The inaugural College Football Playoff was called a success by everyone but the Big 12 as it was the only Power-5 Conference left out. So get a Big 12 title game! Here are the three easiest & hardest schedules by NCAA rankings for Big 12 teams.
The Horned Frogs are currently third-favorites to win the national title and have one of the Heisman favorites in quarterback Trevone Boykin. So will the fact that TCU has just the No. 94 schedule in the country hurt it come College Football Playoff selection time? The Frogs' 2015 opponents finished a combined 74-78 last season (48.7 percent; no FCS opponents included on any schools if applicable) with seven teams finishing with winning records, seven who were bowl eligible and three concluding the year ranked. Because Big 12 teams play all other nine teams, only three non-conference games for each. TCU has a tricky opener at Minnesota, although the Gophers are 18-point dogs. The other two non-conference games are laughable: vs. Stephen F. Austin (they play football?) and SMU. Tough Big 12 road games at K-State, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
5Dimes Win Total: 10, with 'over' -155 favorite. I'm thinking push here. But let's go 'under.'
The Wildcats' schedule is ranked No. 92 in the country with their opponents a combined 75-77 last season (49.3 percent), six finishing with winning records, seven who were bowl eligible and three teams that finished ranked. This is another laughable non-conference schedule: South Dakota (come on!), at UTSA, vs. Louisiana Tech. When will Big 12 teams learn? Toughest road conference games: Oklahoma State, Texas. Huge, huge break that K-State gets TCU, Oklahoma and Baylor in Manhattan. If KSU is ever going to reach the College Football Playoff while Bill Snyder is still the coach, this is the season with that schedule.
5Dimes Win Total: 7, with 'over' a -130 favorite on the college football odds and that's the right call.
The Bears' schedule is ranked as the No. 89 in the nation with their opponents a combined 75-76 last season (49.7 percent), with seven finishing with winning records, seven bowl eligible and three concluding ranked. The Bears are the kings of cupcake non-conference scheduling. They last season played SMU, Northwestern State and predictably slaughtered each of them. This year's it's only slightly better: SMU (road), Lamar and Rice. Wow! Baylor won't leave the state of Texas, other than a trip to lousy Kansas, until Nov. 5 at K-State. That and, Oklahoma State and TCU are the three tough conference road games.
5Dimes Win Total: 10, with 'under' a -125 favorite. No question that Baylor is 7-0 entering that K-State game. I'm thinking push here, too, but go 'over.'
It's the first season for new head coach David Beaty, and he has a mess to clean up at one of the worst Power-5 programs in the country. KU backers just don't care about football -- it's always basketball season there. The Jayhawks have the toughest schedule in the conference and No. 14 in the nation as their opponents were 93-62 last season (60 percent), with nine finishing with winning records, nine bowl eligible and five ranked. KU might be favored only once all season: the opener against South Dakota State. The other non-conference games are home to Memphis (program on rise) and at Rutgers. I won't bother you with the toughest Big 12 road games because Kansas probably isn't going to win any of them. Or at home.
5Dimes Win Total: 1, with 'over' a -185 favorite. This is the lowest I've seen of any team. Can KU get a win other than SDSU? Memphis and Iowa State are possibilities. Go 'over.'
The hottest coaching seat in the Big 12 belongs to Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads. ISU's schedule ranks as the 17th-toughest in the country as its opponents were 92-63 last season (59.4 percent), with nine finishing with winning records, nine bowl eligible and four in the Top 25. ISU will win its opener at home against Northern Iowa (that would be a fantastic basketball game) and Rhoads could stave off the doubters on Sept. 12 in Ames with a win against Iowa. The non-conference finale is at Toledo. ISU won't win a Big 12 road game and the only time it will be favored at home is Oct. 3 vs. Kansas.
5Dimes Win Total: 3, with 'over' a -140 favorite. I like a push here, but go 'under.' So long Mr. Rhoads.
The Red Raiders have the No. 26 schedule in the country as their opponents were 89-66 last season (57.4 percent) with nine concluding with winning records, nine bowl eligible and four ranked. The bloom is off the rose for Coach Kliff Kingsbury at TTU. His job might be in some jeopardy with another bad season. The Red Raiders will beat visiting Sam Houston and UTEP to open the year but then lose at Arkansas. They do get TCU, K-State and Oklahoma State at home, with Baylor at a neutral site (Arlington, Texas).
5Dimes Win Total: 6, with 'under' a -135 favorite and that's the lean.