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How Baylor's scheduling could burn the Bears

Baylor-football-vs.-Wofford-_TT-08.31.13_1123-FTWDALLAS, Texas - Any attempt at knocking Baylor athletics for anything these days is a challenge, but the football schedule is a can't-miss. How to defend the following:

2014: SMU, Northwestern State, at Buffalo
2015: at SMU, Lamar, Rice
2016: Northwestern State, SMU, at Rice
2017: UTSA, Duke
2018: at UTSA, at Duke
2019: Incarnate Word, UTSA, at Rice
TBA: Liberty

With the exception of playing regional rivals, which should always be OK, this schedule for the defending Big 12 champion and Fiesta Bowl runner-up is a bit much.
Baylor director of athletics Ian McCaw was at Big 12 media days this week where I asked him what a great many of the good people who comprise Baylor nation want to know - why?
"When we scheduled the three non-conference opponents this year we were in the midst of a 15-year bowl drought; the philosophy was, let's get to six wins and bowl eligibility," McCaw said. "Our goal is to win three non-conference games, and set us up to have a great year in the Big 12 and hopefully win a Big 12 championship."

McCaw said he has received little criticism from Baylor fans who desire a more competitive looking non-conference game or two. The thought is a fan would prefer his team finish with, for example, an 11-2 record as opposed to a 10-3 record that includes a non-conference loss against a high-ranking quality opponent.
130308121314-cheerleader-01-individual-005-baylor-megan-kamrath-mv-single-image-cut"I want us to play a name opponent, but I want us to play a name opponent in January and not September," McCaw said.
In the old BCS format, these types of schedules provided zero competitive nonconference games, but gave teams the best chance for a nice win total, thus improving the chances for a higher profile bowl bid.
Under this new four-team playoff, where a committee will select the teams based on a variety of factors, includling schedule, the types of opponents Baylor is playing could hurt them.

"If there becomes an incredible premium placed on strength of schedule by the committee, you may see us going to a shorter window in terms of scheduling opponents," McCaw said. "But it's going to take a while."
And by "a while", McCaw means schools routinely schedule non-conference games as much as eight years out. It would be much better if football followed basketball scheduling practices and do it a year or two in advance.

Until then critics will rip it, and Baylor fans clamoring for a decent non-conference game may not like it, but until it doesn't work the Bears are not changing their formula.

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Rob Tentoy

"Any attempt at knocking Baylor athletics for anything these days is a challenge"

Art Briles and his Dairy Queen comments aside...

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