It looks like September 4th is going to be a bittersweet day for fans of Big 12 football. Yes, that's the kickoff Saturday, with a full slate of games, but we could raise serious questions about the level of competition - or lack there of.
Every Big 12 school has a cupcake game, or two, on their schedule but there are also those teams who schedule opponents that are just down right embarrassing. Our writer's here at CC Machine had a recent discussion on the twelve worst non-conference games found on the schedules of Big 12 teams. We took twelve games and ranked them from 12 down to 1 with one being the absolute worst. Then I assigned points for each selection with one point being awarded for the twelfth ranking, two points for eleventh and so on down to twelve points assigned for being ranked as the top bad game in the Big 12. Here's what we came up with (remember #1 is the worst of all).
#11 Sept 4 Utah State @ OU - 3+2+4 = 9
#10 Sept 11 Buffalo @ Baylor - 4+10+2 = 16
# 9 Oct 8 O-State @ UL Lafayette - 2+12+3 = 17
# 8 Sept 4 North Dakota State @ Kansas - 8+3+9= 20
# 7 Sept 11 Missouri State @ Kansas State - 5+ 6+10= 21
t# 3 Sept 4 Stephen F Austin @ Texas A&M - 9+7+6= 22
t# 3 Nov 20 Weber State @ Texas Tech - 12+5+5= 22
t# 3 Sept 11 McNeese State @ Missouri - 11+4+7= 22
t# 2 Sept. 4 Sam Houston State @ Baylor - 7+8+12= 27
t# 2 Sept 25 South Dakota State @ Nebraska - 10+9+8= 27
t# 1 Sept 25 Northern Iowa @ Iowa State - 6+11+11= 28
We all agreed that both Texas and Oklahoma deserve to be on the list but while Florida Atlantic and Utah State are games that shouldn't be found on their schedules they aren't as bad as the other ten on the list. We also discovered that Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Missouri are equal in their weak sauce scheduling as are Baylor and Nebraska (Really Nebraska? South Dakota State?) but the worst football game scheduled by a Big 12 team this year is Northern Iowa at Iowa State.
Here's how we each ranked them
#12 Nov 20 Florida Atlantic @ Texas - Yes, everybody does it but Texas and Oklahoma are the Crown Jewels of the Big 12 Conference and you have to think they've reached the point as a programs where games like this (and Utah State at OU) don't need to happen anymore. At least they don't have to go on the road to play a subpar opponent like ole #11 here.
#11 Ooct 8 O-State @ UL Lafayette - Why? Why? Why?
#10 Sept 4 Utah State @ OU - See note for #12
# 9 Sept 11 Buffalo @ Baylor - Baylor is the only team to make the list twice but at least Buffalo is a FCS team.
# 8 Sept 11 Missouri State @ Kansas State - Its almost as if Bill Snyder never left..wait...
# 7 Sept 25 Northern Iowa @ Iowa State - Fresh off a win over Minnesota in the 2009 Insight Bowl the Iowa State Cyclones are taking their program to the next level.
# 6 Sept. 4 Sam Houston State @ Baylor - The funny thing is that this game could wind up being what qualifies Baylor for a bowl game.
# 5 Sept 4 North Dakota State @ Kansas - The Bison finished the 2009 season with a 3-8 record. That should guarantee the Turner Gill era opens up on a positive note.
# 4 Sept 4 Stephen F Austin @ Texas A&M - SFA finished 10-3 last year and won the Southland Conference but that still doesn't make them a worth opponent for a team that has aspirations of wining their first division title in over a decade.
# 3 Sept 25 South Dakota State @ Nebraska - The Jack Rabbits played Minnesota to within a field goal last season but Nebraska is coming off their best season since 2006 and are supposed to be taking another step forward this season. Perhaps they're just gearing up for the level of competition they'll experience in the Big Ten.
# 2 Sept 11 McNeese State @ Missouri - The Tigers will be talking Heisman trophies and national championships after this one.
# 1 Nov 20 Weber State @ Texas Tech - Late November in the Big 12 is supposed to be bringing us games with division titles on the line. Instead the Saturday before Thanksgiving this year is bringing the people of Lubbock an exciting contest against Weber State.
#12 - Nov 20 Florida Atlantic @ Texas - There's no way I'm not putting UT last on this list. Their non-con is a joke every year and 2010 is no exception. As much as I hate Howard Schnellenberger, I'd absolutely put that aside if they were able to pull the upset here. I see four Gilbert INTs returned for pick sixes and FAU gets 500+ yards of total offense precipitating Will Muschamp's immediate resignation following the game. Hey, a guy can dream can't he? ;)
#11 - Sept 4 Utah State @ OU - This is an awful game and quite honestly shouldn't be on the schedule. I hate when OU schedules teams like this. It's a joke and Joe C, Bob Stoops, and whoever else should avoid games like these at all costs.
#10 - Sept 4 North Dakota State @ Kansas - If there's one team that schedules even worse than Mizzou in the non-con, it's KU (well give it a year until Snyder is running full steam again). Mangino scheduled some absolute turds and new coach Turner Gill is very likely to continue that same tradition. KU loses just about everyone on offense, but that won't be enough to prevent them from rolling a team like ND State.
#9 - Sept 11 McNeese State @ Missouri - Here's where we start to get into the dogs. Missouri is notorious for scheduling a god awful non-con and this game is no exception. If we've got any Missouri fans trolling, I know, I know you play Illinois every year. Tell me, how many times have they won that game? They're letting the contract expire this year so Mizzou fans surely can expect four cupcakes on their non-con instead of just three next year. Yum, Yum.
#8 - Nov 20 Weber State @ Texas Tech - If Mike Leach was still at Tech, this would probably have been in my bottom three. Simply because he would have tried to score 100 points and would have blown the doors of Weber State. That said, obviously Mike Leach isn't there and listening to Tommy Tuberville lately makes me think he might be more worried about what conference logo is going to be on his apparel than the mighty Weber St. Wildcats!
#7 - Sept 11 Missouri State @ Kansas State - K-State has arguably the league's best running back, so you'd think that they'll line up and pound teams this year. However, if we've learned anything watching Bill Snyder over the years it's to expect the unexpected. K-State has toyed with several different options at QB this spring and don't expect the dust to settle anytime soon. They're expected to use multiple QBs this season to maximize the threat of Daniel Thomas in the backfield. K-State is a darkhorse contender for the North this year so they cannot afford a bad loss as this would certainly be.
#6 - Sept 4 Stephen F Austin @ Texas A&M - If Stephen F Austin even has a pulse on offense, they've got a shot against the Aggies. aTm appears happy to take over the all offense, no defense mantle that Mike Leach left behind. Expect the Aggies to try and outscore everyone this year and also expect the asinine outrage when Jerrod Johnson isn't in the Heisman hunt.
#5 - Sept. 4 Sam Houston State @ Baylor - see #3
#4 - Sept 25 South Dakota State @ Nebraska - Did you see Nebraska's offense last year?!? Until they show they can consistently put points on the board and not rely on a kicker to miss three field goals (sorry, I was there and the memory of it still hurts). I know everyone thinks that Crick is the new Suh and there will be little if any dropoff, but forgive if I think they're going to miss Suh a little more than they're trying to spin this offseason.
#3 - Sept 11 Buffalo @ Baylor - As long as Robert Griffin is under center and more importantly has two good knees, Baylor will be a perennial "sleeper" team in the Big 12. Buffalo will head into the season with a new head coach after losing Turner Gill to KU. Assuming Gill didn't leave the cupboard completely barren, Buffalo could definitely give Baylor a game if they are able to contain Griffin.
#2 - Sept 25 Northern Iowa @ Iowa State - To me, this is just the kind of game that Iowa State tends to lose. You know it's one of those early season games where you're watching the scores scroll across the bottom of your t.v. and you don't really ever care about Iowa State football, but you just happen to catch out of the corner of your eye that they lost to some no name school by a field goal. That's this game.
#1 - Oct 8 O-State @ UL Lafayette - This one draws my top ranking for two reasons. First, OSU is going to suck this year and any road game is going to be a potential loss for the Pukes. Second, beating a Big 12 team on the Rajun Cajun's home field would be old news as they were able to accomplish that feat just last year with a gutty win over K-State. Without a doubt, at least in my opinion, the best chance on this list for an upset.
12 Nov 20 Florida Atlantic @ Texas
11 Sept 11 Buffalo @ Baylor
10 Ooct 8 O-State @ UL Lafayette
9 Sept 4 Utah State @ OU
8 Nov 20 Weber State @ Texas Tech
7 Sept 4 Stephen F Austin @ Texas A&M
6 Sept 11 McNeese State @ Missouri
5 Sept 25 South Dakota State @ Nebraska
4 Sept 4 North Dakota State @ Kansas
3 Sept 11 Missouri State @ Kansas State
2 Sept 25 Northern Iowa @ Iowa State
1 Sept 4 Sam Houston State @ Baylor
Well, that's our opinions. Now give us yours!