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Examining Potential Baylor Football Opponents for 9/19/2020

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If Baylor was to try to get a game in next Saturday (or sometime in that week), what are the options?

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

So this morning, in the aftermath of last night’s news that Baylor’s game this Saturday against Louisiana Tech would be postponed due to a hurricane-related outbreak among Louisiana Tech’s football team (which, for the record, I hold them in no way responsible given that it really seems like they did everything they could pre-hurricane to “bubble” their players and then got hit with an unforeseen diaspora), we at ODB started batting around possible opponents if Baylor wanted to squeeze a game in on or about September 19, 2020. We did this based on the assumption that it is impossible to schedule someone else for a game 3 days from now even though there’s a certain school on the hilltop with an open date for Saturday.

Before we really get into this, it’s worth noting (and hat tip to KK and PP for pointing this out to me) that Baylor and Louisiana Tech did not cancel the game Saturday outright, leaving open the possibility that they could play again later. But that seems unlikely at best given that the schedules don’t really match up.

EDIT: A prior version of this article indicated that Baylor and Louisiana Tech both had open dates on December 5, 2020. That was incorrect. Baylor plays Oklahoma on December 5. The article has been updated to reflect that correction.

That’s one of several reasons why I think Baylor will try its hardest to schedule a game next week prior to the start of conference play against Kansas on September 26. The biggest reason is obviously that we need live competition against someone that isn’t wearing green or gold before conference play; you can’t replicate that experience in a practice environment. Another is that you simply need a measuring stick for how far along you are in installing your offense and defense. The old military adage that the best laid plans go to hell when the bullets start flying is appropriate here, and what looks good in practice may not look so good in real game action. Again, you can’t replicate that experience.

To help with this exercise, I reached out to FBSchedules.com, the foremost authority on CFB schedules at the FCS and FBS level, to find out all the FBS schools that have open dates on 9/19. After talking it through with them, they reached the same conclusions about constraints on teams included that we did before they answered, mainly that they didn’t include teams from conferences that have canceled or postponed their seasons (so no Big Ten or PAC 12 schools, basically). Here’s the list they provided (with Baylor removed for obvious reasons):

  • FIU
  • East Carolina
  • Florida State
  • Iowa State
  • Kansas
  • Kansas State
  • Oklahoma
  • Rice
  • South Alabama
  • TCU
  • Temple
  • Texas
  • Texas Tech
  • UAB
  • West Virginia

There’s a few teams we can eliminate immediately because they’re in the Big 12 and we play them already—Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas Tech, and West Virginia. As much as I’d like to play Kansas two weeks in a row, that’s probably not happening. Also, FBSchedules informed me that Rice has reportedly postponed their season until October at the earliest, so we can take them off, too. That leaves:

  • FIU
  • East Carolina
  • Florida State
  • South Alabama
  • Temple
  • UAB

That’s ... not a very long list. I think we can assume that Florida State won’t want to play another P5 school (or would require us to travel there if we tried to put it together), and they already have a full schedule of 11 games at this point. So cut them.

Temple would be an intriguing option since they only have 8 games currently scheduled for this season, but the first game isn’t until October 10. I don’t know if that’s because they unofficially pushed their season back into October on purpose or not, but I doubt they’d want to play a game on 9/19 and then have 3 full weeks off before they play again. Maybe, but it seems unlikely. Let’s cut them, too.

  • FIU
  • East Carolina
  • South Alabama
  • UAB

That leaves four teams: FIU, East Carolina, South Alabama, and UAB. Taking UAB first, they have 11 games currently scheduled including one on Thursday, September 24. They probably don’t want a 12th game just a few days before that one. So cut them.

East Carolina is an intriguing option because their first game against Marshall was already postponed from 9/12. It’s unclear if that game will ever actually be played, but if it isn’t, that leaves ECU with just 9 games on their remaining schedule. They may be interested in adding a tenth.

South Alabama is likely out because they have a full 11-game schedule including their conference games. Even if they did want to forego an open week and come to Waco, that would give them 5 games in a row to start the season, something they probably don’t want under the circumstances.

That leaves FIU, who is in somewhat of a similar position as East Carolina because they had 10 games scheduled but their first against UCF was postponed. If that game is never actually played, they’ll only have 9. And they may be willing to add a 9/19 game because they have an open week on 10/3 after they play Liberty on 9/26.


So, based on the foregoing, if Baylor really wants to play a game on or about 9/19 and is constrained only to teams that already have open dates, aren’t in P5 conferences, haven’t pushed their seasons back unofficially or officially or canceled them outright, it looks like there’s only two real choices: East Carolina and FIU. The best-case scenario would be to convince Temple or Rice to play an early game despite having pushed back their others since they both only have 8 games scheduled, but that seems unlikely.

Bottom line: get on Twitter and try to convince Baylor to schedule East Carolina or FIU, I guess.


UPDATE 1: Craig Smoak reported last night that Baylor AD Mack Rhoades essentially confirmed that Baylor really, really wants to play on or about 9/19:

I didn’t include Houston Baptist here because honestly, I didn’t know they were playing football this season. They would seem to be an absolute last resort, at best. The other 3 unnamed schools are likely listed above somewhere, plus...

UPDATE 2: @timgolden92 on Twitter pointed out that FCS Missouri State is attempting to give it a go this season and actually plays OU this weekend. They have a “home-and-home” scheduled with Central Arkansas, in addition to the OU game, but nothing scheduled for next weekend. They clearly want games, so if you dip into the FCS ranks, they’re a solid option.

I’m going to look for other potential FCS options, as well.