concept of normal human interactions, but for some reason, it really fires people up in the fall. The potential rivalry is fun on Twitter with people already trying to dub it “The Dust Bowl.”

You could argue Kansas State has Kansas, making OSU a bit of a third wheel with the Wildcats. The K-State vs. KU basketball games are a lot of fun, but football reigns supreme. The Jayhawks are getting better, but they still have beat K-State on the gridiron only four times since 1993 including having lost 14 straight in the series. (Crazy stat, Kansas actually leads the all-time series 64-51-5.)

Baylor or TCU also have an argument to pop up as a rival for OSU given the high-stakes games OSU has played against both in recent years. But, Baylor and TCU already have each other. Teams can have more than one rival, but OSU butting into a three-way rivalry with two religious-based institutions seems more farfetched than the Cowboys, Red Raiders and Wildcats getting together for a rodeo.

Iowa State is also an intriguing look. The eight-hour drive to Ames isn’t for the faint of heart, but both will be state schools with their Power Five counterpart in another conference. Plus, the two haven’t been separated by more than seven points in a football game since 2014. The road losses of 2011 and 2021 are enough to make OSU fans hold a grudge against the entirety of Story County.

Although the newcomers are all exciting additions to the league, do any stand out as potential rivals to the Cowboys at this point? To me, not really. OSU fans seem extra excited for BYU to join the league, but it’s hard to be in a rivalry with someone who is a 17-hour drive away, in my opinion. Plus, with the Cougars’ religious ties, does throwing them in with TCU and Baylor make more sense? They’ve already played Baylor the past two seasons.

Cincinnati is also way out there. It makes more sense geographically for the Bearcats to pick fights with West Virginia and Iowa State. Houston will likely scrap with the closer Texas schools. UCF will be interesting, being a double-digit hour drive from anyone.

So with all that being said, here are my Top 5 most likely rivals for Oklahoma State heading into the new Big 12:

1. Texas Tech
2. Kansas State
3. Baylor
4. TCU
5. Iowa State

Think differently? We have a poll going on our Twitter you can vote on here.

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