In 2024, the Big 12 will make the full-time jump over to a 16-team format, with Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah all coming aboard, while Oklahoma and Texas make the move to the SEC.
The 2023 season marks the first time since the conference added West Virginia and TCU that the Big 12 didn’t play a round-robin schedule, pitting each team in the league against one another. Now, with a 16-team Big 12 moving forward, the round-robin schedule is a thing of the past and a new format will have to be made.
This week, all 18 athletic directors with ties to the conference met to discuss a wide array of things in Dallas, and among those was the new-look schedule. With Oklahoma and Texas sitting out of the discussions about the conference’s future, the remaining 16 put their heads together to try and find the best way to move forward.
Baylor Athletic Director Mack Rhoades did an interview with SicEm365 after the meetings and opened up a bit about what the new scheduling matrix might look like.
“This meeting was an important meeting from the standpoint that we talked about the formula, or what we would call the matrix, so how we would put the schedule together,” Rhoades said. “That was a big step for us to get over. We’ll begin to start to putting together schedules and looking at sequencing and making sure they follow our hard principles as well as our soft principles, and certainly the matrix of how we do all of it. I would hope that [it will be done] by the [Big 12] Championship game, for certain, but we’ll see how this next step and process goes.”
After a follow-up question, Rhoades divulged a bit into what direction the athletic directors are leaning in terms of schedule structure moving forward.
“You know, I’m probably sharing more than I should’ve but we’re really looking at it in cycles of four years,” Rhoades said. “The thing that’s a little bit hard is we know we’re probably going to have to take an additional look after two years with the CFP going to 12 teams and just making sure that what we’re doing in making sense when we think about giving the Big 12 the best opportunity to have multiple teams in the playoffs.
“Part of the conversation, not necessarily for this upcoming year, is we’ve got to be thinking about how many Power Five teams we want to play annually, versus what the rest of the Power Five (Four) leagues are doing. Right now, with nine conference games and the mandate to play one of your three nonconference against a Power Five, you’re having to play 10 Power Five. Well, how does that line up if the SEC is only playing nine Power Five? Does that give them a better opportunity to get more teams into the CFP? So, those are all of the conversations that we’re having, and obviously, there’s some fluidity to it, but I think we’ll land in a good place here by the championship game.”