Ranking Soft Big 12 Non-Conference Schedules
By Mike Casazza
This time, West Virginia fans really don’t mind seeing Rich Rodriguez on top.
When CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman listed his top 10 softest non-conference schedules, the former Mountaineers coach (and player) and his Wildcats topped the list. WVU was second, though not by much in Feldman’s calculations, and first among three Big 12 teams.
Three of the top four, that is.
That’s not good and the argument could be made, and perhaps without much argument, that the Big 12 has the softest collection of non-conference schedules in the country. That could be good if you, like the Big 12 coaches, believe the competition within the conference is hard enough to encourage an athletic director to avoid scheduling too ambitiously. Or it could be bad because, honestly, the Big 12 teams didn’t do much to avoid such indignity.
Put it this way: The Big 12 plays eight games against teams from the FCS (and congratulations go to Oklahoma and Texas for not traveling down that road). But there are also four other games against FBS teams that were in the FCS just a year or two ago.
Or put it this way: There are eight games against BCS opponents (and shame on Kansas, Kansas State, and Baylor for not traveling down that road). But two of those are against an SMU team that was in the non-BCS Conference USA last year and happens to be in the BCS-by-default American Athletic Conference this year.
A few schools did a good job and maybe just enough to help them in the polls and late in the season when BCS bowls are up in the air. Which ones? Let’s take a look, from best to worst.