Big 12 football teams play 48 non-conference games this season. Only 11 are against fellow BCS leagues. That’s 22.9 percent, and that stinks. It’s the lowest figure among the six major conferences. The Pac-10 plays half its games (15 of 30) against equal-footing foes. The Atlantic Coast Conference plays 41.6 percent, the Big East 40 percent, the Big Ten 31.8 percent and the SEC 29.2. Then here comes the Big 12, again averaging less than one legitimate opponent per school. You can’t always measure strength of schedule by an opponent’s league. Who is tougher, TCU or Indiana? But for the most part, percentage of BCS-league foes is a solid measuring stick. And the Big 12 stinks. Only Baylor, which goes to Wake Forest and hosts Connecticut, is playing more than one fellow BCS-league member. Texas and Texas Tech are playing none. Some Big 12 teams are playing solid mid-majors. OU is playing Brigham Young and Tulsa. Colorado plays Colorado State. Kansas plays Southern Miss. Missouri goes to Nevada. OSU and Tech both play Houston. At least the Big 12 fares a little better in I-AA opponents. Big 12 teams will play nine games against lower-classification schools, who hand out fewer scholarships (63, typically) than the 85-limit for major-college football. The ACC is playing 14 games against I-AA foes, the SEC 11. The Pac-10, as with all scheduling, fares best, with just four lower-division opponents out of 30 games. To its credit, the Big 12’s games against the major conferences are mostly big games. OSU hosts Georgia. OU goes to Miami. Nebraska goes to Virginia Tech. Texas A&M plays Arkansas in Arlington. Missouri plays Illinois in St. Louis. Kansas State goes to UCLA. But the majority of September is slumber time for Big 12 football. Nebraska plays three Sun Belt Conference teams. K-State plays UMass and Tennessee Tech. Iowa State plays North Dakota State, Kent State and Army. Texas’ toughest game is, I suppose, at Wyoming. The Big 12 claims to be a great football league. Maybe some day, it will act like it.
→To the Birdman, who has made the most of his second chance in the NBA. Chris Andersen was banished from the league for drug use while with the Hornets in Oklahoma City but now is a high-flying shot blocker for the Nuggets. Let’s pray he stays sober. →To the buddy system with Bedlam quarterbacks. All the adults — coaches, fans, administrators — could take a lesson from Zac Robinson and Sam Bradford’s goodwill toward each other. Jeers
→To the Memorial Marathon organizers. Women’s champion Catherine O’Dell was denied the glory of breaking the tape at the finish line. A runner who had started two hours early originally was hailed as the winner. Shades of 1972, when Frank Shorter entered the Munich stadium thinking he was winning the race only to see an imposter racing ahead. →To the scourge of timeouts in the final seconds of NBA playoff games. The interruptions are insufferable to an otherwise splendid product.
Cheers & Jeers: Bedlam quarterback buddy system