Big 12 football: ranking the schedules
Every year, I rank all 96 Big 12 football games, one through 96. I like it because it’s fun, it gets people thinking about football and I become very aware of the schedules around the league. Which makes me study the schedules of all the other conferences.
Schedule analysis fascinates me. It’s remarkable how different teams can schedule. Many administrators fall back on the cliche of “needs,” which is silly. Everyone’s needs are the same. Win games and make money. They just differ on the best way to do that and what kind of wins they want.
Anyway, today I’ll start a short blog series analyzing college football schedules. Today, I’ll rank the Big 12′s non-conference schedules:
1. Colorado: Colorado State in Denver, at California, Georgia, Hawaii. Now that’s a schedule. An in-state rival that beats you often as not, played at a neutral site. A road game at a really good Pac-10 team. A home game against a national power. And Hawaii. When Hawaii is your easiest game, you’ve got quite the schedule.
2. Oklahoma: Utah State, Florida State, Air Force, at Cincinnati. The Sooners often rank No. 1 in the Big 12 and would again if not for Colorado. This is a really good schedule. One rum-dum (Utah State). A rising program that went to the Sugar Bowl last season (Cincy). A long-time power that is trying to recover from some down years under its legendary coach (Florida State). And a solid Mountain West program. Another excellent schedule by the Sooners.
3. Iowa State: Northern Illinois, at Iowa, Northern Iowa, Utah. Not a terrible schedule. Utah is a great matchup. Iowa speaks for itself. Even the I-AA opponent is interesting; Northern Iowa always seems to play Iowa and Iowa state tough.
4. Kansas: North Dakota State, Georgia Tech, at Southern Miss, New Mexico State. Great upgrade by the Jayhawks. There for awhile, KU wasn’t playing anyone. Now the Jayhawks have two legit opponents. Which puts them far ahead of the Big 12 curve.
5. Baylor: Sam Houston State, Buffalo, at TCU, at Rice. The latter two games are interesting for sentimental reasons. Sort of makes you feel like it’s 1976. The game at TCU elevates the Bears. Going to TCU is like OU going to Cincinnati, except the Sooners have a chance to win.
6. Texas A&M: Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Tech, Florida International, Arkansas in Arlington. Here’s where schedules are tough to rank. The Aggies play three horrendous foes (Louisiana Tech isn’t what it once was), but the Arkansas series is a great addition.
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