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A Big 12-Big East football challenge would beef up nonconference scheduling

While the Big 12 keeping us waiting for its football schedule, the conference should borrow an idea from college basketball and start a Big 12-Big East football challenge. That would be good for the sports and help smooth things over after the West Virginia departure.
by Jenni Carlson Published: February 10, 2012

Yes, there are always some good games on the docket. Among Big 12 teams, OU is playing Notre Dame and Kansas State is playing Miami next fall. But there are way more games with the excitement of Texas-New Mexico and Baylor-Sam Houston State.


Wake me up when conference play starts.

I mean, it's difficult to blame lower-half teams for scheduling nonconference rumdums. Those squads have a hard time winning conference games, so if they want to have any chance of going to a bowl, they have to pad their records with nonconference wins.

But Texas having a nonconference schedule consisting of Wyoming, New Mexico and Ole Miss? OSU playing Louisiana-Lafayette, Arizona and a cupcake to be named later? TCU playing Grambling, Virginia and SMU?

Bad nonconference games are becoming an epidemic in college football. They'd have already killed the first few weeks of the season if not for teams like LSU, Oregon, Boise State and Virginia Tech being willing to regularly play tough games in the nonconference.

A partnership between the Big 12 and Big East would help spice up the nonconference slate. That's good for the fans. That's great for the Big 12's television partners, which must be dying for more good nonconference games to fill their broadcast windows.

You wouldn't have to have every Big 12 team play a Big East team in just one season. The matchups could spread over a couple years.

But who wouldn't mind seeing Texas-Pitt or OSU-Cincinnati or Texas Tech-Rutgers or OU-Boise State or TCU-Louisville?

Sure beats Texas Tech-Northwestern Louisiana or Kansas-South Dakota State.

Right now, conferences are at odds over all this realignment. There is no sense of camaraderie among the leaders. There is no spirit of cooperation.

Why not take the lead in trying to change that, Big 12?

It'd be good for college sports, but best of all, those improved nonconference schedules would be grand for the schools, the broadcasters and most importantly the fans.

Consider it a little payback for keeping us waiting on this year's schedule.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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