Big 12 teams head into Week Four contests with a combined 15-11 mark in nonconference play. That is significantly lower than the success rates in other Power 5 leagues, where the combined records include: Big Ten (26-8), ACC (23-9), SEC (23-9) and Pac-12 (21-7).
The slow start cannot be good for Big 12 teams when it comes to College Football Playoff implications, with only No. 16 Baylor (3-0) and West Virginia (2-0) still undefeated at this point. But league coaches have yet to concede anything on the playoff front in mid-September.
“I hope it’s too early to figure it out,” said Baylor coach Jim Grobe, whose team opens league play Saturday against Oklahoma State (2-1) in Waco. “A few teams have started sluggishly and we are no different. I hope as the year goes along, we’ll get better and better.”
Texas coach Charlie Strong, whose team is coming off a 50-43 loss to California, downplayed CFP issues at this point. Strong said: “Our teams, we’ll be fine. We’ve still got conference play ahead of us. There are some really good teams in this conference and I think we’ll be OK.”
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen cited a league directive to upgrade nonconference schedules as part of the issue. In regard to the league’s playoff hopes, Holgorsen said: “It’s too early to tell at this point. We’ve been instructed to up the quality of our nonconference schedules and that’s what everyone has been doing. In the Big 12, everybody but one has done a pretty good job of scheduling nonconference games.”
Holgorsen did not specifically mention Baylor. But the Bears’ 3-0 record has been built on victories over SMU (2-1), Rice (0-3) and Northwestern (La.) State (0-3), an FCS school.