We ran down the dregs of the Big 12's nonconference schedule this week. We'll start our gradual climb to the games folks will be clamoring for now with the five next-best games on the Big 12's nonconference slate.
20. West Virginia vs. Georgia State: Georgia State was founded just three years ago, back in 2010. Former Alabama head coach Bill Curry helped the Atlanta-based Panthers get off the ground, and former Indiana State coach Trent Miles will guide them into FBS membership this season as members of the Sun Belt. Their only win last season came against Rhode Island. ... but it was on the road!
19. Oklahoma State at Texas-San Antonio: OSU plays only one nonconference game at home this year, which is a bit of an anomaly, but this game against another FBS newcomer will go down in the Alamodome, where OSU rolled over Arizona in the Alamo Bowl back in 2010. That was before UTSA football officially existed. Former Miami coach Larry Coker helped begin the UTSA program in 2011, and the Roadrunners moved to the WAC in 2012, the school's first season as an FBS member. After going 8-4 a year ago (including wins against Texas State and Idaho), UTSA is moving to Conference USA.
18. Texas Tech vs. Texas State: Tech's game against State last year looked a bit scary after the Bobcats upset Houston to begin the season and hosted Tech a week later. The Red Raiders made quick work in last year's game, running away with a 48-10 win. The results are likely to be the same this year, and the Bobcats slid to just 4-8 by season's end.
17. Kansas vs. Louisiana Tech: Louisiana Tech lost most of last season's nine-win team that went toe-to-toe with Texas A&M, so it's a bit of a wildcard. There's a good shot KU will be an underdog at home in this game, but I'd expect an entertaining game and a good shot for Kansas to take a legitimate step forward. Considering a win against Tech would qualify as a decent step forward tells you all you need to know about the state of the program, but KU hasn't beaten an FBS team since 2011.
16. Kansas State vs. North Dakota State: This is the first official kickoff of the Big 12 season, and it's a sneaky fun game. I've written about it some, but NDSU is the two-time defending national champion at the FCS level, and is 3-0 against FBS competition since 2010. Bill Snyder loves to use a very abbreviated playbook in FCS openers, but the Bison's pedigree likely demands a bit more. K-State will be breaking in about 14 new starters, which makes this very dangerous and could make for a great game to start the season, even if the names alone don't pique much interest.