KU, Baylor top Big 12 schedule strength

August, 29, 2012
8/29/12
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Colleague Mark Schlabach ranked the top 10 toughest schedules in college football, and two Big 12 teams made the cut.

You can see his full list here.

Kansas and Baylor checked in at No. 4 and No. 7, respectively. Here's what he had to say about the Jayhawks:
Charlie Weis might believe he's still coaching at Notre Dame by the end of October. The Jayhawks, who went 2-10 under former coach Turner Gill last season, play ranked opponents in five of their first eight games: No. 20 TCU (home), No. 22 Kansas State (road), No. 19 Oklahoma State (home), No. 4 Oklahoma (road) and No. 15 Texas (home). They also play at No. 11 West Virginia to close the regular season.

No fun for anyone in Lawrence, there. I actually do think catching TCU early in the season (Week 3, Sept. 15) plays to Kansas' advantage, especially doing so at home. The Horned Frogs are starting five true freshmen and playing a total of 15 in the two-deep. Kansas has its own identity issues to settle by then for sure, but it might serve as an equalizer. If KU can beat South Dakota State and Rice convincingly, I'll have the Horned Frogs squarely on upset alert in Week 3.

What about Baylor?
Life without Robert Griffin III won't be a walk in the park for the Bears. While Baylor's nonconference schedule leaves a little bit to be desired (with the exception of Sunday's opener against SMU), it plays three consecutive games against nationally ranked Big 12 foes: No. 11 West Virginia (road), No. 20 TCU (home) and No. 15 Texas (road). The Bears also close the regular season by playing three of their last four games against ranked opponents: No. 4 Oklahoma (road), No. 22 Kansas State (home) and No. 19 Oklahoma State (home).

Baylor's just outside the nation's top 25 teams to start the season, but it's not going to be easy to climb into the rankings. I see the Bears making a third consecutive trip to the postseason, but as the best team in the Big 12 that's not in the top 25, it's easy to see why the schedule's going to be so brutal this season. Of the six 10-win teams returning to the Big 12 this year, Baylor will take the biggest step backward. Meanwhile, Texas is a lot better, and the Bears are replacing more than just RG3. Suitable replacements for Big 12 receiving champ Kendall Wright (Terrance Williams, Tevin Reese) and rushing champ Terrance Ganaway (Jarred Salubi, Lache Seastrunk, Glasco Martin) await, but replacing that kind of talent is easier said than done.

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