Publish date:

Big 12 Football: Ranking the Toughest Non-Conference Schedules in 2020

Big 12 Football: Ranking the Toughest Non-Conference Schedules in 2020

Big 12 Football: Ranking the Toughest Non-Conference Schedules in 2020

In general, Big 12 teams don't have a reputation for scheduling aggressively. The upcoming season puts that perception to the test.

All 10 teams have at least one Power 5 opponent lined up. (Yes, even Baylor.) Road trips by Big 12 teams to places like Baton Rouge, West Point and Berkeley dot the calendar. A couple of programs have set up high-profile games at neutral sites to start the year.

Assuming the teams are playing, it all sets up for a fun September around the league.

[Editor's note: This article was posted before the Big Ten (July 9) and Pac-12 (July 10) announced they would play conference-only schedules for all fall sports, including football. Several of the games mentioned below are no longer on the schedule and additional changes are likely.]

1. Texas

Sept. 5 vs. USF

Sept. 12 at LSU

Sept. 19 vs. UTEP

The Longhorns usually have at least one headliner on the non-conference schedule. This year, it's a rematch of last year's entertaining shootout with eventual national champion LSU. The two teams will face off in Baton Rouge in round two.

2. Oklahoma

Sept. 5 vs. Missouri State

Sept. 12 vs. Tennessee

Sept. 26 at Army

A young OU squad gets a stiff test in week two when the Volunteers visit Norman. Jeremy Pruitt's team surged down the stretch in 2019. A road trip to Army has all kinds of spoiler potential.

3. West Virginia

Sept. 5 vs. Florida State (in Atlanta)

Sept. 12 vs. Eastern Kentucky

Sept. 19 vs. Maryland

Rarely do you find a Big 12 team with two Power 5 non-conference opponents on the docket. Fortunately for the Mountaineers, one of the foes is a rebuilding FSU team. The other is perennial non-factor Maryland.

4. Iowa State

Sept. 5 vs. South Dakota

Sept. 12 at Iowa

Sept. 19 vs. UNLV

The annual game against in-state rival Iowa has become a war for the Cyclones, who have to travel to Iowa City this year. ISU should handle FCS South Dakota and UNLV with ease, however.

5. TCU

Sept. 5 at California

Sept. 12 vs. Prairie View A&M

Recommended Articles

Sept. 26 vs. SMU

An away game at Cal looks like close to a toss-up right now for the Horned Frogs. Later in the season, they will try to avoid a repeat of last year's upset loss to cross-town rival SMU. Sonny Dykes should have the Mustangs rolling.

6. Baylor

Sept. 6 vs. Ole Miss (in Houston)

Sept. 19 vs. Incarnate Word

Sept. 26 vs. Louisiana Tech

Baylor's opening date with the Ole Miss Rebels will feature two coaches making their debuts with their programs in Dave Aranda and Lane Kiffin. Advantage: who knows? The Bears should stomp the Cardinals from the FCS ranks in their second game, but the following week's matchup versus Conference USA member Louisiana Tech could get dicey.

7. Texas Tech

Sept. 5 at UTEP

Sept. 12 vs. Alabama State

Sept. 19 vs. Arizona

UTEP rarely hosts Power 5 opponents, so there's a unique angle to Tech's season opener. The highlight of the slate is a revenge game versus Arizona. The Wildcats downed the Red Raiders 28-14 last season in Tucson.

8. Kansas State

Sept. 5 vs. Buffalo

Sept. 12 vs. North Dakota

Sept. 19 vs. Vanderbilt

Three straight home games to start the season? Chris Klieman will take it. KSU beating an SEC team is one of those things that would like on the Big 12's resume, even if it is just Vanderbilt.

9. Kansas

Sept. 5 vs. New Hampshire

Sept. 19 vs. Boston College

Sept. 26 at Coastal Carolina

Was there any more shocking result from last season than woebegone KU firebombing Boston College in Chestnut Hill? The Eagles are rebuilding under new head coach Jeff Hafley, so revenge probably won't be high on their minds.

And why are the Jayhawks playing at Coastal?

10. Oklahoma State

Sept. 3 vs. Oregon State

Sept. 12 vs. Tulsa

Sept. 19 vs. Western Illinois

Mike Gundy's team can treat September as a tune-up for the real season. Oregon State is a Power 5 team in conference affiliation only. Tulsa may put up a fight for a quarter or two in the second week. After beating the FCS Leathernecks the following week, OSU will have an open date before starting Big 12 play.

— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.