As I was watching Oklahoma State rip the shine off the Kliff Kingsbury apple in Lubbock tonight, I started thinking once again about how Big 12 fans should be celebrating, and trumpeting, our conference's unusually back-loaded schedule. Where others like the SEC prefer to spread things out, giving their teams the opportunity to fatten up in November with less-than-stellar non-conference games against the UTEPs and Chattanoogas of the CFB world, the Big 12 has, either by design or lucky accident, managed to create a scenario where, including tonight's OSU-TT game, 8 of the conference's 9 potential matchups between ranked opponents this season occur between November 2 and December 7. The only one that didn't -- Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech -- took place last week.*
*You can make an argument that OU vs. Texas should be included in this because UT probably will be ranked at some point. I'd accept that.
In this, I'm just counting games between the top 5 teams in the conference standings, all of whom could be ranked as soon as this week. If you include the surging Kansas State Wildcats, the number of "power games," as they could be called, swells to 10. Stated differently, when Texas Tech and OSU kicked off this evening, 10 games remained on the Big 12 schedule that could potentially impact the conference championship. Today is November 2.
I've listed the games below. Baylor and OSU "lead" with 4 games each (one of which OSU already won tonight) followed by Tech and UT with 3 and OU with just 2.
Baylor vs. OU
Baylor vs. OSU
Baylor vs. TT
Baylor vs. UT
OU vs. OSU
OSU vs. UT
OSU vs. TT
TT vs. UT
In making this list, I'm probably not telling you anything you didn't already know. You've seen the schedules. My wonder, though, is why we as a conference don't talk up the relative uniqueness of this arrangement more as a counter to the idea that the conference pecking order and probable BCS order are already set. Baylor, for example, could play 4 games in the next 5 weeks against ranked teams. 3 of them could have 1 or fewer conference losses when we play them. That's pretty incredible, right? So why isn't it a bigger deal?