The Big 12 Schedule
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Week Rankings
Big 12 Team-By-Team Schedule Analysis
Big 12 Schedule Analysis
I LOVE this.
I'm not a fan in any way of the two division, conference championship world that college football world is getting into more and more with the new version of the Big Ten and the beefed up Pac 12 kicking in this year. But the round-robin Pac 10 schedule might be gone, and now it moves over to the Big 12.
But here's the problem. Before, at least in theory, all a team needed to do was win its six-game division and it would have a shot to win the Big 12 title. In some years, like 2003 when Kansas State shocked Oklahoma, and in 1998, when Texas A&M upset Kansas State, and back to the first ever Big 12 Championship, the James Brown-led Texas win over Nebraska in 1996, the inferior team was able to come up with the stunner. That's not going to happen anymore.
Granted, there haven't been any shockers in recent years, and that's sort of a good thing. It's a shame when a team that's not the best team in a conference gets to be called a "champion" because of a one-shot fluke. Now, if you want to win the Big 12 title (in my best John Houseman voice), you have to earrrrrrrrn it.
While some teams have to play five conference road games, and there's no way for some teams to get around playing some of the big boys in a row, there won't be any cheap Big 12 championships. However, it also just got a lot tougher for anyone to finish the regular season 12-0.
Before, there was a chance that a Missouri could miss Oklahoma and/or Texas from the South and have the record to prove it, but now, to have any shot of playing for the national title, or winning the Big 12 championship, there's no way to avoid the Sooners, or the Longhorns, or the Aggies, Red Raiders, Wildcats or Cowboys.
It doesn't matter anymore that one division might be stronger than the other (remember, the North was the killer when the Big 12 first started) and the entire season probably won't ever come down to only the Red River Rivalry. Now the Big 12 has become more interesting, and now the conference can make the claim that its champion, if it's in the mix to play for the BCS Championship, will deserve the benefit of the doubt.
The scheduling gods appear to be smiling on Texas in 2011.
Okay, so the Oscars haven't even been announced yet, and who knows which opponent is lurking in the weeds, but the ‘Horns have a slate tailor-made for a rebound. After going an uncharacteristic 5-7 a year ago, the program has taken the right steps toward a recovery. Mack Brown gave an injection of youth to the coaching staff, adding up-and-coming Bryan Harsin and Manny Diaz. The latest recruiting class is among the best in the country, headed by a potential—and much-needed—workhorse out of the backfield, RB Malcolm Brown. And then there's that schedule.
While certainly not without the potential landmines and heavy lifting, it's possible the Longhorns will be favored in all but a couple of games this fall. In September, the only road game is at UCLA, a middling team Texas may have already circled after last year's embarrassing loss in Austin. October brings the annual showdown with Oklahoma and tough games against Oklahoma State and Baylor, but an Oct. 29 visit from Kansas will be an ideal exhale and sparring partner before the final kick.
If Texas is going to get off the deck and be Texas again, it has a lot of work to do between today and the opener. For starters, someone has to get QB Garrett Gilbert right, and the turnover situation must be addressed. The positive news is that the ‘Horns are off to a good start in the early stages of the offseason, aided by a schedule that could help catapult them back into 10-win territory.