Big 12 announces Strength of Schedule Requirement

By Kevin Kelley -

The Big 12 Conference has announced a non-conference scheduling requirement for football. It’s programs must annually play at least one team from the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, or Notre Dame.

“Schedule strength is a key component in CFP Selection Committee deliberations,” commented Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “This move will strengthen the resumes for all Big 12 teams. Coupled with the nine-game full round robin Conference schedule our teams play, it will not only benefit the teams at the top of our standings each season, but will impact the overall strength of the Conference.”

Per the release, the scheduling requirement “does not impact existing non-conference game contracts.” That means teams won’t have to cancel any games that are currently scheduled in order to meet the terms of the requirement.

The Big 12 is one of two conferences that currently plays a nine-game schedule. The Pac-12 also plays nine games and the Big Ten will begin a nine-game slate in 2016.

Some Big 12 teams, Baylor in particular, have been criticized for a weak non-conference schedule. The Bears haven’t played a Power Five non-conference game in the regular-season since a 2009 game at Wake Forest and don’t have another one scheduled until 2017 at Duke.

The Big 12 will continue to schedule FCS teams but may not play more than one per season. Currently, the Big Ten is the only conference that has discouraged playing FCS teams moving forward. The Big Ten also has a Power Five opponent requirement which also includes Air Force, Army, BYU, Cincinnati, Navy, Notre Dame, and UConn.

The ACC and SEC, which play eight conference games, both previously announced strength of schedule mandates. Beginning in 2017, ACC schools must play one non-conference game against a Power Five team (or BYU or Notre Dame).

The SEC has a similar mandate that begins in 2016 and possibly includes Army, although no official statement has been made by the conference. Both conferences, however, will still schedule FCS teams for the foreseeable future.

Big 12 Football Schedules

  1. Phil (@pgclare)
    December 8, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Big Ten will also allow Air Force

  2. Jeff B.
    December 8, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Baylor gonna have st stepup that non conference slate!!

  3. Maverick
    December 8, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    The only thing left that is needed:
    1.) SEC and ACC play 9 game conference schedule.

    • Benny Cusimano
      December 8, 2015 at 3:58 pm


    • David
      December 8, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      Currently, the top two teams in the SEC, ACC and B1G already play a 9 game schedule. 8 pre-determined games + 1 championship game. The XII top team sits at home if they want the last week of the season.
      So, add two teams and a CCG, and I’m sure the SEC will gladly join the B1G in going to 9 games. The ACC already has 8 1/2 by having Notre Dame play 5 schools a year, and Clemson, FSU, Ga Tech, and now Louisville all finish their season with a traditional SEC rival. Meanwhile, Baylor plays Incarnate Word and Houston Baptist.

    • Maverick
      December 9, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      You CLEARLY missed the point.
      When the ACC and SEC play only 8 conference games, they usually only play 1 Power 5 OOC opponent.
      The Pac 12, Big 10, and Big 12 will be playing 9 conference games, plus at least 1 Power 5 OOC opponent.
      The effect of this is that the ACC and SEC have a clear scheduling advantage with 1 less Power 5 opponent. Thus, they are more likely to have a better overall record.
      But here’s the game changer: Conference Championship Game. The Big 12 doesn’t play one. This will most likely hurt them in the long run unless everyone plays 1 P5 OOC game (and the good teams play 2 P5 OOC games), because the ACC and SEC will have played 9 Power 5 opponents (8 conference, 1 Power 5), and the ACC and SEC champion will have played 10 Poer 5 opponent. These 10 power 5 opponents are greater than the Big 12’s 10 power 5 opponents (9 conference games plus 1 power 5 opponent), because the SEC champ will have played 1 more better opponent, the SEC runner-up champion. Thus, their strength of schedule is better.

      Thus, if I’m Oklahoma, Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State, I am playing at least 1 top Power 5 OOC opponent (Michigan, USC, Florida), and 1 weaker power 5 opponent (Virginia, NC State, Washington State).

    • David
      December 9, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      Well, we can’t all play Kansas and Iowa State every year and call those P5 games, sadly.
      You continue to miss the point, Maverick. Baylor plays 9 P5 schools. So did Alabama. Clemson is in the ACC and played *11* P5 schools. Oklahoma only played 10.

    • Travis B
      December 9, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      Every conference has a Kansas type team. So don’t act like that only exists in the B12. The fact is that the B12 is disadvantaged by not having a CCG.

    • Maverick
      December 9, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      Baylor played 9 power 5 conference games. Alabama played 10 power 5 conference games. I just said that.
      Oklahoma played 10 power 5 conference games just like Alabama. The difference is Oklahoma’s 10th game (Tennessee) was weaker than Alabama’s (Florida). Alabama’s 9th game was Wisconsin.
      The SEC’s record will always be overrated because they will have had 7 fewer losses by only playing 8 conference games. However, their conference champion finalists will be rated higher than the Big 12s.
      Mathematically, the SEC and ACC have the best chance to make it to the College Football Playoff because they only play 8 conference games. Until they add another game, the system will continue to be rigged.

    • Day
      December 9, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      Mean while Oklahoma got in with out a conference championship & the BIG also played 8 game conference & Michigan St is in. Not rigged, called a balance.

    • Maverick
      December 10, 2015 at 12:45 am

      Stanford played 11 Power 5 opponents, plus an AAC opponent. They had the toughest schedule in the league by far and had 2 losses. Imagine if Alabama or Oklahoma had played 1 more power 5 opponent. The chance for another loss increases greatly.

      Also, Oklahoma dropped from #3 to #4. Why? Because the 10th P5 game of MSU was a greater opponent than Oklahoma’s 10th game (Tenn).

      Anyone that doesn’t see the statistically advantage of playing 8 conference games and as little out of conference power 5 opponents is a moron.

  4. Dave
    December 8, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    It is too bad that the University of Washington does not adhere to that rule. No Power 5 OCC game in 2015-2014 was a very weak Illinois team. 2016 includes Portland state, Idaho and a Power 5 team (in name only-Rutgers). The same applies in 2017 with Rutgers. 2018 and 22019 BYU slips in. Not until 2020 do they play a real Power 5 OCC team in Michigan. AD Woodward loves cupcakes.

    • David
      December 8, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      They at least played Boise State. I’d rank BSU up there as a de facto P5 level game. Idaho under the other Petrino is about to continue improving each year, but yeah, playing Portland State…. Still, the PAC at least provides two teams that played 10 conference games. If Stanford had beaten Oregon, Oklahoma would be out of the CFP right now. So, at least PAC right now has the toughest schedule with 9 + CCG. The B1G will join them soon.

    • schoup
      December 8, 2015 at 6:25 pm


      Rutgers who you disparage took both ends of Home and home vs Ark 2013, 2014.

    • Hank
      December 8, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      BYU is a Power Five school.

    • Colin White
      December 9, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      Don’t discount Portland State they beat 8-4 fbs WSU this year. That’s a rarity to find an FCS team to beat a quality FBS team.

  5. Christian
    December 8, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    BYU is not a P5 team. Neither is Army. But to call them one allows the B12 to schedule cupcakes and pretend they’re playing P5. A joke.

    • thunder239
      December 9, 2015 at 7:39 am

      BYU isn’t a cupcake they were ranked a good part of the year.

    • Shep
      December 9, 2015 at 9:17 am

      They were ranked for 4 weeks which accounts to 3 games. Last I checked, that’s not a “good part of the year” – you Cougars fans are delusional as to the quality of your program.

    • Malty
      February 8, 2016 at 11:54 pm

      I’m surprised that BYU isn’t included. They’re 7-1 against OU and Texas (the one loss being a one point loss AT Texas).

  6. @dbrunstheworld
    December 8, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Is BYU (and BSU) omission intended as one last jab to get them to consider football only membership?

  7. Shep
    December 9, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Breaking news: Entire Big 12 schedules Army, including a few same season home-and-home series.

  8. lost in Va.
    December 9, 2015 at 11:51 am

    make Tex A&M and Mizzou move back to the big 12, that would make things simpler for most, and the B12 could have their Champ. game…..

    • Day
      December 9, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      The Aggies & Tigers are locked into the SEC, they are not moving. The Big-12 can find two other teams to fill the void, just a matter of time.

    • David
      December 9, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      Ever hear of ”right of free assembly”? No one “makes” institutions join or leave.
      The XII had a chance to take Louisville and missed it. They still have a lot of decent institutional options, all better than Kansas and Iowa State. Namely, Houston, Memphis, Cincinnati, Colorado State, New Mexico, and maybe BYU. And there’s always their Florida option of USF+UCF but that’s too far afield. If the XII were wise, they’d take Houston to smooth and soothe Texas legislators, Memphis, Cincinnati and Colorado State. The last three give them 3 well-populated states that matter when it comes to TV contracts. Tennessee, Ohio, and Colorado.
      Divisions work out with TT/TCU/BU/UT/OU/Ok State/C-State and WVU/UC/ISU/KU/K-State/Houston/Memphis. 9 conference games with 6 divisional + 3 alternating. No locked crossovers necessary. C-State encouraged to hold UC game at end of season, WVU encouraged to hold a Pitt game at end of season, similar to SEC/ACC games. Badabing.

    • Shep
      December 10, 2015 at 9:41 am

      XII already has 4 Texas schools, adding TCU should have soothed the legislators. I live in metro Houston, this is Aggie country anyways. Cincy makes the most sense to give them a travel partner in WVU, but I see no draw in the Colorado State brand. Memphis has fallen in basketball prominence since Coach Cal left, and will be a springboard for football coaches but I think that’s their next best option.

    • Roll Tide
      December 13, 2015 at 5:26 am

      Even as a big time SEC fan, I got to side with Maverick on this one. SEC needs to play 9 conference games like everyone else. Coach Saban even admits it, but the other coaches are afraid of adding more conference losses and missing bowl games. Alabama will still dominate the conference, but it’s bad to watch my SEC play down to the competition. If I have to seen another weak non-conference schedule, I will puke.

      That said, Roll Tide Roll.

  9. Jon Markham
    December 9, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    I just checked Alabama’s schedule. UL Monroe, Middle Tennessee and Charleston Southern. You critisize the Big 12.

    • Colin White
      December 9, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      Hey doomas, Bama played 9-3 Wisconsin. You SEC haters are ignorant.

    • Maverick
      December 10, 2015 at 11:38 pm

      1 good game. 3 bad games… And you call yourself the best program in the country? I call you chicken s***. Why don’t you encourage Bama and the SEC to schedule 9 conference games and more power 5 OOC opponents? What, you scared, bro?

    • Day
      December 11, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      No where does it say Bama is the best program in the country & you can call them whatever 10th grade names you want but Bama is once again in the playoffs while other teams like USC Played ND, 2 weak games & a 9th conference game against ASU that was basically like playing a FCS team if you look at the score. Have fun at the Holiday Bowl against a team that Bama (chicken sh** team) already beat.

    • Maverick
      December 11, 2015 at 10:18 pm

      Yes, comparing ASU to an FCS team, Sunbelt, C-USA, or MAC is a fair comparison… Are you being serious?

      Also, imagine if the Pac12 played 8 games instead of 9. We would replace those games with FCS, Sunbelt, CUSA, MAC teams, which in all honestly would probably mean a 12-0 week by the Pac12. That means the conference would have 6 less losses than playing another conference game. One more win for half the teams… that makes the view of the team higher.

      I love your passion, Day. It’s truly admirable. But I don’t think you are seeing the entire picture and how it is an easier path to higher rankings when you play 1 less conference game.

      I can see a fair justification of playing 8 conference games when everyone else is moving to 9. Also, if you look at the ACC, their out of conference schedule in 2016 is SIGNIFICANTLY HARDER than the SEC’s. More than half play 2 P5 OOC games. Everyone but BC plays 1 P5. And the ones that only play 1 P5 OOC game, also play a game against an AAC team.

      The SEC on the other hand has every team play 1 Power 5 team. However, outside of maybe 1 or 2, that’s all they play 3 WEAK OOC games instead of 9 conference games.

      How do you not see how unfair this is? HOW? I don’t understand it, and frankly, I hate it.

    • Day
      December 12, 2015 at 9:40 am

      Maverick, if you hate it so much then why don’t you complain to the SEC headquarters about it, write letters, send email, make calls! I will see if I can call Magic Nick up today & get this thing rolling, we should have a 9 game conference in the SEC by the end of the day. If it was only that easy. You ask if Bama is “scared bro” about going to a 9th conference game but Saban is the only one that encouraged it, I have nothing against 9 conference games & once again SEC will some day. There are always 1-2 bottom feeders in every conference, my point behind the ASU comment was if or going to smash someone in your conference by that many points, then whats the difference of play a FCS, G5 team? Hell, the FCS or G5 teams may give you better challenge sometimes, we see it all the time close calls with weaker teams. Calling people morons is disrespectful just because they don’t have the same beliefs you have, so be it.

    • Maverick
      December 12, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      You are nuts. How do you not see the absurdity of a Power 5 team playing 3 games against an FCS, Sunbelt, C-USA team??? As a Trojan, I was pissed we played 2 of them this year, 2015. (Yet, we did have Texas A&M cancel on us, which forced us to find a replacement game quickly.)

      Look at our schedule next year: 9 conference games. Alabama @ an away-neutral site (a flight for Trojans, a drive for Bama fams), Notre Dame, and a top Group of 5 team (Utah State)… Top Group of 5 conferences go from best to worst: AAC, MW, MAC, C-USA, Sunbelt.

      Alabama’s schedule on the other hand: 8 conference games. USC @ a home-neutral site (drive for you, flight for us), Western Kentucky, Kent State, Chattanooga.

      WOW. JUST WOW. WOWZIES. You call that a fair schedule? USC playing 11 Power 5 teams vs. Alabama’s 9 games?????

    • Day
      December 12, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      Don’t blame the Texas A&M cancel game on anything, there was no contract. Are you really praising Utah St right now? Last time I check W. Kentucky just won the Con.USA title & Chattanooga made it to the playoffs in FCS. Bash the schedule all you want, I see two extra easy wins for USC (ASU & Colorado) on the schedule already, what’s your point? What does a drive & a flight have to do with anything going to a game, I am sure there will be Trojan fans driving just like there will be Bama fans flying, has nothing to do with the out come of the game. Isn’t the Holiday Bowl in San Diego? Lets see, drive for Trojan fans, flight for Badger fans, are you going to complain about that too? Why would you, its in you own state. I bet if Bama was playing USC in the Birmingham Bowl you would be cuzzing & saying how unfair it would be. If Bama was playing USC in the Holiday Bowl, you would not say a word. All conferences are not designed the same, that’s what makes college football special, you should not be pissed caused you played Idaho & Ark St, you won & they got paid. Call it unfair if you wish, if your team is great, then they will win, bottom line! No excuses!

    • Colin White
      December 12, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      I’m perfectly fine with 8 conference games. 9 is just uneven. I don’t like having to travel for 5 conference games every other year + plus having to play a P5 in OOC while already playing 9 P5 schools. 6/8 games are going to be true battles. 9 games only hurts a conference. Yeah, I’m talking to you PAC 12 and future B10.

    • Maverick
      December 13, 2015 at 5:33 am

      Uneven? That’s what you are worried about??? What about the uneven balance across college football, where the SEC’s schedule is ARGUABLY the worst overall. (If they played 9 conference games, then obviously they would move up. And if they played a tougher Non-conference, then I no problem hearing how tough their schedule is.)

    • Colin White
      December 13, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      How is the SEC’s schedule the worst???

    • Maverick
      December 17, 2015 at 2:00 am

      They play only 8 conference games. They play 3 cupcakes… Compared to a team like USC or Oklahoma, the SEC’s scheduling is a joke. Sure, some of the teams are really good, but try playing a schedule like USC’s in 2016. The best SEC team would be lucky to have no more than 2 losses. But go ahead, defend teams like Arkansas, who go 2-2 in OOC play, LSU whose best OOC game is a close result against a 3-9 Syracuse, Miss St, who doesn’t play a Power 5, and Ole Miss, who gets blown out by the 4th best team in the AAC.

      It’s easy to have a 6-6 record when you play 4 scrub OOC games. All you have to do is go 2-6 in conference play. It’s easy to go 10-2, when you play 4 scrub OOC games and go 6-2 in conference.

      You can’t deny the fact that playing 1 less conference game helps a Power 5 conference.

  10. Dave
    December 9, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Hello Rutgers defender!

    I knocked Rutgers as being unworthy because that is what they are. It is immaterial that Rutgers beat a weak Arkansas team 2 years in row. Rutgers has a 100 plus year history of failure in football-just look at the record.

    1. Conference championships= zero
    2. National championships= zero
    3. Top 5 season ending rankings=zero
    4.. Top 10 season ending rankings=zero
    5. Top 20 season ending rankings=2 (not too hot for a place that was the birth place of
    6. Wins in major bowls=zero
    7. Appearance in major bowls=zero
    8. Need I say more?

    It is common knowledge that Rutgers was invited into the Big 10 for one reason-location. With over 300,000 alumni of Big 10 schools in the NY Metro area, their invitation to join was strictly business-and not based on athletic performance.
    9. In their 2 years of Big 10 football they have been shellacked by every good Big 10 team that they have played-statistics don’t lie. Now they have fired their coach and AD and once are are trying to rebuild.

    They are like the poor schlep who get gets an invitation to join a private club but cannot really afford membership.
    10. They should continue to battle Indiana, Purdue and Maryland for low man on the Totem pole.

    11. Please feel free in refuting any of the statements that have been made. They are not Big
    Ten worthy.

  11. Ryan
    December 9, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    What we really need is a standard across the Power 5 that says you need to play at least Ten games against Power 5 opponents. That way everyone is playing the exact number of games against similar competition. Also, the other four conferences need to follow the Big Ten’s example and eliminate FCS games.

  12. Lee
    December 10, 2015 at 2:12 am

    Great idea for Power 5 conferences to eliminate games against FCS schools if you are only considering strength of schedule. However, what’s going to happen to the budgets and FCS football programs if they don’t get that guarantee from playing the Power 5 school? It is a bad idea for conferences to dictate eliminating these games. It will hurt and maybe destroy some football programs if FCS schools don’t get that money. Shame on the Big 10. I’m a B1G guy, I think it stinks and it has nothing to do with strength of schedule. It has everything to do with what’s best for college football.

    • Maverick
      December 10, 2015 at 11:42 pm

      Who cares about the FCS? They can take care of themselves. They don’t need to give scholarships to players. If someone wants to play, let them walk on.

      FCS schools were doing just fine ten years ago without playing big opponents. And if they are state schools, then they can request money from the state.


    • Day
      December 11, 2015 at 9:06 am

      Ten years ago (financial) is a lot different then today, you may not care about the FCS schools but their are millions that do. Requesting money from the state is a cop out, the states have other expenses to deal with & not everyone can afford to get into big time colleges.

    • Maverick
      December 11, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      Who doesn’t your program just give them some of your money then? You can say it’s being a good samaritan… You should never play down to competition. You should play the best, especially when you are part of the great SEC.

    • Day
      December 11, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      The SEC is not the only conference that plays FCS schools.

    • Ryan
      December 11, 2015 at 3:51 pm

      It’s not the Power 5’s responsibility to subsidize other schools’ athletic departments through rent-a-victim match ups. The Power 5 can still play the Group of 5 in gaurantee games and the Group of 5 can in turn give FCS schools gaurantee games. The helping out the FCS is a weak argument that SEC fans like to tote to feel good about their super weak OOC schedules.

    • Day
      December 11, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      I never said it was the P5 responsibility to take care of the FCS schools, plus, once again the SEC is not the only conference to schedule these teams, I just don’t have a problem with any P5 conference playing them, as they all do.

    • Maverick
      December 13, 2015 at 5:30 am

      You don’t have a problem with it, because the SEC is the only one truly benefiting from it!!! Everyone else is suffering because of it. It is bad for the college football game. The SEC is choosing short-term conference success over the betterment of the game for College Football.

      No one wants to watch Alabama play an FCS game or Kent State. They want to see them play South Carolina or Florida. They want to see them travel to Ohio State or Oregon for a home and home.

    • Day
      December 13, 2015 at 8:35 am

      Maverick, with all due respect I assume nobody wants to watch Kent St play Clemson or Penn St either, right? I understand, Bama for the last 8 years has dominated the SEC, if they were not winning so much we would not be having this conversation cause nobody would care. The SEC is not the only conference that benefits from playing FCS & no it is not bad for college football. Everyone else is not suffering because of it, in the playoffs we have 4 different conferences in the playoffs, as it should be. College football is more popular then ever & that is not going away anytime soon. I would not mined a home/n/home game but I like the neutral site games as well.

    • Maverick
      December 14, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      The SEC’s scheduling is taking advantage of the system. It’s as simple as that.

    • Kevin Kelley
      December 14, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      Your other comment was automatically flagged and held by the system due to profanity.

  13. Antonio Maldonado
    December 10, 2015 at 8:04 am

    Well I’m a Big 12 guy and I can’t deny that our conference is weaker than yrs past when we had Nebraska, Texas A&M, and Mizzu, but I do believe that the power 5 conferences are very tough and I believe this year the SEC has gotten a little extra credit for years past because this year the Pac 12 without a doubt was the toughest conference with Oregon St. having a down year and Colorado not doing so well since Cordell Stewart went to the NFL.
    The Big 12 is very tough schedule with UT in total reconstruction, but still having to play TCU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Texas Tech, Kansas St., West Virginia, Baylor, and even a down UT is a tough season for any program, leaving only Iowa St and Kansas as the punching bags of the confrence.
    The SEC is very top heavy as Auburn, South Carolina, Mizzu and Arkansas having a down year and Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Miss. St. Never really striking fear in anybody with the exception of a few good years for Vandy during the Jay Cutler era.
    The Big 10 is also very top heavy with Maryland, Perdue, Illinois, Rutgers, Indiana, Minnesota not top notch programs and Nebraska and Penn St. Having down years.
    ACC has its whipping boys also with Syracuse, Virginia, Duke, Wake Forrest, Boston College and Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech experiencing down years
    All in all they are all tough conferences even with the down programs. It’s a cliché but I have to say “On Any Given Saturday” anything is possible that’s what makes NCAAF so exciting even more so than the NFL at least for me!

  14. Z Man
    December 10, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    now Texas lawmakers need to get off their behinds and require Texas and Texas A&M to play each other every year, that will satisfy the P5 requirement for both schools every year

    • Maverick
      December 10, 2015 at 11:39 pm

      Screw Texas A&M. They left the conference. Texas doesn’t need to play them, nor will they.

    • Day
      December 11, 2015 at 9:13 am

      I too miss the Texas vs Texas A&M rivalry & one day it may comeback, Aggies did what was best for them, nothing last forever.

    • Ray
      December 16, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      As a Longhorn fan, I hold no grudge against Texas A&M leaving and going to the SEC. It was a smart business decision and it turned out better than anyone, even their regents, could have expected. But both of these schools need to get over their hurt feelings and get off their grudge-holding high horses and make these games happen. Same thing goes for Kansas-Missouri, Pittsburgh-West Virginia, and Nebraska-Colorado. They can all make excuses and throw up their hands about how they cant make these games happen, but that is all it is: excuses.

  15. Travis B
    December 16, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    BYU should count as a P5.

    SEC, ACC, B10 all agree that they are. PAC doesn’t have a mandate but they play BYU regularly too. B12 will probably clarify at some point that BYU counts to meet the requirements. They are a worthy and competitive opponent and I hope they start building towards having even more P5 schools on their schedule. Like 7 or more would be perfect!

Leave a Reply