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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.

 

Baylor

 

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

 

Kansas

 

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

 

Oklahoma

 

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

 

TCU

 

At Minnesota, Stephen F. Austin, SMU

 

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

 

Grade: C

 

Texas

 

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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