Nope, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke, Baylor’s non-conference schedule is starting to beef up. The Bears have agreed to play BYU in an home-and-home series with the Cougars traveling to Waco in 2021, and the Bears making the return trip the following year.
The series with BYU leaves only 2019 with an open non-conference spot on Baylor’s schedule until 2023. With Duke, Ole Miss and Utah already on the Bears’ schedule, the series with BYU continues to mark a shift in Baylor’s scheduling philosophy. It’s getting harder.
The reason for the change in philosophy? The Big 12’s new rule that members are required to schedule as least one power five conference team per year in their non-conference slate.
There’s been some back and forth by the conference on whether or not teams like BYU and Army would count towards the power five rule, but it looks like the conference has settled on that they will.
Baylor's games vs. BYU in 2021 & 2022 will satisfy their non-conference Power Five requirement, per Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby.
— FBSchedules.com (@FBSchedules) March 31, 2016
Personally, I like that BYU will count. If conferences want to impose these scheduling rules to force teams to be more competitive, then there needs to be some leeway to the rule. Is it really about being in a power five conference, or is it about scheduling a decent program in the non-conference?
If it’s the latter, then there needs to be some consideration for teams like ECU, UCF, Houston and Boise State. Otherwise, those programs will suffer, and college football will be the worse for it. Think about it, why would a power five school want to schedule any of those guys in their non-conference if it’s not going to count towards the power five requirement? Joke all you want about Baylor playing Incarnate Word in 2020, but not many programs will sign up to play two quality non-conference opponents in the same year. Especially as more power five conferences go to a nine-game conference slate.