Photo credit Lisa Horne
by Lisa Horne
We've already passed judgment on the Pac-12 non-conference schedules. Now it is time to take a look at the Big 12's.
Last year Baylor appeared to have been penalized for a softer-than-a-baby's-bottom non-conference schedule. The Bears failed to play in the College Football Playoff despite an 11-1 record. Did Baylor and its Big 12 brethren learn their lesson?
At SMU, Lamar, Rice
While you try to stifle your laughter, consider this: Baylor travels outside Texas only three times during the regular season. Welp.
Northern Iowa, Iowa, at Toledo
Iowa v Iowa State has been one of the more competitive non-conference rivalries in the country. This is a good non-conference schedule for a team struggling to climb up the Big 12 ladder while keeping its Midwest roots.
South Dakota State, Memphis, at Rutgers
This is an ambitious schedule for any struggling FBS team. The Jayhawks get a good grade for intent of scheduling but this slate may also have them 0-3 before conference play starts.
South Dakota, at UTSA, Louisiana Tech
Really, Wildcats? Really? Suddenly, the new home-and-home series with Vanderbilt in 2017 and 2020 looks exciting.
Akron, at Tennessee, Tulsa
This schedule won't hurt Oklahoma but if Tennessee falls flat in the SEC East, this schedule won't help the Sooners either. Tulsa (2-10) has regressed drastically, winning just five games in two years. Akron has been in rebuilding mode since 1992, with just four seven-win seasons as a MAC member.
At Central Michigan, Central Arkansas, UTSA
Ugh. How does a Big 12 school schedule these teams knowing its conference does not have a Big 12 championship game?
At Minnesota, Stephen F. Austin, SMU
At least the Horned Frogs scheduled a Power 5 team. So there's that.
At Notre Dame, Rice, Cal
We have a winner. Two Power 5 teams and an in-state Group of 5 team make the Longhorns national contenders if they win the Big 12.
Sam Houston State, UTEP, at Arkansas
The progression of difficulty in this schedule is perfect. The Red Raiders start out with an FCS team, move up to a Group of 5 team and then play a Power 5 team on the road.
Georgia Southern, Liberty, Maryland
While Maryland appears to be the biggest challenge, don't look past Sun Belt champion Georgia Southern, a power running team which may give the Mountaineers fits. Last year West Virginia's rushing defense was ranked No. 65. This schedule is just OK.
Final Non-conference Schedule Power Rankings
3- Texas Tech
5- Iowa State
6- West Virginia
8- Kansas State
9- Oklahoma State