Berry Tramel

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Big 12 football: West Virginia's schedule ranks No. 1

by Berry Tramel Modified: June 2, 2014 at 2:35 pm •  Published: June 2, 2014
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June has arrived and the Oklahoma-portion of the NBA season is over, which means it’s time to talk college football. So today, let’s begin our annual ranking of non-conference schedules for 2014. We’ll start with the Big 12. With a new No. 1. OU or Texas traditionally come in with the toughest non-conference schedule, but the Sooners’ series with Tennessee comes at a time when the Volunteers are rebuilding. And West Virginia has taken on a mighty task.

1. West Virginia: Alabama in Atlanta, Towson, at Maryland. The Mountaineers will rank high nationally. Bama on a neutral field, smarting from its Sugar Bowl loss, and a road game at a Big Ten school? Not too many schools are taking on that kind of competition.

2. Texas: North Texas, Brigham Young, UCLA in Arlington. The schedule-maker did Charlie Strong no favors. BYU trounced the Longhorns last season, and the Bruins are much improved under Jim Mora Jr.

3. Oklahoma State: Florida State in Arlington, Missouri State, Texas-San Antonio. The Seminoles on a neutral field is not Mike Gundy’s idea of a good time, but the Cowboys will quickly know where they stand.

4. Kansas State: Stephen F. Austin, Auburn, Texas-El Paso. A virtual replica of OSU’s schedule – a national power, a Division I-AA foe and a Texas-hyphen. The only difference? Auburn comes to Manhattan.

5. TCU: Samford, Minnesota, at SMU. Decent schedule. The Frogs rarely have it easy in Dallas. And the Gophers are somewhat revived.

6. Iowa State: North Dakota State, at Iowa, Toledo. Forget the Iowa game. Who wants to play North Dakota State? The Bison conquered Kansas State in a 2013 season opener.

7. Oklahoma: Louisiana Tech, at Tulsa, Tennessee. Sounds rougher than it is. Tennessee is way down. So was Tulsa last season.

8. Texas Tech: Central Arkansas, at Texas-El Paso, Arkansas. Kudos to the Red Raiders for scheduling the Arkansas series. However, the Razorbacks, like the Volunteers, are down, too.

9. Kansas: Southeast Missouri State, at Duke, Central Michigan. If I believed David Cutliffe could keep the magic going for more than a year at Duke, the Jayhawks would rise above OU and Tech.

10. Baylor: SMU, Northwestern (La.) State, at Buffalo. The Bears haven’t upgraded their schedule as they’ve upgraded their program.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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