Big 12 coaches preparing for high-profile games

Published 7:49 pm Monday, August 29, 2016

Associated Press

Kansas State’s Bill Snyder let a slight chuckle when asked if playing a season opener at No. 8 Stanford was the sign of a change in scheduling philosophy for the veteran coach.

“Well, not in mine,” Snyder said Monday. “But it’s kind of the nature of the conference wanting everybody to play Power Five conference schools. So we’ve fallen in line with that.”

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The Wildcats are one of three Big 12 teams opening against a top-15 opponent, making the smallest of the Power Five leagues the only one with so many high-ranked non-conference openers.

K-State’s opener is Friday night, with third-ranked Oklahoma against No. 15 Houston in the home stadium of the NFL’s Texans on Saturday, and Texas at home Sunday night against No. 10 Notre Dame.

Plus, West Virginia is home against SEC member Missouri, a former Big 12 team.

“It’s a high-profile game. There’s a lot of high-profile games here this weekend, and I think that’s where college football is headed,” Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said during the first Big 12 coaches teleconference. “We’re going to continue to do that kind of scheduling here. And hopefully everyone else does that kind of scheduling as well.”

The Big 12 late last year said its teams would be required to play at least one non-conference game each season against a team from one of the other Power Five leagues (ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 or SEC) or Notre Dame, though the requirement didn’t affect existing non-conference game contracts at the time. Still, No. 23 Baylor and Kansas are the only Big 12 teams that won’t play against one of the peer conferences this season.

Kansas State is playing a true road non-conference game against a Power Five school for only the seventh time since 1989, Snyder’s first season with the Wildcats in a tenure that included a three-season gap (2006-08) when he retired before returning to coach again. Stanford is the highest-ranked non-conference opponent K-State has ever played in a season-opening road game.

“My only issue with it is the fact that in all reality, you don’t get to play all the younger guys that you have. We’re a program that’s going to need every guy we’ve got,” Snyder said. “When you play a team like Stanford, in all reality, that’s not going to take place.”

Some other notes from the first Big 12 teleconference of the season:

— Oklahoma is the overwhelming favorite to win its 10th Big 12 title after last season becoming the league’s first team to make it to the four-team College Football Playoff.