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Big 12 Football: 2015 Non-conference Schedule Power Rankings

March 1, 2015

                                                                                                                                    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? 


Apparently not.




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. 


Grade: F


Iowa State


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.


Grade: B




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.


Grade: A


Kansas State


South Dakota, at UTSA, Louisiana Tech


Really, Wildcats? Really? Suddenly, the new home-and-home series with Vanderbilt in 2017 and 2020 looks exciting. 


Grade: F




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.


Grade: B


Oklahoma State


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? 


Grade: F




At Minnesota, Stephen F. Austin, SMU


At least the Horned Frogs scheduled a Power 5 team. So there's that. 


Grade: C




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.  


Grade: A+


Texas Tech


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. 


Grade: B+


West Virginia


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. 


Grade: C+



Final Non-conference Schedule Power Rankings


1- Texas

2- Kansas

3- Texas Tech

4- Oklahoma

5- Iowa State

6- West Virginia

7- TCU

8- Kansas State

9- Oklahoma State

10- Baylor




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