The 2021 Big 12 football schedule was released on Thursday. Considering it’s frigid across the Midwest, it was a welcomed moment. I am dreaming about warming weather, cold beer, Big 12 tailgates and packed stadiums. Sign me up already. So with the schedule here, let’s get to five thoughts on the games we’ll be enjoying next fall.
1. TCU Got Hosed
I wrote about this in more length on Thursday, but TCU got screwed, there is no way around it. The Horned Frogs are the only Big 12 team without a bye week in conference play. They are not playing a conference game on 9/18 or 9/25, so their conference schedule goes for nine weeks in a row starting on 10/2. In a round robin like the Big 12 Conference, this is even more brutal. Considering TCU is hoping to be a dark horse in the Big 12 this fall, the conference schedule makers didn’t do them any favors.
Kansas vs. Baylor to Open, Really?
The first Big 12 conference match up of the season is … Kansas vs. Baylor. AND it’s the ONLY conference game the weekend of 9/18. I know a lot of this has to do with who already had non-conference games lined up, but MAN, Big 12, this is really the best we could do, huh? I love the Jayhawks and the Bears, and I hope both improve on their 2020 results, but the two teams combined for two conference wins last season, and they’re the ones opening up conference play? What a buzz kill! I guess I better check out the non-conference slate for the weekend of 9/18… just sayin’.
Oklahoma vs. Iowa State is Too Late
Oklahoma vs. Iowa State will take place on Saturday, November 20th. I know it’s early to be predicting who is going to play in a Big 12 Title, but these two programs are clearly going to be the favorites in the Big 12. The Big 12 knows this too. So why are these two teams playing so late in the season, when it’s entirely possible they’re meeting again two weeks later on December 4th in the Big 12 Championship game. Sure, Texas fans are screaming, don’t forget about us! But right now in the Big 12, it’s a pretty clear 1-2 punch between Oklahoma and Iowa State, until proven otherwise. And schedule makers should’ve don’t a better job realizing this.
A lot of Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State fans I’ve spoken with like this game on Thanksgiving weekend. I know there is a history of this as well, but count me out. Early November feels right for Bedlam to get the spotlight and maybe snag a College GameDay appearance and get more attention. I’m not one to take a back seat to the SEC or Big Ten, but the reality is that the SEC and Big Ten rivalry weekend games will always get top priority for ESPN and FOX. So why try to play the game on their turf by their rules? We’ve got the Red River Rivalry in early-mid October, so Bedlam settling into the first half of November spaces these games out and feels right.
Texas Tech with Toughest Stretch
The Texas Tech Red Raiders have the toughest stretch in the conference. They go to Oklahoma, followed a bye week, then Iowa State and Oklahoma State at home. The bye week is nice, but this all comes in the second half of the season as well. The OU game is on 10/30, followed by the other two on 11/13 and 11/20. I picked this stretch as the toughest in the conference over Kansas State, who has at Oklahoma State, vs. Oklahoma, bye week and vs. Iowa State to open the season. The fact that K-State gets both OU and Iowa State at home makes a difference, plus their brutal stretch comes to open the season, which typically can mean a fresher and more focused team. So congrats to Matt Wells and Red Raiders fans, this is just the kind of news you were looking for, right?!
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