The Kansas State Wildcats have become the latest team to start beefing up their non-conference schedule. The Cats have agreed to play Stanford in a home-and-home series, and we don’t have to wait very long for the first leg. K-State will hit the road for California next season, but Stanford doesn’t return the favor until 2021.
“We are excited to announce a home-and-home series with Stanford of the Pac-12 Conference,” KSU athletic director John Currie said in a statement. “With more than 7,500 friends and alumni in the state of California, and our game there next season taking place over Labor Day weekend, this series gives the K-State Nation a great opportunity to again showcase its national reputation as one of America’s top traveling fan bases.”
It’s not like their schedule couldn’t use a little beefing up either. This year the Cats took warmed up with South Dakota, UTSA, and Louisiana Tech.
The Cats do have series scheduled with SEC schools Mississippi State and Vanderbilt in between their dates with Stanford, ensuring they have one power five team schedule in their non-conference though 2021.
With the beginning of the College Football Playoff schools have made more of an effort to schedule quality opponents, but for Big 12 schools it’s a gamble. Should you be in a rebuilding year, a tough non-conference game could be the difference between being bowl eligible and not.
It’s also a gamble that might not be worth taking due to the Big 12’s 9-game round-robin schedule. As already mentioned, the Wildcats didn’t play a power five school in their non-conference this season, but according to teamrankings.com they currently rank 36th in strength of schedule. To put that into perspective, both Ohio State and Michigan State played a power five school in their non-con, both rank in the top ten nationally, but both are well below K-State in strength of schedule at 69 and 72 respectively.
Regardless if it is, or isn’t needed though, one thing is for sure. It’s better for the fans!