How will the remaining Big 12 football teams handle the new ‘Alliance’ announced by the Big Ten, the ACC and the Pac-12 on Tuesday afternoon?
Time will tell, but the new Alliance certainly has the potential to impact the non-conference schedules the Big 12 has built for the future.
HeartlandCollegeSports.com surveyed FBSchedules.com, which not only keeps up with schedules for the current season, but also tracks future schedules and agreements for teams at the FBS and FCS levels.
Oklahoma and Texas were not included in the survey because the two programs are preparing to move to the Southeastern Conference after the 2024-25 athletic year, those some college football writers believe it could be sooner.
This survey showed that all eight remaining Big 12 football teams have scheduling arrangements going out as far as 2037, with the majority of their contracted games against Power 5 Conferences being with teams from the Alliance conferences.
For now, the Alliance appears to not want to disturb current contracts, as noted by Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren during Tuesday’s press conference.
The release for the Alliance also noted that any and all current obligations for non-conference games will be met and honored.
But, the release was light on details, and as the scheduling details from the Alliance emerge, it could put some of the Big 12’s future games with these three conferences at risk.
Several years ago, the Big 12 leaned on its members to begin scheduling more games with Power 5 schools as a way of enhancing the conference’s strength of schedule for the College Football Playoff. All eight schools have met that mission in various ways.
A few contracts are for multiple years. For instance, Iowa State plays its yearly Cy-Hawk game with Iowa. West Virginia has a multiple-year contract with its ‘Backyard Brawl’ rival Pitt.
Most, however, are traditional home-and-home schedules. For instance, Baylor has contracts with Utah (2023 and 2024) and Oregon (2027 and 2028). Kansas has four different home-and-home deals with schools in all three conferences, ranging from Duke in the ACC to Washington State in the Pac-12.
The full list of future games sourced from FBSchedules.com is at the bottom of the story.
The schedules are built out years down the road, in part because teams are trying to meet certain missions. The Big 12, like the Big Ten and the Pac-12, play nine conference games, which gives them less flexibility than the ACC, which plays eight conference games (all teams play 12 regular-season games).
Most Power 5 teams like to play at least one ‘money game.’ This is when a Power 5 team pays a Group of 5 or FCS team to come to their stadium to play a game, one that usually ends up being a win for the home team. In return, that Group of 5 or FCS team gets a big check for making the trip. Power 5 teams don’t want to give up that opportunity because the revenue generated by the home game still dwarfs the payout to the visiting team.
With one money game, that leaves two remaining conference games for the Big 12. It also leaves the same for the Big Ten and the Pac-12.
Then it becomes a delicate dance, which is why if you look ahead at schedules for the next 10 years, you’ll see most Power 5 teams — not just in the Big 12, but all over the game — with just one ‘big’ game scheduled in non-conference. Those other games usually come from other Group of 5 teams, or a Power 5 team that consistently poses little threat (think Kansas).
Where this new Alliance could become problematic for the Big 12, either now or in the future, is what the requirements will be in the new Alliance? If the ACC sticks with an eight-game schedule, and the Alliance requires every team to play at least one team from one of the two other conferences, that becomes a challenge for the Big Ten and the Pac-12. Why?
If you’re, say, Oregon, do you really want to play Oklahoma State and, say, Clemson, in the same season? Probably not.
So, what happens? It all depends on the timing. If everyone can wait patiently for all the TV contracts to run out (which is in 2026), then the Big 12 can hold on to some of these games.
But what if everyone gets impatient, the Pac-12 expands, the Big 12 gets gutted and OU and Texas move on sooner than expected?
Well, then you could have a Notre Dame situation. When the Irish entered into its scheduling agreement with the ACC a few years ago, the Irish were sitting on millions in game contracts for the next decade. These deals have contingencies. The Detroit Free Press noted this when the Irish rebooted its series with Michigan for two years. The Irish agreed to play two games with Michigan in 2018 and 2019. The deal had penalties for cancellation — $150,000 for two years’ notice and $500,000 for one year’s notice. Within a year of the game, the cancellation penalty was $1 million.
This did NOT include the $2 million Michigan paid Arkansas to buy out its two-game deal with the Razorbacks just to play those games with Notre Dame.
So these contracts come with these clauses. Theoretically, everyone that has contracted a game wants to play said game.
But, depending upon where the Alliance takes the Big Ten, the ACC and the Pac-12, they all may have to recalibrate. That may bring the teams in the Big 12 some financial compensation — but cause them some new scheduling headaches — assuming the Big 12 stays together.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
**Want to win a $20 gift card? Go sign up here and join our conversation! The best poster each week wins a gift card to your favorite establishment!**
Future Game with The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12
Here is a list of known scheduled games between the eight remaining Big 12 football teams and teams from the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 (h/t FBSchedules.com):
Note: All contracts are home-and-home unless otherwise indicated.
Baylor: Utah (2023-24), Oregon (2027-28).
Iowa State: vs. Iowa (yearly game).
Kansas: Duke (2021-22), Illinois (2023-24), Washington State (2027-28), Virginia (2029-30).
Kanas State: vs. Stanford in 2021. Arizona (2024-25), Washington State (2026, 2029), Colorado (2027-28), Rutgers (2030-31).
Oklahoma State: Arizona State (2022-23), Oregon (2025-26), Nebraska (2034-35), Colorado (2036-37).
TCU: hosting Cal in 2021. Colorado (2022-23), Stanford (2024, 2027), North Carolina (2025-26), Duke (2028-29), Purdue (2030, in Fort Worth).
Texas Tech: NC State (2022, 2027), Oregon (2023-24), Oregon State (2025-26).
West Virginia: plays Maryland and Virginia Tech in 2021. Pitt (2022-25), Virginia Tech (2022), Penn State (2023-24).