The Big 12 is the only P5 Conference that has not divided into divisions and, in fact, is the only conference that plays a round robin (every team plays ever other conference team). The Big 12, like the Big Ten & PAC 12, play 9 conference games (The ACC & SEC play 8) and therefore have the where-with-all to play 3 Non-Conference (NC) opponents. The NCAA allows FBS teams to schedule 12 games in the regular season, as a result, the B-12 ten (10) teams play 30 Non-Conference (NC) games!
The B-12 clubs are free to schedule 3 P5’s (Power 5 which includes, B-10, P-12, SEC, ACC and themselves) or 3 G5 (AAC, American Athletic Conference; C-USA, Conference USA: MAC, Mid-American Conference; MWC, Mountain West Conference; and the SBC, Sun Belt Conference) or a combination of P5 / G5 that equal 3. These 10 conferences, plus 6 independents, make up the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) or 85 scholarship programs. It should be furthered noted, on SCFP (sully’s College Football Page) we divide the 6 Independents (IND) into P5’s (ND & BYU) and G5’s (Army, U-Mass, Liberty, & New Mexico State).
Finally, the B-12 may schedule 3 FCS (Football Championship Subdivision, this subdivision can offer only 63 scholarships as compared to the 85 the FBS programs can offer), but they will schedule only 1 FCS opponent, because they can count only 1 win vs an FCS team toward the 6 wins they need to become bowl eligible!
So as we consider the strength of B-12’s NC schedule, we will take notice of the number of P5 teams, (stronger opponent), G5’s (85 scholarship programs, yet, at least perceptually, a step down from a P5 opponent), or an FCS team, which has fewer scholarships!
Let’s take a look see …
Baylor plays 1 P5, Duke (ACC) @ home, 1 G5, Texas San Antonio (C-USA) on the road, and 1 FCS team, Abilene Christian SLC (Southland Conference) @ McLane Stadium, the Baylor Bears home field!
Iowa State takes on 1 P5 Iowa (Big Ten) @ Iowa, 1 G5, Akron (MAC) @ Jack Trice Stadium ISU home field, and the Cyclones play 1 FCS opponent, South Dakota State a team from the MVFC (Missouri Valley Football Conference) on their home turf in Ames, Iowa!
Kansas lines it up against 1 P5, Rutgers (B-10) @ home in Lawrence, Kansas, 1 G5, Central Michigan, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and 1 FCS team, Nicholls State (SLC) @ home in Memorial Stadium!
Kansas State kicks it off against 1 P5 opponent, Mississippi State (SEC) in Bill Snyder Family Stadium, 1 G5 Texas San Antonio (C-USA), and 1 FCS Opponent, South Dakota (MVFC). It should be noted, the Kansas State plays all 3 of their NC games on their home field!
Oklahoma battles 1 P5, UCLA (P-12) @ Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and 2 G5’5 Florida Atlantic (C-USA) & Army (IND), both of these games are in Norman! OU has not played an FCS team since 2012, Florida A&M (MEAC – Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference), a 69-13 win over the Rattlers!
Oklahoma State is the only B-12 team that did not schedule a P5 opponent in 2018! The Cowboys round up 2 G5’s South Alabama (SBC) and Boise State (MWC) and 1 FCS squad, Missouri State (MVFC). While it is true that not playing a NC P5 team will hurt their chances to get into the College Football Playoff (CFP) it is equally true the Boise is as good or better than most FCS teams!
TCU steps up against 1 P5, The Ohio State (B-10) in Arlington, Texas, 1 G5 SMU (AAC) away, and 1 FCS club, Southern University (SWAC Southwestern Athletic Conference) at home, in Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas. The Horned Frogs never leave the Great State of Texas in their NC season!
Texas challenges 2 P5 opponents in 2018, Maryland (B-10) away in College Park, Maryland and USC (P-12) @ home in Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, TX and 1 G5 Tulsa (AAC) at home! Texas, similar to USC, ND, and some others does not schedule FCS opponents!
Texas Tech gets it on with 1 P5 team, Ole Miss (SEC) @ a neutral site, Houston Texas, 1 G5, Houston (AAC) @ home in Jones AT&T Stadium, and 1 FCS team, Lamar (SLC) also at home in Lubbock, Texas. Like TCU, the Red Raiders do not leave the Great State of Texas for their NC schedule!
West Virginia is looking for trouble, scheduling 2 P5’s, Tennessee (SEC) @ a neutral site Charlotte, NC & NC State (ACC) @ home, Mountaineer Field – Milan Puskar Stadium. WV plays 1 FCS, Youngstown State (MVFC) at home in Morgantown, WV!
The Big 12 takes on 11 Power 5 Opponents ( ACC two (2), B-10 four (4), SEC three (3), P-12 two (2), they play 11 G5 Teams ( C-USA three (3), MAC two (2), IND One (1), SBC One (1), MWC one (1), & AAC three (3) & the FCS 0n 8 occasions (SLC three (3), MVFC four (4), & SWAC one (1)!