Some big news coming from the Big 12 headquarters this morning: Big 12 teams will now be required to schedule at least one game with a "Power 5" opponent each season. Specifically, teams must schedule a game with at least one SEC, Pac-12, Big 10, ACC opponent, or Notre Dame. No mention of BYU or the service academies in the release. Here's the full text of the release, which can be found here on the Big 12's website:
The Big 12 has announced it will require Conference football programs to annually play at least one non-conference game against an autonomy conference institution (ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, plus Notre Dame).
"Schedule strength is a key component in CFP Selection Committee deliberations," commented Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. "This move will strengthen the resumes for all Big 12 teams. Coupled with the nine-game full round robin Conference schedule our teams play, it will not only benefit the teams at the top of our standings each season, but will impact the overall strength of the Conference."
Additionally, no Big 12 program shall play more than one game annually against a non-Football Bowl Subdivision opponent.
This new scheduling requirement does not impact existing non-conference game contracts.
Also of note: teams may now only play one non-FBS team per season.
This move isn't entirely surprising, as many have expected it to be coming for quite some time now. Baylor, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State are the three teams in the Big 12 that did not have a Power Five conference opponent in 2015.
Notable is that the scheduling requirement does not impact already-scheduled non-conference opponent contracts. There aren't a ton of details on the application of this rule. As Mark pointed out on Twitter, it's probably fair to say that a "last-minute" cancellation to the next season's schedule that doesn't have a Power 5 opponent won't trigger this requirement, as most will have already locked up their schedules. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
If you're curious, here's Baylor's non-conference schedule, through 2024:
- 2016: Northwestern State, SMU, @ Rice
- 2017: Liberty, UTSA, @ Duke
- 2018: ACU, @ UTSA, Duke
- 2019: UTSA, @ Rice, OPEN
- 2020: Incarnate Word, Louisiana Tech, OPEN
- 2021: @ Louisiana Tech, Texas State, OPEN
- 2022: Louisiana Tech, @ Texas State, OPEN
- 2023: Texas State, Utah, OPEN
- 2024: @ Utah, OPEN, OPEN
So, looks like we'll be filling those open spots in 2019-2022 with Power 5 opponents. Should be fun to see who we get.