Big 12 Football: 1 Non-Conference Game We Want Each Team to Schedule
The Big 12 is notorious for having an easy non-conference football slate.
Coaches like Bill Snyder and Mack Brown don't feel like risking an early-season loss before they even get into conference play, especially with the Big 12 being such a meat-grinder.
However, there are still very intriguing non-conference matchups between Big 12 teams that would be dreams come true for fans in the Midwest.
Some of the dream matchups include renewing rivalries with teams like Nebraska and Missouri, which have left the Big 12 as a result of recent conference realignment.
Regardless of the reasons, each Big 12 team has an a non-conference opponent that fans would pack the stands in order to watch.
Baylor Bears vs. Arkansas Razorbacks
A pair of old Southwest Conference rivals, these two schools were among the elite in the southern part of the country during the 1980s.
This series, however, dates back to 1904, as the two were conference foes for nearly 90 years. Arkansas holds the lead over Baylor with a 35-33-2 record, but the Bears and the Razorbacks haven't met on the gridiron since 1991. Baylor won that game, 9-5, in one of the oddest scores possible in football.
if you're looking for some current history to throw into the mix, projected Bears starting quarterback Bryce Petty visited Arkansas during his recruitment. However, the Razorbacks didn't offer a scholarship, according to Yahoo! Rivals.
What better way is there for Petty to get back at the school that didn't offer him a scholarship then to beat them on the field?
Iowa State Cyclones vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers
In his first season in Ames, Iowa, new head coach Paul Rhoads did something that hadn't been accomplished by an Iowa State team in 111 years—beat Minnesota.
In retrospect, it was a relatively minute accomplishment compared to the overall goals of the program, but still, the Cyclones' 2009 Insight.com Bowl win over the Golden Gophers marked the first time in over a century that the Cyclones had prevailed in the rivalry.
The two schools have met 26 times in their history, but Iowa State has only gotten three wins, and two of those came in the 1890s.
Iowa State and Minnesota met 21 times from 1895-1924, but only five times since.
Minnesota has been on a bit of a downswing lately in football while the Cyclones are desperately trying to become a contender in the Big 12.
A non-conference game against the Golden Gophers could inject some energy into the fan base and into Rhoads, who may be on the hot seat in 2013.
Kansas Jayhawks vs. Missouri Tigers
When the Missouri Tigers left the Big 12 in 2012, their longstanding rivalry with the Kansas Jayhawks—nicknamed "The Border War"—left with them.
This series is nearly deadlocked over its 122-year history, as the Tigers hold a 56-55-9 lead all-time.
Currently, there are no scheduled games between the two, as the Jayhawks have no interest in renewing the rivalry after the Tigers left the Big 12 although the Tigers have expressed interest in meeting again.
If there's any topic that will get fans going in Lawrence, it's the rivalry with Missouri. Fans in Kansas felt betrayed by the Tigers because they left the conference, and that's been the general tone of the administration at KU as well.
While fans across Kansas would love to see this heated series renewed, don't expect it to happen unless they somehow meet in a bowl game.
Kansas State Wildcats vs. Syracuse Orange
The inaugural Pinstripe Bowl will forever be marred by a controversial call that went against Kansas State.
With the Wildcats trailing the Orange by eight in the final minutes, Kansas State found the end zone to set up a game-tying two-point conversion. However, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on Adrian Hilburn because he saluted the crowd forced the Wildcats to go for two points from the 17-yard line.
The Wildcats failed on the conversion and the Orange held on for the victory.
While fans in Manhattan have since watched their team go to the Cotton Bowl and win a Big 12 title in 2012, there is still a simmering anger over the way the 2010 season ended.
What better way to vanquish those demons by playing the Orange again?
Oklahoma Sooners vs. LSU Tigers
Throughout the 2003 regular season, the Oklahoma Sooners were widely regarded as unbeatable. However, in the Big 12 championship game in Kansas City, Jason White and Oklahoma were stunned by Kansas State, 35-7.
Despite the loss, the Sooners still made the Sugar Bowl that season, which doubled as the BCS national title game that year. However, Bob Stoops' squad couldn't recover from their loss to Kansas State, as LSU upset the Sooners, 21-14.
That national championship matchup was one of just two meetings between two of college football's most storied programs.
If any team in the entire conference would schedule a tough game in the non-conference slate, it would be the Sooners. Just look at this season, where they'll travel to Notre Dame to face last season's national runner-up as the second part of a home-home series.
An Oklahoma-LSU matchup would surely draw huge television ratings. It would also give the Sooners a chance to get some sort of vindication from their breakdown at the end of the 2003 season.
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Ohio State Cowboys
The Les Miles era in Stillwater, Okla., ended with the 2004 Alamo Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes and a 33-7 loss for the Cowboys.
Shortly afterwards, Miles bolted for LSU where he's been ever since.
The two main OSU's in college football have only met twice, with the other meeting coming in 1989.
The Cowboys are experiencing a resurgence in the spotlight in the past few seasons. In 2011, they were one bad night away in Ames, Iowa, from a national title appearance.
The Buckeyes also have demons to exorcise after last year's NCAA-sanctioned undefeated season that kept Urban Meyer's team from competing for any sort of title.
Were these two teams to meet up, it would signal a new phase for both. The winner could be placed in the national title discussion while the loser would likely be the victim of a knockout blow that might take a few season from which to recover
TCU Horned Frogs vs. Boise State Broncos
Ever since TCU and Boise State rose to national prominence as the top two schools in the country not in a BCS automatic qualifying conference, a budding rivalry has formed.
The two schools met in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl, where the Broncos beat the Horned Frogs, 17-10. In the 2011 regular season two seasons later, TCU got its revenge over Boise State with a heated 36-35 win.
Now, the Horned Frogs are in an AQ conference while the Broncos are stuck in the Mountain West after deciding not to join the Big East.
Has a year of Big 12 play given the Horned Frogs an edge? Maybe, but Boise State is still consistently one of the best teams in the country.
While it's been less than two years, it seems like a meeting between these programs is already overdue. A game between TCU and Boise State could finally solve one of college football's greatest debates: Are teams in AQ conferences truly better than those that aren't?
Texas Longhorns vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers
The Texas Longhorns and the Nebraska Cornhuskers have met three times in Big 12 title games, with the Longhorns winning two of them.
The 2009 Big 12 championship game was particularly exciting as Hunter Lawrence hit a field goal as time expired to send Texas on to the national title game.
The schools no longer meet routinely since the Cornhuskers left the Big 12 for the Big Ten. However, their rivalry remains hot.
Texas has yet to win a Big 12 title since that 2009 championship. Almost solely because of that fact, Mack Brown may be on the coaching hot seat in 2013 despite being one of the best coaches in the school's rich history.
Perhaps a game against Nebraska would let Brown conjure up some positive memories and allow him to get back in stride.
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Vanderbilt Commodores
The 1974 Peach Bowl between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Vanderbilt Commodores ended in a 6-6 tie.
The two schools never played before that game and haven't met up since. Maybe it's time to break the stalemate.
There isn't much other history between these two schools besides that game, but it's interesting that both teams are .500 against each other with neither having beaten the other.
As of late, both teams have showed tremendous promise. The Commodores are a team on the rise in the SEC while the Red Raiders have one of the most perennial passing attacks in college football.
Any game between the Big 12 and SEC is bound to be a big-time draw. Maybe breaking the tie in this series would be a good way to add another chapter to the history between the two conferences.
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Since Virginia Tech's departure from the Big East to the ACC in 2006, the Black Diamond Trophy given to the winner of the rivalry game between West Virginia and Virginia Tech has not been given out.
In the last meeting between the Mountaineers and Hokies, whose campuses are only 250 miles apart, Marcus Vick led Virginia Tech to a 34-17 win. That was the only blemish on West Virginia's record that year.
Now neither team is in the Big East and with traveling being such an issue in Morgantown, which is so far from every other Big 12 school, a game with a team only a few hundred miles away may be wise for the Mountaineers as well.