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Mountaineers will make earlier jump into meat of Big 12 football schedule next year

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia's football team won't have the same type of gradual run-up to its second Big 12 season as it enjoyed in its first.The league and the school released schedules for the 2013 season Tuesday and after a soft opener against FCS opponent William & Mary, the Mountaineers jump right into Big 12 play with a trip to Oklahoma.It is also a schedule that this season will include more Big 12 road games (five) than home (four) and only six home dates overall at Mountaineer Field.On the positive side, it's out more than nine months in advance of the opener. During its years in the Big East, West Virginia usually waited until at least February or later for a firm schedule."I am pleased that our 2013 football schedule is ready so that our fans can have plenty of time to make plans," WVU athletic director Oliver Luck said in releasing the schedule. "It will be our second year in the Big 12 and once again new faces will be coming to Milan Puskar Stadium, while we make our first visit to some new road locations as well. As with any Big 12 schedule, challenging and exciting are two words that come to mind."This season, West Virginia played all three of its non-conference games prior to the Big 12 opener. In 2013, the William & Mary game on Aug. 31 is followed immediately by the trip to Norman, Okla., and the Sooners on Sept. 7. The next two weeks bring a home game with new FBS member Georgia State and then Maryland at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore before the Big 12 home opener with Oklahoma State on Sept. 28.In addition to OSU, West Virginia's Big 12 home games are with Texas Tech, Texas and Iowa State. The league road games after Oklahoma are Baylor, Kansas State, TCU and Kansas."I think the schedule provides a good mix of home and away games in each month, which will be beneficial to our team and fans," WVU football coach Dana Holgorsen said. "We all know how difficult the competition is in the Big 12. This schedule will once again be very challenging for our program."West Virginia plays six games before its first open date Oct. 12, then five more games before being off No. 23. That's the week before Thanksgiving, which is Nov. 28 next year. The Mountaineers finish the regular season that weekend against Iowa State at home, although the date (Friday or Saturday) has yet to be determined.That means that West Virginia will be off the final weekend of the season, the first time WVU has wrapped up on Thanksgiving weekend since 2004. There are only two Big 12 games on that Dec. 7 date next year -- Oklahoma at Oklahoma State and Texas at Baylor.  Date                        OpponentAug. 31                        William & MarySept. 7                        at OklahomaSept. 14                        Georgia State
Sept. 21                        vs. Maryland-1Sept. 28                        Oklahoma StateOct. 5                        at BaylorOct. 12                        OpenOct. 19                        Texas Tech-2Oct. 26                        at Kansas State
Nov. 2                        at TCUNov. 9                        Texas-3Nov. 16                        at KansasNov. 23                        OpenNov. 29/30                        Iowa StateDec. 7                        Open1-M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore2-Homecoming3-Mountaineer Day 
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