Ever since TCU was expelled from the comfy confines of the Southwest Conference the Frogs have been happy to take on all comers, as evidenced by the first game of the WAC era being a visit to Norman to take on the Oklahoma Sooners. TCU's take-on-all-comers attitude is actually even older than that, however, as you'd have to go all the way back to 1979 to see a TCU team that didn't play at least one team from a current BCS AQ conference in the out of conference schedule. Though there was an occasional schedule where only Kansas or Vanderbilt saved the schedule, not all Automatic qualifiers are created equal after all, but by and large you see a lot more Oklahomas and Georgias on the schedule than Vanderbilt (and when we played Northwestern they went to the Rose Bowl). Despite the new nine game conference slate of the Big 12 the Frogs don't seem to be backing away from that, arranging the Minnesota and Ohio State home and homes after the Big 12 move was assured and not backing out of dates against LSU or Arkansas unlike some Texas schools- and that's with only 8 conference games to sort out. This announcement from A&M got me thinking, so stay tuned as we investigate whether the rest of the conference schedules like Tarzan or Jane.
Bears Football Schedule
|West Virginia||Sat 10/05||TBA|
|@ Kansas St.||Sat 10/12||TBA|
|Iowa St.||Sat 10/19||TBA|
|@ Kansas||Sat 10/26||TBA|
|Texas Tech||Sat 11/16||TBA|
|@ Oklahoma St.||Sat 11/23||TBA|
|@ TCU||Sat 11/30||TBA|
Starting off on a low note, as Baylor is one of the worst in the conference in scheduling out of conference games- not a good look for the bears on the national stage. In 2013 the bears will have three home games against the likes of Buffalo, Louisiana-Monroe and Wofford. To be fair to Baylor they did have SMU scheduled, only to have the new Conference USA 2.0 (now with even more America!) bound Mustangs beg out of the game to keep their games against Tech and us safe instead, so we can give them a bit of leeway on this one. Not so much in the future, as it will take the Bears until 2018 before they play an away game outside of Texas... against Duke. I'm not mad, Baylor, I'm just disappointed.
Good scheduling: Home and homes with former SWC buddies SMU and Rice, giving fledgling UTSA a home and home
Bad scheduling: Not leaving the state until 2018, SMU is the marquee out of conference foe.
Iowa State Cyclones
Cyclones Football Schedule
|Northern Iowa||Sat 08/31||TBA|
|@ Tulsa||Thu 09/26||6:30 PM CDT|
|@ Texas Tech||Sat 10/12||TBA|
|@ Baylor||Sat 10/19||TBA|
|Oklahoma St.||Sat 10/26||TBA|
|@ Kansas St.||Sat 11/02||TBA|
|@ Oklahoma||Sat 11/16||TBA|
|@ West Virginia||Sat 11/30||TBA|
The Cyclones, like their Big 10 brethren are somewhat stymied in out of conference scheduling by the nine game conference schedule paired up with an annual in-state grudge match. Still the Cyclones keep a good AQ opponent on the schedule every year, which is to be commended, and although they don't have other teams from AQ conferences scheduled I'm inclined to argue that that's more their location's fault than anything else. The Cyclones don't have the natural advantage of being in Texas, a place where major programs really love to strut their stuff, to lure in games against the Ohio States and Notre Dames of the world, and playing in Ames- where dream seasons go to die- isn't the most appealing thought. Still, ISU is playing the part of the big program that will schedule home and homes with the lesser lights, even the out of state ones, as the Cyclones have home and homes with Tulsa, Toledo, San Jose State and Akron lined up. Not exactly a murderers row, but Iowa State is doing one for ones, not one for cash or two for ones. Not exactly king of the jungle, but not bad either, especially compared to the next team up.
Good Scheduling: Annual game with AQ team, home and homes with non-AQ teams
Bad Scheduling: Only one game per year against AQ conference teams, but that may have more to do with bigger teams not wanting to play Iowa State.
Kansas State Wildcats
Wildcats Football Schedule
|North Dakota St.||Fri 08/30||7:30 PM CDT|
|@ Texas||Sat 09/21||TBA|
|@ Oklahoma St.||Sat 10/05||TBA|
|West Virginia||Sat 10/26||TBA|
|Iowa St.||Sat 11/02||TBA|
|@ Texas Tech||Sat 11/09||TBA|
|@ Kansas||Sat 11/30||TBA|
If there's a knock against Bill Snyder (other than giving Baylor its biggest win ever) it's that he rarely comes up with a decent out of conference schedule. Last year was an interesting one for Kansas State, as they actually faced a Miami team from outside Ohio, but 2013 sees the wildcats return to form with an FCS patsy, Louisiana-Lafayette and Umass. Looking ahead the Wildcats are also giving UTSA a game in San Antonio, but unlike Baylor are getting two home games in return for it. Future schedules are a bit sparse for the wildcats, as they typically wait to secure their FCS teams and MACrifices while games with AQ-level schools typically require several years notice. As a result the only AQ team on K-State's future schedule is Auburn, a return game for the 2007 K-State visit to Auburn (scheduled and played during the Snyder-less era). You can't count out a Bill Snyder team, but it's going to be difficult to justify a one or two loss K-State's spot in the BCS when their out of conference slate is so dreadful.
Good Scheduling: They're playing at least one away game at some point in the next six years
Bad Scheduling: They're playing one confirmed away game in the next six years and just one AQ school.
Jayhawks Football Schedule
|South Dakota||Sat 09/07||TBA|
|@ Rice||Sat 09/14||6:30 PM CDT|
|Louisiana Tech||Sat 09/21||TBA|
|Texas Tech||Sat 10/05||TBA|
|@ TCU||Sat 10/12||TBA|
|@ Texas||Sat 11/02||TBA|
|@ Oklahoma St.||Sat 11/09||TBA|
|West Virginia||Sat 11/16||TBA|
|@ Iowa St.||Sat 11/23||TBA|
|Kansas St.||Sat 11/30||TBA|
The Jayhawks aren't in a great position in scheduling for the simple reason that the Jayhawks aren't a very good team and scheduling wins that might help KU to a bowl game is more important to the program than putting together a slate that would help boost poll rankings. Still, the Jayhawks are much more willing to hit the road than the Big 12 contenders in their state, regularly putting together home and homes against not just AQ level teams, but also high level non-AQ teams like last years Orange Bowl Participant Northern Illinois and perennial MAC contender Ohio. Kansas is doing the two-for-one program with Central Michigan, but also has games against current AQ America Conference Woo member Memphis and future Big Ten 14th(!) member Rutgers. Overall the schedule is pretty good for a program of Kansas' level, but not likely to win it any adulation for scheduling in the conference, as the next program does.
Good Scheduling: Home and homes with AQ teams and good non-AQs
Bad Scheduling: No high level AQ teams
Sooners Football Schedule
|West Virginia||Sat 09/07||TBA|
|@ Notre Dame||Sat 09/28||2:30 PM CDT|
|@ Texas||Sat 10/12||TBA|
|@ Kansas||Sat 10/19||TBA|
|Texas Tech||Sat 10/26||TBA|
|@ Baylor||Thu 11/07||TBA|
|Iowa St.||Sat 11/16||TBA|
|@ Kansas St.||Sat 11/23||TBA|
|@ Oklahoma St.||Sat 12/07||TBA|
Say what you will about Bob Stoops- I'll start. He's a shameless politician in the BCS system, his "Big Game Bob" reputation is pretty funny if you remove his record against Mack Brown coached teams, his best bowl win of the past decade was against an 8-4 Stanford team, etc. What must also be said about him is he's a good guy under all that and he has no fear in making a schedule. To be sure, there's almost always a Sun Belt team on it to get the pollsters talking when there's an absolute blood bath, but Oklahoma doesn't go into conference play without a high profile out of conference test. Notre Dame last year and this year, Tennessee the year after, Notre Dame and Tennessee the year after, Ohio State in 2016/2017 and LSU after that. Oklahoma is even doing a home and home with Army, which I have the utmost respect for even if the games are likely to be atrocious. The Sooners also have games with littlest brother, a nice change from big state schools who refuse to schedule games with their in-state brethren unless they're demonstrably awful.
Good Scheduling: An AQ team every year, and always a big name (even if they've fallen off a bit lately like Tennessee), playing a home and home with Army.
Bad Scheduling: No marquee game in 2020 yet? Get it together, Sooners.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Cowboys Football Schedule
|Mississippi St.||Sat 08/31||TBA|
|@ Texas-San Antonio||Sat 09/07||11:00 AM CDT|
|@ West Virginia||Sat 09/28||TBA|
|Kansas St.||Sat 10/05||TBA|
|@ Iowa St.||Sat 10/26||TBA|
|@ Texas Tech||Sat 11/02||TBA|
|@ Texas||Sat 11/16||TBA|
On the one hand, kudos to the Cowboys for arranging a home and home with Boise State starting in 2018. On the other hand, there are teams out there to play home and home with, guys. The Cowboys did conclude a home and home with Arizona last year, but will not be doing a one and one again until 2018, loading the schedule with two-fers against Central Michigan, UTSA (a common name on this list), and South Alabama. The Cowboys do have marquee matchups in each of the next two seasons, with neutral field-type affairs with Mississippi State and Florida State, but I'd much prefer to see games in Tallahassee and Starkville than the neutral site affair that's becoming more common (Yes, I'd much rather be playing LSU home and home as well). Coach Gundy is well renowned for being a man, but I'm sure folks in other states would like to see his masculinity on display as well.
Good Scheduling: Big game against FSU is a treat, and MSU will be okay as well, playing top non-AQ team Boise State is very respectable
Bad Scheduling: No home and homes with major conference teams anywhere on future schedules.
TCU Horned Frogs
Horned Frogs Football Schedule
|LSU||Sat 08/31||8:00 PM CDT|
|SE Louisiana||Sat 09/07||TBA|
|@ Texas Tech||Thu 09/12||TBA|
|@ Oklahoma||Sat 10/05||TBA|
|@ Oklahoma St.||Sat 10/19||TBA|
|West Virginia||Sat 11/02||TBA|
|@ Iowa St.||Sat 11/09||TBA|
|@ Kansas St.||Sat 11/16||TBA|
Yes, I know that we are quite fortunate to be located in Texas, where teams from opposing conferences love to strut their stuff for recruits. That said, TCU is at worst second best in the state in non-conference scheduling and that's something to hang your hat on with the huge number of programs in our state. In addition to the perpetual home and home with (currently) AQ USA #1 Conference member SMU, the Frogs also have games against many of the big namess of college football lined up- LSU, Minnesota, Arkansas and Ohio State going along with the SMU series to give the Frogs at least two games against AQ conference teams a year until 2018- until the SMU series is almost inevitably renewed. If, in a fevered dream land, TCU went through another year undefeated it would be extremely difficult to keep them out of a position in the title game/playoff.
Good Scheduling: Two games against AQ teams a year, all home and home bar LSU
Bad Scheduling: I wanted to go to Death Valley and will be disappointed about that for a while yet.
Longhorns Football Schedule
|New Mexico St.||Sat 08/31||TBA|
|@ BYU||Sat 09/07||TBA|
|Kansas St.||Sat 09/21||TBA|
|@ Iowa St.||Thu 10/03||TBA|
|@ TCU||Sat 10/26||TBA|
|@ West Virginia||Sat 11/09||TBA|
|Oklahoma St.||Sat 11/16||TBA|
|Texas Tech||Thu 11/28||TBA|
|@ Baylor||Sat 12/07||TBA|
The other contender for the title of "Best OOC scheduler in Texas" is the state's flagship program, who will also be conducting home and homes with some fairly famous programs. Our old friends in Provo will be hosting the horns this year, as Texas gets the home end of their Ole Miss home and home, while future schedules involve both Notre Dame and Cal in the same year, Maryland and USC in the same year and more Notre Dame and Ohio State in the far future. The Horns have scheduling worked out well, with one big name from an AQ conference a year paired up with another decent AQ program that shouldn't be quite as challenging mixed in with cash money games against the smaller schools- your North Texas Eagles and Rice Owls. The best thing about the longhorns schedule though is no neutral site games- every marquee team on the schedule will be coming into Austin, which is what fans and ticket holders deserve to see.
Good Scheduling: Marquee AQ team every year mixed in with another AQ level (BYU isn't technically AQ) team in home and homes.
Bad Scheduling: I know Kennedy mentioned it, but I'm personally kind of over Rice playing Texas. Beyond that, massive respect to the horns schedulemakers.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Red Raiders Football Schedule
|@ SMU||Fri 08/30||7:00 PM CDT|
|Stephen F. Austin||Sat 09/07||TBA|
|Texas State||Sat 09/21||TBA|
|@ Kansas||Sat 10/05||TBA|
|Iowa St.||Sat 10/12||TBA|
|@ West Virginia||Sat 10/19||TBA|
|@ Oklahoma||Sat 10/26||TBA|
|Oklahoma St.||Sat 11/02||TBA|
|Kansas St.||Sat 11/09||TBA|
|@ Baylor||Sat 11/16||TBA|
|@ Texas||Thu 11/28||TBA|
Tech is tough to evaluate in non-conference scheduling, because even though they have a well deserved reputation for putting together cushy non-conference slates they do appear to be getting better. At present, Tech hasn't played an AQ-conference team in out of conference play since N.C. State in 2003. That streak ends in 2013 due to SMU's unexpected elevation to the If-you-love-America-give-us-a-BCS-bid conference, but Tech is actually putting together decent slates in the future with a home and home against Arkansas played opposite a home and home with UTEP. Right now Tech is still firmly on the Jane side of non-conference scheduling, but they may be taking their first steps towards Tarzan-hood, something to be proud of.
Good Scheduling: Breaking the no AQ conference opponent drought of nine years, home and home with UTEP
Bad Scheduling: Every year from 2003-2013, bar 2004 and 2006 where they get a pass for playing us. They did ask out of that second home and home though, which helped make our 2011 home slate dreadful.
West Virginia Mountaineers
Mountaineers Football Schedule
|William & Mary||Sat 08/31||TBA|
|@ Oklahoma||Sat 09/07||TBA|
|Georgia State||Sat 09/14||TBA|
|@ Maryland||Sat 09/21||TBA|
|Oklahoma St.||Sat 09/28||TBA|
|@ Baylor||Sat 10/05||TBA|
|Texas Tech||Sat 10/19||TBA|
|@ Kansas St.||Sat 10/26||TBA|
|@ TCU||Sat 11/02||TBA|
|@ Kansas||Sat 11/16||TBA|
|Iowa St.||Sat 11/30||TBA|
West Virginia did commit the sin of begging out of their Florida State series late, once their Big 12 berth was secured, but generally the mountaineers do all right in scheduling. The Mountaineers have a long running home and home with the Big 10 bound Maryland Terrapins and will help kick off the season against Alabama in 2014, so it's clear that the mountaineers aren't in the habit of ducking folks. Also to their credit, they're doing a four game series with a top level non-AQ school in East Carolina- which is a proud member of team purple. The best thing about West Virginia's scheduling though, is that unlike so many rivals who have been driven apart by the conference shift West Virginia is in talks to resume rivalry series with three good-to-great level programs. You're doing good work Oliver Luck, I want to see the Black Diamond Trophy back in your case.
Good Scheduling: An AQ conference team every year through 2017, four game series with a good non-AQ team, Neutral site games with Alabama and BYU.
Bad Scheduling: I know Alabama and BYU love neutral site games, but I want to see those games in Mountaineer stadium. Also, if you're only going to hold on to one rival through conference realignment, Maryland was the wrong one- and this is coming from the son of a Terp.
So there's our little conference all laid out for you. Who do you think is the best non-conference scheduler in the bunch? If you're a fan of Baylor or K-State, do you want the scheduling to improve or do you just want the wins? Discuss.