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Big 12, We Have a Football Schedule

NCAA Football: Albany at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The long awaited schedule for the 14 team Big 12 has finally been released. After months of guessing, missteps from athletic directors getting the release date wrong, and even a small leak or two, fanbases across the new Big 12 finally know who their 2023 opponents are, when they will play them, and most importantly, where they will play them. Fans had received word that the schedule would be released somewhere at the end of January, and that release date was met at the 11th hour.

This will be the first (and quite possibly only) year of the 14 team format for the Big 12, as Cincinnati, Houston, UCF, and BYU will officially join the conference, while Texas and Oklahoma continue to work on their exit strategy to the SEC. Fans have had a lot of fun guessing how this schedule would play out, and if OU and UT would bear the brunt of facing the new joiners in each one’s home venue. No more guess work needed, as we finally know what’s happening.

First, let’s take a look at Baylor’s schedule:

  • 9/02: Texas State
  • 9/09: Utah
  • 9/16: Long Island
  • 9/23: Texas
  • 9/30: @ UCF
  • 10/07: Texas Tech
  • 10/14: Bye
  • 10/21: @ Cincinnati
  • 10/28: Iowa State
  • 11/04: Houston
  • 11/11: @ Kansas State
  • 11/18: @ TCU
  • 11/25: West Virginia

The new era of non-con scheduling continues, and for the first time in a long time Baylor has a Power 5 opponent, facing Utah in week 2 in Waco. This will certainly be a tough matchup against one of the perennial Pac 12 powers, but a great test and bonus for season ticket holders. The other non-cons are the normal cupcakes, featuring Texas State and Long Island. Should be wins, but never overlook an opponent. But we already knew about these games, let’s talk Big 12 play.

The biggest surprise to me is our conference opener. We get Texas. In September. In Waco. This game will be hot, and depending how each team does in non-con, a Big Noon kickoff isn’t out of the question here early in the year. Pray to the football gods for a night game. The other big thing that stuck out to me was our road game in Orlando. The Bears will head to UCF on September 30th. If you aren’t already aware, UCF has a raucous home crowd in a stadium they call the Bounce House. They literally make that place shake. Add in the fact that they are finally in a grown up conference, I expect that home crowd to be insane, and likely the toughest environment Baylor faces all season, a rough draw for the first road game of the year. The Bears then head back home to face the Fighting McGuires of Texas Tech. I think we can all agree having these games back on campuses is nice. Don’t get too comfortable in Waco, though, as we hop right back on the road to head to Ohio to face off against Cincinnati. Another environment I expect to be tough, but the team should be prepared after what they’ll see in Florida. Baylor heads back home for two weeks to play against Iowa State, followed by our third newcomer on the schedule, Houston. The Cougars aren’t an especially huge traveling fan base, but as this is the new Big 12, and it’s only a 3 hour drive, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a significant amount of red around the tailgates in Waco. Baylor then faces what could be its only two cold games of the season as they head to Manhattan to face the defending Big 12 Champion Kansas State Wildcats, then to Fort Worth for what should be one of the hottest matchups between Baylor and TCU since the Patterson era, considering what has happened in their program this offseason. Finally, Baylor closes out at home against West Virginia.

My initial thought on this schedule is that we landed pretty nicely. It isn’t perfect, but fans have some great home choices to attend this year, and if you are the traveling type, fitting in an Orlando trip isn’t the worst thing in the world. The biggest omission to me is the lack of Oklahoma schools on the schedule. Baylor did not draw either the Cowboys or the Sooners, but I do like that the conference ensured we kept Texas, Texas Tech, and TCU on our schedule. Those games should be protected at all costs. We will have further break downs in the future on what our expectations are win/loss wise throughout the offseason, for now, I’ll say that we landed a pretty good, not amazing slate from the powers that be.

To the rest of the conference? It seems like Texas and Oklahoma got off pretty easy. No crazy back to back road punishments across the country. In fact, Texas only plays 2 new school games, and the only one on the road is at Houston. TDECU Stadium will likely be Orange for that one. Texas did draw BYU, but gets that on in Austin. For Oklahoma, they got a little bit of a rougher draw, as they have to go to Provo in late November. That one will be cold, and as Baylor fans learned, that place isn’t fun for the opposition. Oklahoma got a second new school road game as well, as they will open conference play at Cincinnati. The Sooner will also play UCF at home.

The toughest thing I noticed in my first view of this schedule was for BYU. They will go to Austin and then to West Virginia in back to back weeks near the end of the season. I don’t have the miles traveled for those road trips in front of me, but I assume the number is high.

Oklahoma State and Kansas State get the short end of the stick with the early bye week in week 5, they’ll each have 8 straight games to close the year, something to look out for in the Big 12 title race for sure.

Overall, the conference did a good job with balance on this, in my opinion. As a fan, I’d have loved to have seen some gamesmanship with forcing the 2 leaving schools to have a difficult slate of visiting the new 4, but there’s 14 teams that need balance in the grand scheme. I will be circling the Texas at Houston game though, that will be an interesting one considering how the two fanbases see themselves, and each other, historically.

Let us know what you think about the schedule. Is it fair? What games were you hoping to get that we didn’t, and what games in Waco (or on the road) do you have circled to attend this year? 2023 is mere months away!