Oklahoma has one of the easiest nonconference schedules in the Big 12


Looking at the Big 12 Conference’s schedule this season, there leaves a lot to be desired outside of conference play. It still looks better than the 2020 version due to the schedule of nonconference due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All nonconference games had to be played at home meaning teams had to swap out opponents.

The Oklahoma Sooners nonconference schedule looks better than just Missouri State as they had in 2020. However, the three-game stretch of Tulane, Western Carolina, and Nebraska isn’t exactly a sexy nonconference. The Cornhuskers are down, Tulane is a Group of Five opponent, and Western Carolina plays in FCS. It is set up to give OU a 3-0 start ahead of their matchup with West Virginia to kick off their conference schedule.

Speaking of the Mountaineers, they will have an onslaught to begin their 2021 campaign with a brutal nonconference ahead of their trip to Norman, Oklahoma, in late September.

List

The most important game on every Big 12 team’s schedule

Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman broke down the entire Big 12’s schedule outside of conference play. A look at how each ranks among the nonconference scheduling for each team in the Big 12.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

What Tramel Says…

Virginia Tech, at Maryland, Long Island. As usual, WVU is the only Big 12 team playing two fellow Power 5 opponents in non-conference. And one of them is Virginia Tech, probably the second-best non-conference foe among all Big 12 schedules.

West Virginia having two Power Five opponents on the schedule is a big test for the team in 2021. They didn’t lose a single home contest, although they might have if they played Oklahoma last season. Playing Virginia Tech and a road game against Maryland should give Neal Brown a pretty clear indication of where they are ahead of that trip to Norman. A place WVU hasn’t won since 1982. They are 0-4 in Oklahoma since they joined the Big 12 Conference in 2012.

Iowa State Cyclones

Story continues

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

What Tramel Says…

Northern Iowa, Iowa, at Nevada-Las Vegas. A dud-free schedule. Iowa appears to be the best non-conference opponent on a Big 12 schedule, Division I-AA Northern Iowa almost always is a tough out for ISU or Iowa, and UNLV is a road game.

The Sooners biggest competition in 2021, the Cyclones will get a huge test against in-state rivals the Iowa Hawkeyes. Northern Iowa has also proven to be a pest over the years. The Cyclones have a strong nonconference schedule that will hopefully have them ready to take another run at the Sooners. ISU finished with an 8-1 conference record last season. They need a similar run to challenge Oklahoma again.

Texas Longhorns

Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

What Tramel Says…

Louisiana-Lafayette, at Arkansas, Rice. UT’s avoidance of I-AA opponents lifts the Longhorns over most Big 12 schedules, and ULL showed last season that it is not an easy mark.

The Texas Longhorns have two really tough matchups to begin the season with Louisiana-Lafayette and a trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to play the Razorbacks. Texas will have their hands full in both games while trying to break in a new starting quarterback. It will be hard to imagine they win both of these matchups in a new era under Steve Sarkisian. Following their nonconference, the Horns have a date with Texas Tech and TCU before heading to Dallas to take on the Sooners.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

What Tramel Says…

Missouri State, Tulsa, at Boise State. The game at Boise is one of the more intriguing games, and the OSU-Tulsa game last season was an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel.

Last year it was Oklahoma demolishing Missouri State in nonconference, this year it will be the Cowboys’ chance to do the same. They did struggle with Tulsa last year without Sanders under center. Travelling to Boise State will be quite the contest for Mike Gundy and company.

Kansas Jayhawks

Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal

What Tramel Says…

South Dakota, at Coastal Carolina, at Duke. Give the Jayhawks credit. Two road games, one against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent, and the other against a program that would have made the 2020 College Football Playoff had there been a 12-team bracket. Coastal was scheduled to host KU last September, but the dates were swapped because of the Big 12’s Covid policies.

Lance Leipold takes over the Kansas Jayhawks football program and has a tough schedule out of the gate. They will host South Dakota and then head on the road to play CFP darlings, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. That is tough in its own right before you get to the game in Durham against the Duke Blue Devils. The goal this year is to get into the win column and it won’t be easy once Big 12 play kicks off.

Kansas State Wildcats

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

What Tramel Says…

at Stanford, Southern Illinois, Nevada: Not a terrible schedule, but Stanford appears down. And Nevada last season was not on the mid-major level of Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulsa or Coastal.

Outside of the Stanford game for the Kansas State Wildcats, this nonconference slate is pretty dreadful. However, the Wildcats need to build some confidence heading into conference play this year after they lost their final five games after throttling in-state rival Kansas. The biggest game on their schedule might just be that Oct. 2 matchup with the Sooners. Oklahoma definitely has that game circled on the calender.

Baylor Bears

Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports

What Tramel Says…

at Texas State, Texas Southern, Brigham Young. Interesting schedule. BYU-Baylor is a cool game, and the Bears make the 131-mile trip down Interstate 35 to San Marcos.

In year two under head coach Dave Aranda, the Bears’ only legit game comes against the BYU Cougars in Waco, Texas. The new Baylor offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes comes from BYU adding to the intrigue of this matchup. Both teams will have new quarterbacks under center, can the Bears get their offense rolling ahead of conference play is the real question to be answered.

Oklahoma Sooners

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki).

What Tramel Says…

at Tulane, Western Carolina, Nebraska: The Sooner schedule is about the same as K-State’s and Baylor’s. But Nebraska isn’t only down, the Cornhuskers tried to get out of the game. If they’re not excited, why is anybody?

Oklahoma does have a Power Five opponent on the schedule with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but as Tramel noted they tried to get out of the game. Does this give Lincoln Riley more incentive to run up the score on a former conference rival? A road game in New Orleans does add some intrigue if you are a traveling fan heading to the Big Easy for the game. The Western Carolina matchup is just a small school picking up a game check to take a beating from a top-tier program. Running the table becomes a bit easier with a nonconference schedule like this one but doesn’t give you much in terms of a tuneup ahead of conference play.

Texas Christian Horned Frogs

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

What Tramel Says…

Duquesne, California, Southern Methodist: Decent schedule, but no road games and no marquee games. I suppose SMU could make this schedule better.

The Horned Frogs were a much better team on the back half of their schedule than they were for the first part in 2020. They do get California and SMU, both at home for their slate. The Horned Frogs will face a couple of former Sooners in Tanner Mordecai and Grant Calcaterra. The SMU game could really test the defense that lost key starters in the NFL draft.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

What Tramel Says…

at Houston, Stephen F. Austin, Florida International: The game at Houston isn’t bad, but FIU went winless last season, and SFA is Division I-AA.

The Texas Tech football schedule doesn’t bring a lot of excitement with SFA and FIU on the docket. The game at Houston provides some storylines with a former Leach disciple running the program for the Cougars. Dana Holgorsen looks to bring Houston back up to where they were under Tom Herman. Meanwhile the Red Raiders need to win all three nonconference games to give head coach Matt Wells a chance to save his job in 2021.

1

1

1

1



Source link

You might like

About the Author: