Big 12 schedule rankings (cont.)
Posted: Thursday June 21, 2007 1:41PM; Updated: Thursday June 21, 2007 4:21PM
Behind the ranking: Like A&M, the Sooners will face Miami. However, the Hurricanes come to Norman. OU gets the majority of its strongest Big 12 opponents at home, too.
Toughest game: It's Texas. It's always Texas. That mid-year clash always seems to run in cycles, and the Longhorns have won the last two.
Cakewalk: The Sooners should complete September with a flourish. In a three-week span, OU plays Utah State, Tulsa and Colorado. Utah State and Colorado combined for three victories in 2006. Yeah, Tulsa won eight, but does anyone think OU will lose to Tulsa? Not with Bob Stoops on the sideline.
Trap game: OU rarely loses in Norman, but when Missouri visits on Oct. 13 the Sooners better not have a hangover from the previous week's game against Texas. Oklahoma was good, but not great against the pass last year. The Tigers can throw the ball around pretty well. Offensively, OU figures to overpower Missouri, but if the Sooners aren't sharp there could be some serious nail-biting in Memorial Stadium.
Changes from last season: The nonconference schedule certainly got easier with no road trip to Oregon. Miami is the marquee non-league game, but the Hurricanes must come to Norman. North Texas, Utah State and Tulsa don't figure to be much of a problem. The Sooners get Missouri, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State at home.
6. Kansas State
Behind the ranking: Bowl game winners Auburn and San Jose State will force the Wildcats to prove themselves before Big 12 competition starts. The South Division opponents include Texas and Oklahoma State on the road. K-State also goes to Nebraska.
Toughest game: The Wildcats' 45-42 upset of Texas knocked the Longhorns out of the national championship race last year. The Longhorns will be looking for revenge when the Wildcats travel to Austin on Sept. 29.
Cakewalk: Missouri State was 2-9 last year and was tied with Indiana State for last place in the Gateway Conference standings. Just for the record, Missouri State lost to Indiana State. Look for the Wildcats to break some long runs, and they won't break a sweat.
Trap game: A week after opening the season on the road at Auburn, Kansas State comes home for an apparent victory over San Jose State. But (let's all do our Lee Corso impressions), not so fast my friend. The Spartans went 9-4 last year and return the majority of their starters. This could be an upset if the Wildcats aren't focused.
Changes from last season: Despite setting up a stoning of Missouri State, the Wildcats have clearly changed their scheduling philosophy since the days of Bill Snyder. The Wildcats drop Louisville. However, they add Auburn. San Jose State and Fresno State are bona fide Division I-A programs. This year Kansas State goes on the road to Texas and Oklahoma State, both of which the Wildcats beat in Manhattan last season.
7. Oklahoma State
Behind the ranking: A road game at Georgia is a huge challenge, and going to Troy won't be easy. The Cowboys also face Nebraska and Kansas State from the North.
Toughest game: There are several to consider -- at Georgia, at Texas A&M, at Nebraska and Texas at home. Yet, the Cowboys' game at Oklahoma in the regular-season finale figures to be the toughest. Not only is it a bitter rivalry, but Oklahoma State's biggest questions are also on the offensive and defensive lines. OU is expected to be excellent in those areas.
Cakewalk: Division I-AA Sam Houston State is mediocre at best. This should be a name-the-score kind of outcome for the Cowboys.
Trap game: Even though Troy toils away in the disrespected Sun Belt Conference, the Trojans did win eight games in 2006 -- and don't forget Troy had a fourth-quarter lead against Florida State. If the Cowboys look ahead to a Sept. 22 conference-opener against Texas Tech, they might look foolish in a road game at Troy on Sept. 14.
Changes from last season: The presence of Georgia raises the difficulty of the schedule alone, but playing Troy rather than Arkansas State is also an upgrade. Facing Texas A&M, Nebraska and Oklahoma on the road add to the degree of difficulty.
Behind the ranking: TCU is the best of an otherwise bland group of nonconference games. The Longhorns do get a home game against Nebraska from the North, but also go to Iowa State.
Toughest game: It's Oklahoma. It's always Oklahoma. Even with Texas winning the last two in the series, OU coach Bob Stoops is still 5-3 against the Longhorns.
Cakewalk: The Longhorns have won their last seven season-openers, and Arkansas State won't pose a problem in making it eight in a row. Texas has outscored its last three season-opening opponents by a combined 201-10.
Trap game: Even when fielding inferior teams, Kansas State has given the Longhorns trouble (see last season's 45-42 Wildcats' victory). The game is in Austin this year, but the last time the Wildcats ventured into Royal-Memorial Stadium in 2003, Texas had to sweat out a 24-20 victory. That year the game was the week before Texas faced Oklahoma -- just like this season.
Changes from last season: Old Southwest Conference rival TCU is a formidable nonconference opponent, but it's not like facing Ohio State -- which drops off the slate. No other nonconference opponent is a threat. The alternate change of venues allows Texas the advantage of facing Kansas State, Nebraska and Texas Tech in Austin, but the Longhorns go to Texas A&M.
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