Which Big 12 Team Has Easiest Schedule, Based On 2013 Records?

Image via philly.com

Slow(ish) day at the office led me to this somewhat statistical breakdown of the upcoming Big 10 football schedule. Admittedly, it is (in my opinion) very simplistic in its approach as there are any number of additional factors (injuries, returning starters, home/away, consideration of the opponent’s league and strength or lack there of, etc.) not being taken into consideration. But I work with numbers every day being an accountant and, for whatever reason, this struck me as a fun little exercise to put together for the Big 12 teams. And being that it took all of about 15 minutes (Excel is the best, right?), I figured why not make a post out of it and open up the results for discussion. After all, it is the offseason and we need any and every excuse to talk football we can find. No matter how mundane, right?

Just as the Fox Sports Wisconsin guy did, I simply took the respective 2014 schedules for each Big 12 team and collected the opponent’s 2013 win/loss records. However while the original version focused on conference play, since the Big 12 no longer has divisions (and they play a round-robin schedule), I expanded my data to include the non-conference opponents in addition to league play.

Here are the results, after which I’ll expand on some of what I found:

Oklahoma: 71-78 (.477 win percentage)
Texas Tech: 74-75 (.497)
Baylor: 78-72 (.520)
Kansas State: 79-72 (.523)
Kansas: 86-66 (.566)
Oklahoma State: 86-65 (.570)
TCU: 87-65 (.572)
Texas: 89-63 (.586)
West Virginia: 97-59 (.622)
Iowa State: 97-57 (.630)

As you can see, based on this admittedly simplistic approach, there is at least some argument to be made that Oklahoma will be playing the easiest 2014 schedule among Big 12 teams. That opponent’s win percentage number is hurt pretty significantly by OU’s three non-conference opponents (Louisiana Tech, Tulsa & Tennessee) who finished the 2013 season with 4-8, 3-9, and 5-7 records, respectively. And it’s probably fair to say that 2013 was an uncharacteristic year for all three of those squads, in terms of their win/loss records. Granted, the Vols are probably a 7-5 or 8-4 type of program in that league right now and flipping those two or three wins isn’t going to drastically alter that .477 number. But combine that with a more “typical” year from La Tech and Tulsa then you’re likely looking at the Sooners being somewhere more middle of the pack.

Meanwhile, when you look at Iowa State — who based on the percentages faces the theoretically toughest schedule — the numbers are inflated somewhat due to 2014 opponent North Dakota State’s 15-0 FCS record last year. Which is not a knock on the Bison, as K-State can certainly attest, who are a quality football program. But it’s still FCS and you’re kidding yourself if you think they’re not beating up on over-matched opponents pretty regularly. Additionally, with ISU finishing so poorly in the league (2-7) those wins obviously help to boost the other Big 12 squads respective win percentages. Thus increasing the difficulty of ISU’s schedule.

Found it kind of interesting that OSU and KU would be so close to one another considering they are clearly on opposite ends of the spectrum with the Pokes just missing out on a Big 12 title (you’re welcome – signed, Bedlam) and the Jayhawks bringing up the rear. The clear difference here being the boost — though I suspect most OSU fans won’t be referring to it that way late Saturday night on Aug. 30th — OSU receives from Florida State’s (their season opening opponent) 14-0 record last year.

Anyway at the sake of discrediting my own “research”, I’m not entirely sure how much weight one should behind behind these numbers but as I said earlier, it’s kind of interesting to consider. So do with it what you will.