Realignment has thrown a wrench in the Big 12 football schedule

BERRY TRAMEL — Waiting on West Virginia to stay or go means the Big 12 hasn't released its football schedule yet, causing headaches for the schools, fans and TV networks.
by Berry Tramel Published: January 17, 2012
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OSU: Louisiana-Lafayette, at Arizona (the Cowboys have agreed on a third foe, but it's not been finalized).

Texas: Wyoming, New Mexico, at Ole Miss.

TCU: Grambling, Virginia, at SMU.

Baylor: Sam Houston State, SMU, at Louisiana-Monroe.

Texas Tech: Northwestern Louisiana, at Texas State, New Mexico.

Iowa State: Tulsa, at Iowa, Western Illinois.

Kansas: South Dakota State, Rice, Northern Illinois.

Kansas State: Miami, North Texas, Missouri State.

What's that, six marquee games, with a few more decent matchups? That doesn't look like a schedule that will excite the networks.

* For a school like OU, which is trying to fill nonconference slots unrelated to West Virginia, the Big 12 schedule is paramount, because the league might need the Sooners to play a conference game in September, since there aren't enough quality nonconference games to satisfy the networks. So even when the Sooners find a possible opponent, the date could be a problem.

* Inconveniencing fans. The 2011 Big 12 schedule wasn't released until the first week of May 2011. Every school knew who and where it would play, it just didn't know for sure when.

Now, we could be headed to spring again before knowing the 2012 schedule.

“It's a problem,” Holder said. “It's more a problem for our fan base. People want to schedule weddings and make other plans relative to the football schedule. We get queries almost every day. It's disconcerting for a lot of people.”

It's a mess. A total mess. The Big Mess Conference.

I suppose it could have been an even bigger mess had the Big 12 tried to keep Missouri from bolting. But the Big 12 was contractually unable to hold Mizzou hostage the way the Big East has its locks into West Virginia.

Burda said the league must deliver a schedule to the television networks by Feb. 1. Clearly, the Big 12 has nine- and 10-team scheduling models ready to go. It's just waiting for clarity and clearance.

The Big East and West Virginia are undergoing mediation to resolve their dispute. Burda hopes something is settled by the Feb. 1 deadline.

He's not the only one.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

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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