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Three Easiest Big 12 Football Schedules for the 2024 Season

Syndication: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

The 2024 Big 12 Schedule was finally unveiled on Tuesday morning, giving Big 12 fans the chance to start planning their routes for the football season next fall.

Not all routes are created equally though, as the path to Arlington is certainly easier for some than it is for others.

Today, we’ll take a look at the three easiest 2024 football schedules in the Big 12, and tell you why each of this is manageable.

 

Here’s how I did it.

Earlier this month, I produced a Way-Too-Early Power Ranking for the Big 12 in 2024.

After some adjustments for coaching changes, transfer portal moves, etc., I ranked each team’s schedule based on the average ranking of their Big 12 opponents, the average power ranking of the teams they’ll face on the road, and then made final tune-ups (nonconference schedule, home field, Vegas odds, etc.)

The metrics used will be based on rank within the Big 12. For example, if a team’s average Big 12 opponent is 7.5, that means the average opponent they’ll face is right around seventh or eighth in our power ranking. Then, where that average ranks among the other teams will be found in parentheses. The higher the number, the easier the schedule.

Make sense? Alright, here we go.

1. Kansas Jayhawks

Average Big 12 Opponent: 10.4 (16th)
Average Road Opponent: 10.2 (T-13th)
Nonconference S.O.S: 13th

Lance Leipold and the Kansas Jayhawks are coming off the best season that Lawrence has seen in nearly two decades, finishing with a record of 9-4 and ranked (No. 23) in the final AP Poll for the first time since 2007. As fortune would have it, KU will have a great chance at keeping the good times rolling in 2024 as well, drawing the easiest schedule of any team in the Big 12.

A nonconference slate of Lindenwood, Illinois, and UNLV shouldn’t cause the Jayhawks many issues, as they beat both the Illini and Rebels by double-digits this past season. They’ll open up conference play at West Virginia but draw three favorable matchups after that against TCU, at Arizona State, and vs. Houston.

 

Kansas’ most difficult game of the year comes against K-State, which is the only team they’ll see that ranks inside the top five of our Big 12 Power Rankings for 2024. After that, Iowa State, at BYU, Colorado, and at Baylor closes things out. Kansas’ average opponent in Big 12 play ranks somewhere between 10 and 11 in our conference power rankings. It doesn’t get much more favorable than that.

If Jalon Daniels stays healthy, 2024 is the season that Kansas could make the leap into the Big 12 title game.

2. Kansas State Wildcats

Average Big 12 Opponent: 9.67 (15th)
Average Road Opponent: 10.2 (T-13th)
Nonconference S.O.S: 8th

Chris Klieman has Kansas State churning out wins just as his predecessor did before him, going 19-8 (11-5 Big 12) over the past two seasons, finishing ranked 14th and 18th, respectively. In 2024, the winning should continue as K-State has managed a schedule that is nearly as favorable as their in-state rivals’.

The nonconference schedule of UT Martin, at Tulane, and vs. Arizona ranks in the middle of the pack for Big 12 teams, and should be manageable ahead of the conference opener at BYU. The Wildcats’ hardest game of the season comes against Oklahoma State, but they’ll get the Pokes in Manhattan, and OSU will be coming off a game against Utah.

After that, K-State should be favored in every game the rest of the way, outside of perhaps the season finale at Iowa State. After their BYE in Week 6, the Wildcats travel to Colorado and West Virginia before hosting Kansas in Week 9. In Week 10 they go to Houston, followed by another BYE. The final three games are vs. Arizona State, vs. Cincinnati, and the aforementioned game in Ames.

If that’s not a perfect chance for a 10-win regular season, I don’t know what is.

 

3. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Average Big 12 Opponent: 9.56 (14th)
Average Road Opponent: 5.5 (1st)
Nonconference S.O.S: 15th

This was a tricky one, as there were a few teams that could’ve taken this spot. However, it’s Joey McGuire and the Texas Tech Red Raiders that get the nod. After being touted as a dark horse Big 12 contender in 2023, Texas Tech turned in 7-6 season and needed to win four of their last five to do so. However, things appear to set up rather nicely for them in 2024.

The nonconference schedule is a cakewalk with Abilene Christian, Washington State, and North Texas being three very winnable games. Technically, TTU isn’t playing a Power Four school in the nonconference next year. After that, McGuire’s group gets a soft transition into conference play with Arizona State and Cincinnati, who should be two of the bottom teams in the league. Did I mention that Texas Tech will play four of their first five at home? They’re the only team in the conference that can say that.

A road game at Arizona is admittedly difficult, but it leads them into the first of two BYE weeks, followed by games against Baylor, at TCU, at Iowa State, and vs. Colorado. Outside of that game in Ames, they’ll be the betting favorite in each of those contests. Then, after another BYE in Week 12, Tech will go to Oklahoma State and return home to finish the season against West Virginia.

The only difficult part of Texas Tech’s season is that their road games in Big 12 play are tough, comparatively speaking. Their average road opponent ranks between fifth and sixth in my Power Rankings, and with games in Tuscon, Fort Worth, Ames, and Stillwater, that is valid. However, the schedule has six teams that should finish in the bottom half of the league, and that gives TTU an edge in most instances.

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