Last week we took a peek at some of the most embarrassing non-conference match-ups for the Big 12 conference and not its time to turn the page and look at the better end of the league’s non-conference schedule. Big 12 schools have scheduled intriguing games against teams from the ACC, Big East, Big 10, Pac 10, SEC and yes, even the Mountain West.
With the criticism often given to Big 12 schools for weak scheduling, accolades are deserved for the following ten games, many of which will make for a strong opening weekend in `09.
10. Iowa @ Iowa State, September 12th – It’s the battle of state pride for Iowa and the first true test for new Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads.
9. Missouri/Illinois, September 5th – The “other” boarder way for the Tigers will give us the first look at the post Chase Daniel. This is also the second of two Big 12/Big 10 match-ups on our list indicating that a little conference pride is at stake.
8. Baylor @ Wake Forest, September 5th – Wake was a middle of the pack team in the Coastal Division of the ACC while Baylor finished in a tie for last place in the Big 12 South. In 2009 the Bears are expected to be a strong contender for a bowl birth under the direction of second year coach Art Briles and quarterback Robert Griffin.
7. Colorado @ West Virginia, October 1st – You have to think that it’s getting close to do or die time for Buffs head coach Dan Hawkins. The Mountaineers are moving into the post Pat White era and will be looking for a measure of revenge after falling to the Buffaloes by a field goal in Boulder last season.
6. Oklahoma/Brigham Young, September 5th – The Sooners get to open up Jerry World with a match up against one of the top teams in the Mountain West. Led by senior quarterback Max Hall, the Cougars will be chasing BCS dreams in `09 while the Sooners begin their quest for a fourth consecutive conference crown and another shot at BCS glory.
5. Kansas State @ UCLA, September 19th – Bill Snyder is back in the saddle in the Little Apple and with the cream puff non-conference schedule that the Wildcats are playing this game sticks out like a sore thumb. The Bruins are long way from being the toast of the Pac 10 conference but they are every bit on par with Kansas State and will have the home field advantage at the Rose Bowl. Having to reload his offense, Snyder is definitely stepping out of his comfort zone for this one.
4. Nebraska @ Virginia Tech, September 19th – We are all anxiously awaiting the rise of the Huskers from their dormant slumber and this game could provide the spark needed to return the program once again to prominence. They’ll have their work cut out for them in going against an always strong Tech defense with a new signal caller.
3. Texas A&M/Arkansas, October 3rd – They are getting anxious in Aggieville and there is no reason why this shouldn’t be a winnable game for A&M. The Hogs will be breaking in a new quarterback and had just as many problems on defense last season as the Aggies.
2. Georgia @ Oklahoma State, September 5th – The Cowboys were humbled by the Bulldogs two seasons in Athens. Now the shoe is on the other foot as Oklahoma State will have both the home field advantage as well as the more experienced players.
1. Oklahoma @ Miami, October 3rd – If there ever was a non-conference opponent who could reach the state of loathing that the Sooners and Longhorns have for each other it would be the Miami Hurricanes. These two teams have hated each other since the 80’s and even with a lengthy pause in the series they picked it up exactly where they left off when the rivalry renewed in 2007. Oklahoma ran Miami out of the stadium that day with a 51-13 rout, and don’t think for a second that the Hurricanes have forgotten about it.