Here's how it will play out next year and going forward with respect to conference play.
Those changes have NOT YET been reflected (see Colorado, Nebraska inclusions) on our future schedules on Texassports.com but it does list out our non-conference opponents so you can mix and match on your own.
A few thoughts:
- Good breakout for Texas in that A&M/Tech (who are NOT happy) are split as road contests. We won't have to go on the road to both in the same year, as it currently stands now.
- Our Big 12 glamor road spot is now...Columbia, Missouri. Oh.
- I like the round robin format in general, but the unattractiveness of the Big 12 as a league is really highlighted by some of these stretches of games. Our TV footprint is horrible, particularly in the spaces between Texas-OU and the end of season rivalry games.
- The Big 12 North will have to ratchet up its game substantially. The dramatic inequity between the two divisions won't disappear because league structures did. Successful programs like Missouri that only drew 3 South teams per year will now face 6. Similarly, they'll only get to play three of their former North brethren. For a team like Kansas or Iowa State trying to rise, that's a cruel new reality and could be the difference between 6-6 (bowl, program on upswing!) and 4-8 (fire the coach). There's a reason Bill Snyder spoke out against moving away from a divisional format.
- The Oklahoma game will still be the most important of the year, but its importance lessens dramatically from a conference championship and BCS aspiration perspective. The Big 12 will have years of co-champions, including 3 way ties. The appeal of that to all programs is obvious.
What to do about the open weekend in early December while other leagues play their title game?
I refuse to believe that the Big 12 will stand pat, so they're going to explore a few options:
1. Throw in an extra bye week and have some big games fall in December. However, Texas-OU is locked in October. Texas-Texas A&M is probably locked for Thanksgiving. So maybe you shuffle things around and have Kansas-Missouri, Texas-Texas Tech, and OU-A&M?
2. The other option is to play a 13 game schedule. We'd play 13 going to a Big 12 title game anyway. And I don't put it past Dodds and the UT brain trust to want another home non-conference patsy to sell tickets. It may not be a marquee opponent, but it is a way of keeping the league in the conversation, increasing league revenues, and preventing another week of bowl layoff.
3. Push Texas-Texas A&M into early December breaking the Thanksgiving tradition along with Kansas-Mizzou and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State.
4. Meat judging and equestrian should be more heavily promoted and sold to networks under Bill Byrne media-expansion multi-sport offensive.
5. And no, we're not expanding. So don't start with your TCU, Houston, Arizona, Colorado State bullshit. This has been explained.