Oklahoma Sooners

CBS Sports Ranks Big 12 Strength of Schedule, OU With Easiest Path in 2023

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma

For the first time since 2011, the Big 12 will not play a round-robin schedule which means that strength of schedule is actually a valid metric heading into the 2023 season. With 14 teams in the conference and only nine conference games, there is a true sense of disparity in schedules for the first time in over a decade.

BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF are set to join the conference on Saturday, and every existing team in the league plays at least two of the newcomers, while Oklahoma State has the distinct privilege of playing all four pf them. Meanwhile, only TCU and Kansas will face both Oklahoma and Texas, who will leave the Big 12 after the 2023 season.

CBS Sports’ Shehan Jeyarajah recently ranked all fourteen Big 12 schedules from hardest to easiest, taking things like location, timing, and of course, opponents, into account.

 

The privilege of the toughest schedule goes to West Virginia, who plays both Penn State and Pittsburgh in the nonconference before playing Texas Tech and TCU to open up Big 12 play. Roadtrips to UCF, Oklahoma, and Baylor round out a rough slate for Neal Brown in a make-or-break year.

The second toughest schedule, according to CBS Sports, belongs to the Texas Longhorns. The toughest test of the year comes in Week 2 at Alabama, but road trips to Baylor, Houston, TCU, and Iowa State will be tough. Add to that home games against BYU, K-State, and Texas Tech, plus the Cotton Bowl against OU, and you have quite the gauntlet for the Longhorns in their last season in the Big 12.

Iowa State, Kansas State, and Texas Tech have the third, fourth, and fifth-hardest schedules, respectively, while Kansas, TCU, Baylor are sixth through eight on the list. BYU, Houston, UCF, and Cincinnati are in order from ninth to 12th, showing that the Big 12 did it’s best to give them all a similar slate in their first season.

 

Then, with the two easiest schedules, are the Bedlam schools, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.

The Cowboys’ 13th-ranked Big 12 schedule sees them travel to the state of Texas just once to play Houston. Plus, they play just four Big 12 road games: at Iowa State, at West Virginia, at UCF, and the aforementioned game at Houston. Home games against K-State and Oklahoma provide the biggest challenges for OSU in 2023.

With the easiest schedule in 2023, Oklahoma has a chance to turn things around after a 6-7 finish in 2022. Since the nonconference game against Georgia was canceled, Oklahoma doesn’t have a Power Five nonconference game on its schedule. OU dodges K-State, Baylor, and Texas Tech, and gets UCF and Iowa State at home. Road games at Oklahoma State and TCU will be their biggest test outside of the Red River Rivalry against Texas.

 

Here’s a look at the entire schedule, courtesy of the Big 12 Conference.

2023 Big 12 Strength of Schedule Rankings (Per CBS Sports)

1. West Virginia

2. Texas

3. Iowa State

4. Kansas State

5. Texas Tech

6. Kansas

7. TCU

8. Baylor

9. BYU

10. Houston

11. UCF

12. Cincinnati

13. Oklahoma State

14. Oklahoma

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