Dallas Colleges: 2012 Big 12 schedule analysis

Schedule analysis: Baylor Bears

July, 6, 2012
Time to start analyzing each team's schedule across the Big 12. Next up, those Bears in Waco.

See more Big 12 schedule analysis here.

Nonconference (with 2011 records):
  • Sept. 2: SMU (8-5)
  • Sept. 15: Sam Houston State (14-1)
  • Sept. 21: at Louisiana-Monroe (4-8)
Home Big 12 games:
  • Oct. 13: TCU (11-2)
  • Nov. 3: Kansas (2-10)
  • Nov. 17: Kansas State (10-3)
  • Nov. 24: Texas Tech (5-7) at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas
  • Dec. 1: Oklahoma State (12-1)
Away Big 12 games:
  • Sept. 29: at West Virginia (10-3)
  • Oct. 20: at Texas (8-5)
  • Oct. 27: at Iowa State (6-7)
  • Nov. 10: at Oklahoma (10-3)
Non-con challenge: SMU. Baylor is one of two Big 12 teams taking on former Southwest Conference power SMU, which has seen a major revitalization under June Jones. Baylor's breaking in a lot of new faces in its Sunday night opener at home, and SMU is a solid team. Even at home, a poor performance could mean a nightmare start to the post-Robert Griffin III era. The Ponies are easily good enough to beat the Bears without shocking the world. Baylor has to play well to win.

Chance to impress: TCU. Baylor knocked off the Horned Frogs in a Friday-night opener last season, but the Frogs will come hungry and bearing a Big 12 patch on their jerseys this season. Baylor's good enough to reach a bowl, but if it wants to prove early on this coming season that it is very capable of more, beating TCU early in the conference season would be a good start.

Gut-check game: at Iowa State. The Cyclones will be on the bubble of bowl eligibility most of the season, and Baylor might find itself in the same spot. Last season, Texas Tech and Iowa State played a game that ended up deciding which team would make a bowl game. Don't be surprised if Iowa State and Baylor do the same on Oct. 27 this year. The Bears will need games like this badly if they're going to reach a bowl without truly sweating.

Upset watch: at West Virginia. This game is going to be an absolute zoo in Morgantown. Baylor gets to be the very first Big 12 opponent for the Mountaineers, and the whole city, fan base and team will be amped. Could that play to Baylor's advantage? West Virginia will have a lot of energy, but it will also have a lot of pressure to impress. Could that mean we see a tight or sloppy Mountaineers team? It's possible, and Baylor's good enough to take advantage. Baylor's got a shot to take some major air out of a WVU Big 12 title run early in the season.

Final analysis: Baylor has four Big 12 home games, four road games and one neutral-site game, but the first thing that stuck out to me about the schedule was the Bears have just one home game between Sept. 15 and Nov. 3. The home game against TCU breaks up a string of four road games in five weeks, including an awkward Friday night date at Louisiana-Monroe. Outside of that, it's a very balanced schedule. Baylor hosts three 10-win teams from last season, and travels to two 10-win team stadiums, plus Texas. It hosts TCU, but going to Fort Worth will be nothing new for the Bears. They played in Amon G. Carter Stadium (and got walloped) in 2010. Baylor does get its first trip to Morgantown as a Big 12 member out of the way very early, which should be fun. Even more fun if the Bears spring the upset and announce to the nation that they won't be falling back to the wayside without RG3.

See more Big 12 schedule analysis here.

Schedule analysis: TCU Horned Frogs

June, 20, 2012
Time to start analyzing each team's schedule across the Big 12. Next up, those Sooners up in Norman.

See more Big 12 schedule analysis here.

Nonconference (with 2011 records):
  • Sept. 8: Grambling State (8-4)
  • Sept. 22: Virginia (8-5)
  • Sept. 29: at SMU (8-5)
Home Big 12 games:
  • Oct. 6: Iowa State (6-7)
  • Oct. 20: Texas Tech (5-7)
  • Nov. 10: Kansas State (10-3)
  • Dec. 1: Oklahoma (10-3)
Away Big 12 games:
  • Sept. 15: at Kansas (2-10)
  • Oct. 13: at Baylor (10-3)
  • Oct. 27: at Oklahoma State (12-1)
  • Nov. 3: at West Virginia (10-3)
  • Nov. 24: at Texas (8-5)
Non-con challenge: at SMU. Bad, bad memories in the Battle for the Iron Skillet from last year for the Frogs. They fell behind early and lost in overtime to the Ponies. The old Southwest Conference rivalry will live on even as TCU enters the Big 12, but if the ball bounces the other way a couple times in that game, and TCU holds on against Baylor last year, the Frogs would have played for a national title. Believe it. Instead, they beat Louisiana Tech in the Poinsettia Bowl. Making matters even more interesting? Former Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert may be the man behind center for June Jones' offense in Dallas.

Gut-check game: at Oklahoma State. If TCU wants us to take it seriously as a Big 12 title contender (and I'm wavering on that idea with all the offseason distractions and defections), it needs to prove that it's better than Oklahoma State. If it can't those doubts will remain. This game will set the stage for the late-season run, and if TCU can go into Stillwater and come away with a win, especially a convincing one, it'll be time to start taking the Frogs seriously as a challenger to Oklahoma and West Virginia in the title race.

Weird return trip: at Baylor. Baylor and TCU are quite familiar with one another. This will be the third consecutive season the two teams have played, and a second consecutive trip to Waco for the Frogs. There's no RG3 this time after the Heisman winner torched TCU in a thrilling season-opening Friday nighter last year. TCU has no Andy Dalton, who embarrassed Baylor back in 2010 in Fort Worth. This should be a fun one, though.

Snoozer: Grambling State. Texas is the Big 12's only team that didn't schedule an FCS team this year. Grambling isn't a bad team, but still ... To borrow a phrase from Charles Barkley in NBATV's recent Dream Team documentary: "I don't know nothin' about Grambling State, but Grambling State is in trouble."

Chance to impress: at Texas. TCU will play the part of Texas A&M this Thanksgiving, filling the Aggies' spot in that traditional holiday showcase. Eyes will be on the Frogs as they walk into the Big 12's biggest pigskin cathedral against what should be an improving Texas team. Will the Horned Frogs walk out of Darrell K. Royal Stadium as winners, with a shot at the Big 12 title heading into the season's final weekend? It's very possible.

Final analysis: The Frogs are the unfortunate recipients of a four-game Big 12 home schedule this year, and play five away games in the nine-game Big 12 conference schedule. No home game is bigger than the last, though. TCU has a lot to prove, but it gets to host Oklahoma on Championship Saturday, which could very well have serious Big 12 title implications. If I was betting, I'd think very seriously about giving the Frogs a shot to win a share of the Big 12 title with a win over Oklahoma on the season's final weekend. Other than that, it's a pretty balanced schedule, and a solid nonconference schedule for the Frogs, at least by Big 12 standards in a weak year of scheduling outside the league. A decent FCS team, plus two eight-win teams? Not bad, Frogs.

See more Big 12 schedule analysis here.

Schedule analysis: Oklahoma State

June, 18, 2012
Time to start analyzing each team's schedule across the Big 12. Next up, those Cowboys up in Stillwater.

See more Big 12 schedule analysis here.

Nonconference (with 2011 records):
  • Sept. 1: Savannah State (1-10)
  • Sept. 8: at Arizona (4-8)
  • Sept. 15: Louisiana-Lafayette (9-4)
Home Big 12 games:
  • Sept. 29: Texas (8-5)
  • Oct. 20: Iowa State (6-7)
  • Oct. 27: TCU (11-2)
  • Nov. 10: West Virginia (10-3)
  • Nov. 17: Texas Tech (5-7)
Away Big 12 games:
  • Oct. 13: at Kansas (2-10)
  • Nov. 3: at Kansas State (10-3)
  • Nov. 24: at Oklahoma (10-3)
  • Dec. 1: at Baylor (10-3)
Non-con challenge: at Arizona. This will be a fun one, even if Oklahoma State rolls like it has in the matchup between these two teams in each of the past two seasons. OSU knocked off the Wildcats in the Alamo Bowl before embarrassing Arizona again in a game in Stillwater last year, the first of two Stoops brother-coached teams to lose at Boone Pickens Stadium. There's a new man in charge in Tucson, and former West Virginia/Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez will get a chance to prove himself early on. It'll also be a nice challenge in true freshman quarterback Wes Lunt's first road game and first real competition.

Gut-check game: Texas. This will be an early-season crossroads game. Neither team will necessarily prove itself with a win, but these two are just outside the legitimate contenders for the Big 12 title. Win this game, and people will start to take you seriously. It means the same for Texas, but OSU can win a third consecutive game against the Longhorns and sent a shot across the Big 12 that even without Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden, it's going to be a force in 2012.

Chance to impress: at Kansas State. Ask Baylor about how easy it is to go into Bill Snyder Family Stadium and get a win. Texas A&M can probably attest to the difficulty, too. OSU snuck out of its own stadium with a win last year in a game it may have lost if there were 30 more seconds on the clock, but the Cowboys were the only team to beat K-State in one of its nine one-score games last season. The Wildcats will be motivated and probably in the top 15. A win on the road for OSU in that scenario? Legit.

Snoozer: Savannah State. These guys went 1-10 in the FCS last season, and now they're signing up to try to beat the reigning Big 12 champs on their home field. Not gonna happen. The only intrigue in this game is how Lunt looks in his first game. Even if he's awful, OSU rolls. It'll be a learning experience for the young gun.

Final analysis: We didn't mention Bedlam yet, but the Thanksgiving weekend game will be a must-see date as the war of words heated up over the offseason. Oklahoma will be a heavy favorite, but Oklahoma State may still have Big 12 title aspirations. OSU gets a five-game home schedule, but plays three 10-win teams from 2011 on the road this season. Baylor won't be a 10-win team this year, but Kansas State and Oklahoma certainly have great shots to do it. Outside of the additional home game, it's a tough final stretch for the Cowboys, who finish the season on the road with trips to OU and Baylor. They also host West Virginia and travel to Kansas State as two more of their final five games. OSU isn't built to win big this year, but it will win, and if it can find a way to win a few of those close games down the stretch, should surprise some people and flirt with nine to 10 wins.

See more Big 12 schedule analysis here.

Schedule analysis: Texas

June, 15, 2012
Time to start analyzing each team's schedule across the Big 12. Next up, those Longhorns down in Austin.

See more Big 12 schedule analysis here.

Nonconference (with 2011 records):
  • Sept. 1: Wyoming (8-5)
  • Sept. 8: New Mexico (1-11)
  • Sept. 15: at Ole Miss (2-10)
Home Big 12 games:
  • Oct. 6: West Virginia (10-3)
  • Oct. 13: Oklahoma (10-3) at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas
  • Oct. 20: Baylor (10-3)
  • Nov. 10: Iowa State (6-7)
  • Nov. 24: TCU (11-2)
Away Big 12 games:
  • Sept. 29: at Oklahoma State (12-1)
  • Oct. 27: at Kansas (2-10)
  • Nov. 3: at Texas Tech (5-7)
  • Dec. 1: at Kansas State (10-3)
Must-see game: Oklahoma. It doesn't matter what the records are or how good either team's going to be. This game is an annual classic soaked in fried dough, turkey legs and corny dogs at the State Fair of Texas. More often than not, this game is about proving a point and stealing the inside track to the Big 12 title. Don't be surprised if that's the case in 2012.

Gut-check game: at Oklahoma State. Neither of these squads are among the favorites to win the Big 12, but both teams have an outside shot at making it happen. Texas has lost two consecutive games to the Cowboys after not losing to OSU since 1944. Both of those were in Austin. OSU is breaking in lots of new faces. Texas is maturing. Want to prove you're back on the way to the top of the Big 12 totem pole? Better win this one, Longhorns.

Chance to impress: West Virginia. Texas will probably be narrowly favored in this game, but West Virginia is the preseason Big 12 media darlings, coming off a 70-point outburst in the Orange Bowl. The Mountaineers have the most explosive offense in the Big 12 and Texas is supposed to have the league's best defense. If Texas truly wants to turn heads, this is the game to make it happen. It'll be playing a top 10-team and an offense loaded with hype. Manny Diaz & Co.? Better shut 'em down.

Snoozer: New Mexico. Texas' schedule, to its credit, is the only one in the Big 12 without an FCS team on the docket. Hats off to Texas in that sense. That said, all the teams Texas does play aren't very good, even if they're reasonably big names. Wyoming very well may be the best team the Longhorns play in nonconference. Ole Miss and New Mexico combined for a whopping three wins last season, and New Mexico might be the worst FBS team in the country. Bob Davie took the job to try to clean it up, but it won't be easy. Texas might run for 1,000 yards in this game alone.

Final analysis: Texas' schedule sets up the Longhorns well for success. They'll face six 10-win teams in 2012, but four of them come to Austin. The Longhorns have had their problems in Lubbock, but Texas Tech will struggle to stop the run, and two-win Kansas takes up one of Texas' four road trips. The Longhorns have their balanced 4-4-1 home-away-neutral schedule thanks to the Cotton Bowl date against Oklahoma. In the new Big 12, which employs nine-game, round-robin conference schedules, the difference between the toughest and easiest schedules is minuscule. That said, Texas is definitely on the easier end of the spectrum this season. It'll need to mature as last year's freshman invasion on offense become sophomores.
Time to start analyzing each team's schedule across the Big 12. First up, those Red Raiders out in Lubbock.

Nonconference (with 2011 records):
  • Sept. 1: Northwestern State (5-6)
  • Sept. 8: at Texas State (6-6)
  • Sept. 15: New Mexico (1-11)
Home Big 12 games:
  • Oct. 6: Oklahoma (10-3)
  • Oct. 13: West Virginia (10-3)
  • Nov. 3: Texas (8-5)
  • Nov. 10: Kansas (2-10)
  • Nov. 24: Baylor (10-3) at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas
Away Big 12 games:
  • Sept. 29: at Iowa State (6-7)
  • Oct. 20: at TCU (11-2)
  • Oct. 29: at Kansas State (10-3)
  • Nov. 17: at Oklahoma State (12-1)
Chance to impress: Oklahoma. The Sooners are coincidentally the last team Texas Tech beat in 2011 before losing its final five games, including four losses by at least 24 points. The Red Raiders get to host Oklahoma, which they embarrassed in 2009, the last time the Sooners traveled to Lubbock. Tech is 2-1 in its last three games versus the Sooners, and an early-season win would go a long way in convincing just about everyone that the Red Raiders are bowl bound.

Gut-check game: at Iowa State. Can you even call this a trap game? Iowa State knocked off Texas Tech in each of the past two seasons, including a 41-7 laugher in Lubbock that signaled the beginning of the end in 2011. Iowa State will be mostly the same team, and if Tech can't go to Ames and get a win, the Red Raiders will be dismissed early on, and Tommy Tuberville's seat will get very, very warm.

Snoozer: Take your pick. To each his own, Texas Tech, but you should be ashamed. In a league full of cupcake schedules, the Red Raiders are the worst offenders. New Mexico is a mess. Texas State is in its first year in the WAC after being independent in 2011 and Northwestern State is an FCS team. Pitiful. No, I don't care that Tech is playing at Texas State.

Day of reckoning: at TCU. Texas Tech hasn't played a nonconference game against a major-conference opponent since 2003, but TCU in 2011 would have been a tough matchup. Last January, though, Texas Tech squirmed out of the game and played Texas State, New Mexico and Nevada instead. Expect the Horned Frogs' fans to remind Texas Tech of that game, and plenty others from the old Southwest Conference in this rivalry renewal.

Final analysis: Texas Tech has a well-placed 4-4-1 conference schedule, featuring four home games, four away games and one game at a neutral site. With a nine-game conference schedule, neutral-site games are a nice move to help balance out the schedule and not have to play five road games in conference in a given season. It's the same format Texas Tech had last year, and it's a pretty balanced schedule. It's tough to simply look at the win-loss records of each team and figure out much. Every team in the Big 12's schedule is going to look loaded based on 2011 results, because the league has three conference champions and six 10-win teams suiting up in 2012. Outside of its awful nonconference schedule, Texas Tech will be pretty balanced. Expect the Red Raiders to make a bowl game, but if the ball bounces the other way in a few games, they could easily slip to 5-7 again.