And cue the crazy Texas A&M blogger who will try to tell you otherwise but hosting a Tulsa team that will most likely be ranked to start the season and travelling to Tallahassee to play Florida State trumps all the other Big 12 non-conference schedules for 2011. Its turning into a tradition that has help the Sooners achieve championship status in recent years. In 2008 Oklahoma won a three-way tie with Texas Tech and Texas based on their schedule strength. That year they played Cincinnati and TCU at home along with a road trip to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies. Last year it was a trip to Cincinnati and home games against Florida State and Air Force that left the Aggies and Oklahoma State holding nothing more than "we almost made it to the Big 12 Championship" rings.
As the old saying goes, "Championship teams play championship schedules." Its a philosophy that Oklahoma both believes in and is committed to. After the Sooners trip to Tallahassee on September 17th concludes their agreement with the Seminoles they have home and away agreements already made with Notre Dame, Tennessee, Ohio State and LSU to get them through the 2019 season.
This isn't just something that OU fans are boasting about either. National publications like The Sporting News who recently ranked the Big 12 schedules agree.
First to worst (TSN)
Oklahoma: Tulsa, at FSU, Ball State
Texas A&M: SMU, Idaho, vs. Arkansas
Texas: Rice, BYU, at UCLA
Iowa State: Northern Iowa, Iowa, at UConn
Oklahoma State: Louisiana-Lafayette, Arizona, at Tulsa
Missouri: Miami OH, at Arizona State, Western Illinois
Baylor: TCU, Stephen F. Austin, Rice
Kansas State: Eastern Kentucky, Kent State, at Miami
Kansas: McNeese State, Northern Illinois, at Georgia Tech
Texas Tech: Texas State, at New Mexico, Nevada
Of course the flip side of a tough non-conference schedule is that it provides a greater opportunity to get beat. But then again, I'd rather play with the big boys during the regular season and not have to try and ignorantly rationalize how playing Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Tech and Florida International didn't get my team into the Big 12 Championship.