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Rating the 2024 Big 12 Football Schedule

June 17, 2024

STILLWATER – It was announced on Monday morning, June 17 that the Oklahoma State Cowboys opening game with two-time defending FCS Division I champion and winner of 29 games-in-a-row South Dakota State would be at 1 p.m. on Saturday Aug. 31. Television would be streaming on ESPN+/Big 12 Now. That got me thinking of schedules and after going through and picking all the Big 12 games a couple of weeks ago in order to send in my picks for the Big 12 Conference Media Poll, I realized that all schedules in the Big 12 now with 16 teams and only nine conference games are not created equal, far from it. Phil Steele realized the same.
Phil Steele

Steele rated all conference schedules on his website. He noted that some teams get five home games and other only four. Oklahoma State actually plays five conference road games (Kansas State, BYU, Baylor, TCU, and Colorado). However, I agree with Steele in that it is more who play and not where you play except when you are playing Oklahoma State, Utah, Kansas State, Iowa State, West Virginia, and UCF. The Cowboys play three of those teams and two (Utah, West Virginia) are at home. 

This first season is strange as well in that normally a conference record (conference games only) would balance out with every game having a winner and a loser. Not the case this time around as the Big 12 lost two schools, Oklahoma and Texas from their conference. Those two teams combined to go 15-3 in conference games last season. Both the Big 12 and the Pac-12 where Arizona, Arizona State,  Colorado, and Utah are comging from. Those four schools combined to go 15-21 in conference games last season. Therefore, the Big 12 returning conference record from the 2023 season should be 154-154 and .500. Instead it is 63-81 for a win percentage of .438. 

Now to figure out the schedule, you look at which opponents each team faces. Here are last season’s conference records. 

Oklahoma State Big 12 7-2 .778
Arizona Pac-12 7-2 .778
Iowa State Big 12 6-3 .667
Kansas State Big 12 6-3 .667
West Virginia Big 12 6-3 .667
Utah Pac-12 5-4 .556
Texas Tech Big 12 5-4 .556
Kansas Big 12 5-4 .556
UCF Big 12 3-6 .333
TCU Big 12 3-6 .333
Houston Big 12 2-7 .222
BYU Big 12 2-7 .222
Baylor Big 12 2-7 .222
Arizona State Pac-12 2-7 .222
Colorado Pac-12 1-8 .111
Cincinnati Big 12 1-8 .111

 As Phil Steele wrote in his blog West Virginia faces the toughest schedule at 42-39 for their opponents conference records with only two other teams facing foes that combined for over 50% in Colorado and Arizona St whose foes were 41-40 in league play last year.

Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics
Oklahoma State only has to play three of the schools Poke sReport considers power teams.

Now on the other end of the spectrum, the schools seemingly getting the better end of the scheduling matrix are Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Kansas, and Arizona. The Wildcats schedule is made up of teams that went 29-52 last season. That is winning 35.8 percent of their games. The other three teams have schedules with teams that won less than a combined 40 percent.

There are some flaws to that line of thought as all of the schedules last season were not the same. Colorado went 1-8 but they played Oregon, USC, Arizona, Oregon State, Washington State, and Utah with all teams being above .500 in conference.

I agreed with Phil Steele that the teams you would most want to avoid in the Big 12 this season would be Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Utah, Iowa State, Kansas, Arizona, West Virginia, and UCF. That would be my upper half of the conference. Here goes with the schedule rating. The H/A is the schools breakdown of home vs. away conference games. Everything else is self explanatory.

Rank School Dangerous Teams Lesser Teams H/A 2023 Opp. Record 2023 Opp. Win Pct.
1. West Virginia OSU, KSU, ISU, UA, UCF, KU Bay, Cincy, Tech 5/4 42-39 52%
2. Colorado OSU, KSU, Utah, UA, UCF, KU

Bay, Cincy, Tech

5/4 41-40 51%
3. Arizona State OSU, KSU, Utah, UA, UCF, KU Cincy, Tech, BYU 4/5 41-40 51%
4. BYU OSU, KSU, Utah, UA, UCF, KU Bay, ASU, UH 5/4 39-42 48%
5. Houston KSU, Utah, ISU, UA, UCF, KU TCU, Bay. BYU 4/5 37-40 46%
6. Texas Tech  OSU, ISU, UA, WVU TCU, Bay, Cincy, CU, ASU 5/4 35-46 43%
7. TCU OSU, Utah, UA, UCF, KU Bay, Cincy, Tech, UH 5/4 37-44 46%
8. Baylor OSU, ISU, WVU, KU TCU, CU, Tech, BYU, UH 4/5 37-44 46%
9. Iowa State Utah, KSU, UCF, KU, WVU Bay, Cincy, Tech, UH 5/4 35-46 43%
10. Cincinnati KSU, ISU, UCF, WVU TCU, CU, Tech, ASU, UH 4/5 34-47 42%
11. Utah OSU, ISU, UCF, UA TCU, CU, BYU, ASU, UH 4/5 33-48 41%
12. Oklahoma State Utah, KSU, WVU TCU, Bay, CU, Tech, BYU, ASU 4/5 32-49 40%
13. UCF Utah, WVU, ISU, UA TCU, Cincy, CU, ASU, BYU 5/4 33-48 41%
14. Kansas State OSU, ISU, KU, WVU Cincy, CU, BYU, ASU, UH 4/5 32-49 40%
15. Kansas KSU, ISU, WVU TCU, Bay, CU, BYU, ASU, UH 4/5 30-51 37%
16. Arizona Utah, UCF, WVU TCU, CU, Tech, BYU, ASU, UH 5/4 29-52 36%

It isn’t exact science, but it is something to think about. 

Discussion from...

Rating the 2024 Big 12 Football Schedule

2,862 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 22 days ago by backphil
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Old quote from Switzer back when he was on a roll was something like: "championships are more likely scheduled than won". That may be less true with 12 game playoff.....but still very true in conference championships.
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Giving players and their families cash, cars and even houses might've given him just a small advantage in recruiting and being able to play for those championships, though their slush fund system for doing all of that was in place well before he showed up.
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I dunno, I'd move Tech up about 4 places and KU down a few. My shot for surprise team goes to TT, they've been recruiting well the past three years and it's going to show at some point.
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100% - "Undefeated" by Jim Dent documents the entire history of Oklahoma Dirt Burglars slush fund spending.

The Undefeated: The Oklahoma Sooners and the Greatest Winning Streak in College Football: Dent, Jim: 9780312266561: Books
Class 1980
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