Four Mistakes in the 2023 Big 12 Football Schedule
Well, we finally have a schedule. Overall making a schedule for a 14-team league is difficult, especially with four new members, who all want at least one of the outgoing two. As a whole I do like the schedule, Texas Tech gets Texas on Black Friday, West Virginia gets old Big East foe Cincinnati, Farmageddon to finish the season, and Houston hosts Texas. It’ll be a fun year, and if we’ve learned anything about this league, any team can jump up and surprise you, even Kansas now. So, what looks like an easy or hard schedule could look like the exact opposite come late November.
However, life ain’t perfect and neither is this schedule. So now that I’ve talked about how I like the schedule, let me go ahead and contradict myself by complaining for the rest of the article.
No Dust Bowl?
I wrote about how this could be the new Farmageddon last year before Texas Tech played Oklahoma State this season. The Big 12 had a real opportunity here, to lean into this rivalry, and missed the mark by leaving it off the schedule. Admittedly this rivalry has been pretty one-sided in the past decade in favor of Oklahoma State, but it hasn’t been without drama. This season, with Oklahoma State being ranked in the Top 10, Texas Tech trotted out third-string QB Behren Morton and led at the half before their offense stalled when he got hurt.
Additionally, this rivalry’s overall record is separated by just one game and always seems to produce exciting games. Plus the storylines around this season would be beautiful. Former Texas Tech QB, Alan Bowman transferred to Oklahoma State and a return game to Lubbock would’ve been electric for both sides. Now I get it, Texas Tech got all four Texas schools, and a game at BYU that makes geographical sense, so the Big 12 wanted to have them play some northern teams, but no Dust Bowl is a missed opportunity.
Iowa State Misses A Couple “Rivals”
I’m using the word “rivals” loosely here. After all, Iowa State did get Kansas State to end the season, and of course, has Kansas in November as well. However, there are two fanbases Cyclone fans enjoy arguing with that are left off. The first is their “Riot Bowl” with West Virginia. When the Mountaineers joined the Big 12, Iowa State would play them regularly on rivalry week, seeing as they were the two leftovers. There isn’t a ton of animosity in this one, and both fan bases are pretty similar in passion, and how they act. So it’s a disappointment that there won’t be a game for these two fanbases to get together.
On the flip side of Iowa State missing a game with a similar fanbase, they also don’t get UCF, who’s about as different of a fanbase as one could imagine. After all, it’s a land grant school in Iowa against a school from sunny Florida. UCF is also routinely called a commuter school by their Florida rivals, and while that’s probably an unfair description of what it is today, the differences between these two fan bases are stark. UCF has made some massive strides in its gameday atmosphere over the last decade, and it should only improve as they make the leap to the Big 12. But after all the Twitter bickering between the two fanbases the past week, it would be fun to see UCF have to go to Ames in November, in their inaugural Big 12 season.
Not Enough Cold Games For Oklahoma and Texas
Okay, so this is petty on my part, and the Big 12 didn’t stoop as low as I would’ve, but Texas and Oklahoma are leaving and there’s no reason to do them any favors. Also, they’re going to the SEC, where they won’t have the opportunity to play cold weather games, which is why I would’ve sent them both on four-week-long November road trips up North. To be fair they both got one road trip, and both should be pretty brutal for them. Oklahoma goes to Provo on the 18th, for a game that could very easily kick off late and not finish until Sunday. On the same day, Texas goes to Ames, which after watching Tech play there in the same week this past season, doesn’t look like much fun at all.
If the Big 12 wanted to be especially cruel to both teams, November could’ve looked something like this. Oklahoma could have four straight road games at Iowa State, West Virginia, BYU, and Kansas State. Texas could’ve then had their November road trip with games at West Virginia, Cincinnati, Iowa State and BYU. Now that’s a cruel November for both of the deserters.
Kansas State Doesn’t Get Oklahoma
To be fair to the schedule makers, Kansas State did get Texas, and that’s a good thing, but if they were only going to get one of the departing schools it should’ve been former Big 8 rivals Oklahoma. Okay, the all-time record is 77-22-4 in favor of the Sooners, so again rivalry is a loose term, but Kansas State has tortured Oklahoma as of late, winning three of the last four. These two have also now met 103 times with the first one coming back in 1908, plus the last game was in Norman so it would’ve likely meant this would be in Manhattan. Just imagine Kansas State opening up its Big 12 schedule, after winning the title last year, with Oklahoma at home in primetime.
Overall, Not a Bad Schedule
Overall I do like the Big 12 schedule, there’s a lot to look forward to on it, and all four new schools did get one of Oklahoma or Texas (though UCF did get a bit robbed by not getting either at home). It’ll be an interesting season with 14 teams, and one that you probably need to go 8-1 to feel good about making it to Arlington, where in the past 7-2 was normally good enough. Plus the last week should be really interesting, Texas Tech at Texas on Black Friday could carry some Big 12 Title implications, TCU and Oklahoma on the same day could do the same, and you get to wash it all down with Farmageddon the next day. There are some games I wish we had, and hopefully, in a couple of years when the Conference is finally back to 12, we’ll get to see some of those on a yearly basis.