Longest Non-Conference, Power-Five Scheduling Droughts

By Amy Daughters -
Texas Tech Red Raiders

Texas Tech hasn't played a power-five team in the regular-season since '03. (Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)

How big of a deal is the SEC and ACC’s new requirement that member schools play at least one non-conference game against a power-five opponent?

Seriously, don’t most big-time programs already schedule these type of games on a regular basis?

Here’s a look at the six power-five teams with the longest droughts in scheduling a non-conference game against another power-five program. The offenders are ranked by the length of the drought.

6. Colorado

Last Non-Conference, Power-Five Opponent: Sept. 24, 2011 at Ohio State

Last Non-Conference, Power-Five, Regular-Season Win: 29-27 over Georgia in 2010

The last time Colorado scheduled a non-conference game against a power-five team was also the first year it joined the Pac-12.

The Buffs don’t have another big-league game scheduled outside of Pac-12 play until a road trip to Michigan in 2016. This date is followed up with a home-and-away series with Nebraska in 2018 and 2019, Minnesota in 2021 and 2022 and the Huskers again in 2023 and 2024.

5. Kansas

Last Non-Conference, Power-Five Opponent: Sept. 17, 2011 at Georgia Tech

Last Non-Conference, Power-Five, Regular-Season Win: 28-25 over Georgia Tech, 2010

Kansas hasn’t had a power-five team on its non-conference slate in two seasons. All that changes in 2014 when the Jayhawks travel to Duke on Sept. 13.

The only other big-conference action on the Jayhawks non-Big 12 radar is Rutgers in 2015 and 2018 and Illinois in 2023 and 2024.

4. Texas A&M

Last Non-Conference, Power-Five Opponent: Sept. 1, 2011 vs. Arkansas at Arlington, Texas

Last Non-Conference, Power-Five, Regular-Season Win: 27-6 win over Clemson in 2004

The Aggies haven’t scheduled a power-five opponent in the regular season since their final year in the Big 12.  What’s even more shocking is that Texas A&M hasn’t won a scheduled non-league game against a power-five team in 10 years. The Aggies are 0-6 since in such games since 2005, losing once to Clemson, twice to Miami (Fla.) and three times to Arkansas.

The Texas A&M brass has stepped it up and thankfully 2014 will be the final year of the drought. The Aggies have a 2015 date set with Arizona State in Houston, a home-and-away with UCLA in 2016 and 2017 and a blockbuster, two-game series with Oregon in 2018 and 2019.  

3. Utah

Last Non-Conference, Power-Five Opponent: Oct. 9, 2010, at Iowa State

Last Non-Conference, Power-Five, Regular-Season Win: 68-27 over Iowa State in 2010

Though Utah played Pitt out of conference in 2011, the Panthers were still a member of the Big East then, not joining the ACC until 2013.

Ironically, the last time the Utes played a non-league game against a team in a power-five conference was when they were still Mountain West members. This was the same year that Utah also traveled to South Bend to play Notre Dame, a game it lost 28-3.

The Utes do have a home-and-away series scheduled against Michigan in 2014 and 2015, but after that they have no power-five members on their long-term slate.

2. Baylor

Last Non-Conference, Power-Five Opponent: Sept. 9, 2009, at Wake Forest

Last Non-Conference, Power-Five, Regular-Season Win: 24-21 over Wake Forest, 2009

Not only has it been five seasons since Baylor scheduled a power-five team in the regular season, the Bears don’t have another big-time, non-conference opponent slated until they square off with Duke in 2017 and 2018.

That’s a total of seven years between the two games.

1. Texas Tech

Last Non-Conference, Power-Five Opponent: Sept. 27, 2003, at Ole Miss

Last Non-Conference, Power-Five, Regular-Season Win: 49-45 over Ole Miss, 2003

The last time the Red Raiders played a power-five team outside of conference play, George W. Bush was in the first term of his presidency and Steve Spurrier was the head coach of the Washington Redskins.

Not only did Texas Tech travel to play Ole Miss in 2003, it also hit the road to face NC State, a game the Red Raiders dropped 49-21.

The good news is the powers that be at Texas Tech have a home-and-away series booked with Arkansas for 2014 and 2015 followed by the same arrangement with Arizona State in 2016 and 2017.

The Red Raiders’ drought lasted ten years.

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Categories: NCAA, Strength of Schedule

30 Comments to Longest Non-Conference, Power-Five Scheduling Droughts

  1. JoeShmoetheRagman said....

    There is a pretty simple reason A&M hasn’t face a P5 since they played the SEC’s Arkansas in 2011. Hmm… what could that be?

    June 9, 2014 at 12:41 pm
  2. Jonathan Davisson (@waxdingo) said....

    A&M is a true outlier in this list, I’ll at least give the others credit for playing 9 conference games.

    June 9, 2014 at 12:44 pm
  3. Snoopy said....

    Wow. Aggies only play 8 conference games too. Pretty weak.

    June 9, 2014 at 1:51 pm
  4. Dan said....

    In fairness, A&M vs Arkansas was a non conference game set up for 10 years. So the Aggies probably didn’t think they needed to schedule many more P5 opponents – then they came into the SEC and their big non conference game became a conference one. I doubt there are a lot of P5 teams that don’t have most of the non conf games scheduled for 2-3 years in advance. Yes, they did a poor job adjusting their schedule after their move to the SEC but people should understand their agreement with Arkansas changed once they joined the SEC.

    June 9, 2014 at 2:44 pm
  5. Dan said....

    Also, the Big 12 just recently started playing 9 game schedules in 2011. Texas Tech should be ashamed for going 11 years without scheduling a single, freaking big time opponent. At least they have corrected it going forward. But Baylor should be the one in everyone’s cross-hairs now. They added Incarnate Word in 2019! Nice job locking that one up, clowns.

    June 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm
    • Travis B said....

      Yeah, it’s a complete joke…

      June 9, 2014 at 4:56 pm
    • Tex said....

      Dan, Baylor plays 9 conference games. That means they play 9 games against P5 opponents and 3 games against patsies. This is the exact same arrangement most, if not all, SEC schools have. Chattanooga (Bama’s schedule), Western Carolina (Bama), Lamar (A&M), Ball State (A&M), Western Carolina (A&M), Chattanooga (TN), Samford (Auburn), Tennessee Martin (MSU), Presbyterian (Ole Miss), Nicholls State (Arkansas) are all comparable to Incarnate Word. Nice job knowing the facts though…clown…

      June 10, 2014 at 5:04 pm
    • David said....

      Tex: Except Baylor never will play 13 games in a season, because the XII doesn’t have an end of season championship game. Scheduling INCARNATE WORD is scheduling a start-up FCS program. That does not compare to Ball State won the MAC championship a few years ago under Hoke and is a longtime FBS school. Even with FCS, UA and AU playing Chattanooga and Samford (Howard) are series that go back into like the 1920s. Nicholls State was in the Div 1 AA championship not long ago. NONE of them compare to a team that sounds literally like Little Sisters of The Poor, that is, Incarnate Word.

      June 13, 2014 at 7:01 pm
  6. JoeShmoetheRagman said....

    @Kevin, Dan is correct. A&M had a 10 year series set up with Arkansas. Once they joined the SEC they lost their major OOC opponent. You can’t just snap your fingers and magically set up home and home P5 series.

    June 9, 2014 at 3:45 pm
  7. RoyB said....

    If I recall correctly, Utah had a game scheduled against Washington for the 2011 season, prior to their invite to join the PAC-12. After the invite, the Washington game became part of their regular season schedule, so Utah had to fill an empty slot last minute. They did so with Montana State. Unfortunately, this doesn’t change the fact they haven’t scheduled a P5 team since then (until Michigan this year), but they did have one on their schedule more recent than Iowa State.

    June 9, 2014 at 4:43 pm
    • mj said....

      I don’t think you can blame Utah based on the below…

      1) Utah played @ Pitt 2011. Pitt was a power conference team when the game was scheduled.

      2) Utah had Oregon scheduled for OOC and lost the return home game when they joined the P12 in 2011. Changing that home and home series with Oregon into a one and done on the road since the first P12 game against Oregon was scheduled on the road.

      3) Utah had another OOC game against Iowa state but lost that when they joined the P12 in 2011 an the B12 went to a 9 game scheduling format. Again, Utah had already played the road game of the series changed from a home v home to a one and done.

      4) Utah has played BYU in 2011, 2012, 2013. Many people would agree that BYU measures up to a P5 team caliber.

      5) Utah has played 9 conference games since 2011. This means they were already playing one more P5 team than other teams in a conference that have 8 conference games.

      June 9, 2014 at 5:10 pm
    • matt said....

      Hard to blame the Utes. They play nine conference games and I would consider Pitt in 2011 a P5 school since the Big East was a BCS conference (with WV, Lou, Rut, Syracuse, and Pitt future P5 members). That’s 5/8ths of the conference, plus Cincy played in B2B BCS bowls just a few years before. And BYU, is not technically a P5 team, they are certainly better than the dregs of a P5 conference and on par with the middle class of most P5 leagues. It’s not like Utah is fattening up on the Sun Belt with their OOC schedule.

      June 9, 2014 at 8:32 pm
  8. Mike said....

    Sad, I saw Utah was getting beat up in the PAC12. But I didn’t realize they have also been ducking teams in their non conference :(

    June 9, 2014 at 4:46 pm
    • Travis B said....

      Yeah and plus the fact that BYU doesn’t count as a P5 game also hurts them when looking at this information…

      June 9, 2014 at 4:55 pm
    • Bill said....

      Utah dropped BYU in 2014 and 2015 because they were concerned with “too difficult”
      of a schedule. But they added my Bulldogs instead, I think it comes back to bite them! Utah is trying to schedule down their non conference to make a bowl.

      June 9, 2014 at 7:24 pm
  9. JC said....

    There is no excuse why a P5 school doesn’t have a P5 ooc opponent in their schedule. Regardless if they have a 9 or 8 game conference format and in my opinion if you have an 8 game conference format you should require every school in your conference to play 2 P5 ooc games. You are in a power conference right? So that means that you can just schedule ooc against weaker conferences and be good with it? NO! That’s ridiculous and does not give us a good measurement of P5 conferences true strength. Look back at 2013, Alabama was almost everybody’s number 1 but then they lost to Auburn, however, people still argued that Alabama was the best or 2nd best and were ranked # 3. What happened after that? They play Oklahoma and get beat in the Sugar bowl, an Oklahoma team that was not even in the top 10 ranked behind a # 6 Baylor they lost to but Baylor loses to # 15 UCF, not even a member of a P5. If there is no real competitive play between the power conferences are rankings are just opinionated and don’t hold any bearing, which would be fine if we defined it for what it is and not as if rank was absolute. Ranking is just an educated guess but lately it hasn’t seemed very educated to me.

    June 9, 2014 at 5:03 pm
  10. Tully said....

    Every team on this list except for Utah is or was in the Big 12. Fir Baylor Duke in 2017.2018 is it for the entire decade, It is a good thing Briles in 2014 took the time to fill up the 2019 OOC schedule with….Incarnate World.

    Since Bill Snyder came back to KSU before the 2009 season KSU has not added a single BCS/P5 OOC opponent. and none are on the schedule after AUburn. Auburn, like UCLA, Miami earlier came out of the Ron Prone era at KSU….

    June 9, 2014 at 7:21 pm
  11. Jordan said....

    One thing that the author overlooks is that every team on the list is either a Big 12 member or changed conferences. No excuse for Tech, but there are clear explanations as to why the other teams haven’t had a P5 non-conference foe. A lot of games that were set up fell through when the conference shift took place. Also, with the exception of A&M, each of those teams plays a 9 game conference schedule. The ACC and SEC made that rule to make sure they were playing 9 P5 teams a year just like the Pac-12 and Big 12. The list shouldn’t look at non-conference P5 games, but 9 total P5 games in a season.

    June 9, 2014 at 10:31 pm
  12. bradleysmith1212 said....

    Baylor knows how to schedule. Seriously. Wake Forest was the last P5 opponent, and that was 5 years ago! Brilliant! Duke is the next opponent, in 3 seasons! Again, brilliant!

    Baylor understands that a win is a win (which is a huge problem with the current system). 10 wins, even if 3 or 4 of them are against patsies, is still 10 wins. And that helps you get ranked and energizes the alumni and fan base.

    The SEC followed a similar philosophy during the entire BCS era. You win, and you’re in! Most SEC teams played 3 HOME games against patsies. Thus, when all the SEC teams play each other, they’re all 4-0 or 3-1 out of conference. That really influenced computer rankings and pollsters in the SEC’s favor. And, all of the SEC to play a P5 OOC opponent is just propoganda. Half of the SEC already has an OOC rivalry with an ACC team. The new rule will influence perhaps two teams’ schedules per season.

    June 10, 2014 at 10:49 am
    • jimmyloffer2007 said....

      All points are fair on Baylor future scheduling…except the article left out TCU was on Baylor’s non-conf schedule in 2010 and 2011 (when they were #4 and #14 in the AP polls). TCU is now part of the power 5 conference.

      Now the writer has been discredited on his ranking and his drought claim. Yaw.n

      June 10, 2014 at 6:12 pm
    • Kevin Kelley said....

      The article is based on teams that are currently in a power five conferences. There are several other similar situations due to the break-up of the Big East.

      June 10, 2014 at 6:46 pm
  13. bradleysmith1212 said....

    Hey Kevin,

    A nice follow-up article would compare the schools that play the most non-P5 OOC games at home over the last five years. I’m sure the SEC and Big Ten will comprise most of that list.

    June 10, 2014 at 10:59 am
  14. jst5 said....

    Utah feels like they need to add an OOC P5 team to their schedule each year moving forward. This has caused them to shy away from committing to playing their instate rivals BYU and USU annually in addition to a P5 school. Their problem might be solved if BYU were to be counted as a P5 OOC game by the Pac 12. Utah has beaten BYU 4 times in a row but they also remember the last time they did that (02-05) it was followed up by losing 3 of 4 (06-09).

    USU has emerged as a contender in the MWC and a fringe top 25 team. This puts Utah in a tough position to try and balance scheduling and success. They have missed 2 consecutive Bowls while going 5-1 OOC those years. Playing BYU, USU and an OOC P5 team each year will make it increasingly difficult to be a bowl team as they are unlikely to post many 3-0 OOC records with that schedule.

    I think we need to take it easy on teams like Utah Colorado and Kansas. Their 1st goal is making bowl games and they are unlikely to do so with a challenging OOC schedule. They might be P5 schools but we should not hold them to high scheduling standards until they become nationally relevant. They question these schools are asking themselves is whats more important SOS or becoming bowl eligible?

    June 10, 2014 at 11:51 am
  15. Moonpie In the Sky said....

    Technically speaking, A&M played a BCS conference team last year in SMU. Like it or not, the American was a BCS conference.

    June 12, 2014 at 12:21 am
    • Kevin Kelley said....

      This post is about teams in Power Five conferences. That term only began this year and is for ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC.

      June 12, 2014 at 12:20 pm
    • Tully said....

      That is a reach big time…When SMU would have been scheduled they were what in Confrence USA,,and spent one year is the AAC, because just about everyone else had left.

      Look on the bright side next year another team in Texas owns this streak all to themselves….That would be the Baylor Bears…….Art Briles,Bill Snyder Scheduling for success…..

      June 13, 2014 at 8:18 pm
  16. ICE BERG said....

    Yea listeners of fait and truth be told. Hence forth and forever lasting the AAC conference shall now and forever be considered a BCS conference. AND THE POWER CONFERENCES SHALL BE HENCEFORTH BE CALLED THE : “POWER SIX” ICE BERG

    BY THE POWERS INVESTED IN ME BY BEING A ‘REAL GOOD FOOTBALL FAN”

    June 12, 2014 at 6:39 am

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