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Big 12 - The Pastry King of the BCS

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Cream Puffs, Cupcakes, Strudel, with some Danish on the side. That pretty much sums up the non-conference scheduling philosophy of the Big 12. The rest of the BCS has a sweet tooth as well when it comes to out of league play, but it's the Big 12 with the biggest sugar high.

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There are some basic rules for all BCS schools on non-conference scheduling: get 75% of the games on your home field, try not to schedule too many of your BCS bretheren, and throw a financial bone or two to a regional 1-AA team. They all follow it, but according to the blog The Wizard of Odds the Big 12 has it down to a science. Using data provided from a terrific stats site, College Football Statistics The Wizard of Odds looked at the non-conference scheduling for a four years period from 2004-07.

During that stretch, the Big 12 played 199 non-conference games, 31 of which (16%) were against 1-AA teams. Out of those non-league games played from 2004-07, the Big 12 played 136 (68%) against teams out of the BCS.

The SEC was right behind with 30 games against 1-AA teams and 124 (63%) out of 198 non-conference games coming against non-BCS opponents. The other BCS conferences -- Big 10, Big East, ACC, and Pac 10, all had over 50% of their non-league games against opponents outside the BCS, but the Big 12 and the SEC are the clear leaders for this decade.

The ACC has obviously learned their lesson. Three ACC teams have two 1-AA teams on their schedules next year. Florida State, Clemson and Ga. Tech will dip into the shallow end of the 1-AA pool twice in 2008. Bobby Bowden has even admitted that they turned down a traditional Monday/Labor Day game because of the players who will have to sit out 3 games over the academic scandal that surfaced during bowl season. The Seminoles will open 2008 against Western Carolina and Tennesse-Chattanooga, two 1-AA teams with a combined 2007 record of 3-19.

What about 2008? Some trends stay the same. The teams of the Big 12 play 35 of their 48 out of conference games at home, with four of the 13 road games at off-campus sites. Also, 33 of the 48 out of league games are against non-BCS opponents (69%), with 9 (19%) against 1-AA teams. Four Big 12 schools do not play a 1-AA opponent - Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas State and Nebraska, but those four have at least one bottom feeder on their schedule. One Big 12 school has three BCS opponents on the non-conference schedule in 2008, and that would be the team that can least afford that deep a schedule -- Baylor. The Bears will play Wake Forest, Washington State and Connecticut.

The 2008 season actually has the Big 12 with a few more interesting matchups than in the recent past. Colorado catches West Virginia at home, and plays Florida State in Jacksonville. Nebraska doesn't play a road game until the second Saturday in October, but they will host Virginia Tech in Lincoln. Kansas State will introduce all their JUCO's to their fans when they host Fresno State, and they then travel to Louisville.

In the Big 12 South, Texas A&M will host Miami, while Texas renews its rivalry with Arkansas. The Aggies and the Horns have the two most curious road trips. Texas goes out to UTEP, and the Aggies will go to Albuquerque to face New Mexico in a game must have seemed like a good idea at the time to Dennis Franchione.

Then there is the pirate out in Lubbock.

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Texas Tech hires a special consultant to help with non-conference scheduling.

Texas Tech has two 1-AA teams on their schedule, although they did screw up and schedule two who made the play-offs. Eastern Washington (9-4) and U Mass (10-3) will visit the plains, as will SMU (1-11). Tech will leave Lubbock and play at Nevada (6-7).

Here is a look at the Big 12 non-conference schedules:

Big 12 North (* 1-AA opponent)
Colorado
Colorado State (3-9) @ Denver
*Eastern Washington (9-4)
West Virginia (11-2)
Florida State (7-6) @ Jacksonville
Kansas
Florida International (1-11)
Lousiana Tech (5-7)
@ South Florida (9-4)
*Sam Houston St. (7-4)

Kansas State
Lousiana-Lafayette (3-9)
Fresno State (9-4)
@ Louisville (6-6)
North Texas (2-10)

Iowa State
*S. Dakota State (7-4)
Kent State (3-9)
@ Iowa (6-6)
@ UNLV (2-10)

Missouri
*SE Missouri State (3-8)
Nevada (6-7)
Buffalo (5-7)
Illinois (9-4) @ St. Louis

Nebraska
Western Michigan (5-7)
San Jose State (5-7)
New Mexico State (4-9)
Virginia Tech (11-3)

Big 12 South (*1-AA opponent)

Texas
Florida Atlantic (8-5)
@ UTEP (4-8)
Arkansas (8-5)
Rice (3-9)

Oklahoma
*Tenn-Chattanooga (2-9)
Cincinnati (10-3)
@ Washington (4-9)
TCU (8-5)

Oklahoma State
Washington State (5-7) @ Seattle
Houston (8-5)
*Missouri State (6-5)
Troy (8-4)

Texas A&M
Arkansas State (5-7)
@ New Mexico (9-4)
Miami (5-7)
Army (3-9)

Texas Tech
*Eastern Washington (9-4)
@ Nevada (6-7)
SMU (1-11)
*U Mass. (10-3)

Baylor
Wake Forest (9-4)
*Northwestern St. (4-7)
Washington St. (5-7)
@ Connecticut (9-4)