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Big 12 football: Ranking the non-conference schedules

by Berry Tramel Modified: June 11, 2013 at 11:20 am •  Published: June 11, 2013

OU is scheduled to face Tulsa among its nonconference foes. / Photo by Steve Sisney
OU is scheduled to face Tulsa among its nonconference foes. / Photo by Steve Sisney

Time for our annual rankings of non-conference college football schedules. We’ll start with the Big 12, then do each of the major conferences over the next few days.

1. OU: Louisiana-Monroe, Tulsa, at Notre Dame. The Sooners usually hold the league’s No. 1 spot, and 2013 is no different. Louisiana-Monroe isn’t even in the pushover category anymore, since it beat Arkansas last season and dang near beat Baylor.

2. TCU: LSU in Arlington, Southeastern Louisiana, SMU. What a game. TCU-LSU in JerryWorld. Frogs, we’re proud to have you in our league. Maybe your attitude can rub off on some of your conference members.

3. Texas: New Mexico State, at Brigham Young, Ole Miss. Not a bad little schedule, Mack Brown. Not a bad schedule at all. I mean, Mississippi’s capable, and playing in Provo never is easy.

4. Iowa State: Northern Iowa, Iowa, at Tulsa. Solid schedule by the Cyclones. Two losable games, plus an in-state foe. Lots of schools won’t do either of those categories.

5. OSU: Mississippi State in Houston, at Texas-San Antonio, Lamar. Doesn’t this feel better, Cowboy fans, knowing your team, which certainly has played its way into the upper echelon of Big 12 teams, has a schedule befitting such status? Not that this is a killer schedule.

6. West Virginia: William & Mary, Georgia State, Maryland. in Baltimore: How does a schedule shamed by two I-AA opponents rank sixth in the 10-team Big 12? Because the four schedules below it are void of any major-conference foes.

7. Kansas: South Dakota, at Rice, Louisiana Tech. When I was a kid, I thought the North Central Conference, which was led by the four Dakota schools, was really cool. Alas, it died in 2008.

8. Texas Tech: at SMU, Stephen F. Austin, Texas State. At least the Red Raiders are playing SMU in Dallas. Otherwise, this would be total embarrassment.

9. Kansas State: North Dakota State, Louisiana-Lafayette, UMass. The Wildcats avoid last place only because their I-AA foe, North Dakota State, is traditionally better than Baylor’s I-AA foe.

10. Baylor: Wofford, Buffalo, Louisiana-Monroe. The Bears’ non-conference schedules are set through 2019 – and not one decent opponent on them. Duke and SMU are the best of the bunch. Oh well, I guess you can’t blame Baylor too much.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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