Wildcats Open Big 12 Play on the Road- Again

This year, last year, the year before that, and the year before that, and so on ... and for that matter, next year, and the year after that, as well, Kansas State will open the Big 12 Conference season outside of KSU Stadium. The trend continues and some are looking at the future schedules with less then enthusiasm

In all of those years ... in 10 of the first 12 seasons of Big 12 football ... the Wildcats have opened at Nebraska, Iowa State, Colorado, Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas, Texas A&M and this year Oklahoma. Next year, it's Baylor, and in 2007 it's another trip to Texas.

Appearing difficult for the K-State team, in reality, opening on the road is a plus to the Wildcat fans. In more years than not, Kansas State plays an all-home schedule in September.

Opening with a home Big 12 game could mean four, if not five, consecutive weekend trips to KSU Stadium.

While it's true K-State seems to have gotten the shaft on first-week scheduling, that's only a portion of the science of Big 12 scheduling.

"We have a list of six of the top concerns that we hear from ADs and football coaches on scheduling," said Tim Allen, Big 12 associate commissioner, who is in charge of scheduling for football and basketball.

• Opening on the road. K-State has done so in 10 of the 12 years, followed by Texas Tech nine times, and eight each for Oklahoma State and Kansas.

• Opening with consecutive road games. K-State and Baylor have done this four times, while Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Kansas have each opened with consecutive Big 12 trips three times.

• Opening with three road trips in the first four games. Oklahoma State has done so three times; Kansas State, Missouri and Texas have never faced such a task.

• Playing four out of five on the road at any stage of the season. Oklahoma is the only school to do so more than once. K-State had such a schedule in 1996, playing at MU, at Texas A&M, Oklahoma, at KU and at CU on four out of five Saturdays.

• Playing too many of the premier teams — KSU, NU, CU in the North; UT, A&M and OU in the South — on consecutive weekends.

Oklahoma State has done so 29 times. At the opposite end, Texas A&M has played marquee teams on back-to-back Saturdays just seven times, and Kansas State and Texas eight times.

• The other concern has to do with North versus South. Administrators from Northern schools are concerned about playing too many early-season games in the heat of the South; Southern schools are concerned about playing too many late-season games in the cold of the North.

"We have a healthy dialogue with each and every school," Allen said. "Personally, I grow as the person who works with the scheduling, and gain more experience with every conversation I have with coaches and administrators."

And it's certain, as the above statistics indicate, that the bonuses, and miseries, are passed around from the Bears to the Cornhuskers, from the Wildcats to the Red Raiders.

"If you go through all of those categories, I think you will see that there is no favoritism," said Allen, a 1977 graduate of Kansas State.

In addition, for the first time in Big 12 history, the schedules for the 2004 through 2007 seasons were voted on by the administrators of the schools themselves.

With four parameters, a computer spits out hundreds of possible schedules to choose from.

The parameters are:

• No team will open with three straight road games

• Every team will end the year with one home game and one road game

• The date for the Texas-Oklahoma game will coincide with the Texas State Fair.

• Attempt to get as few North vs. South games as possible after the first Saturday in November.

"It's really a four-month process after that of going from hundreds of schedules down to 200, from 200 down to 50, and eventually to the three of four schedules our staff feels that are in the best interest of each and every school," Allen said.

Those final three or four lineups are then sent to ADs at each school, who vote on the schedule that is best for their institution. The schedule receiving the most votes for each and every year is the one the Big 12 uses.

"The vote of the administrators ties my hands," Allen said. "With each and every schedule, we try to fix the inadequacies that we see, but we're not always successful when trying to provide the most representative schedule for the 12 teams across the board."

The next challenge facing Allen is the addition of a 12th regular season game starting in 2006. With many coaches wanting a bye prior to the start of Big 12 play, that could mean a complete lineup of Thanksgiving weekend games for the entirety of the league. KSU's Big 12 Openers

Since the start of Big 12 play, Kansas State has opened the conference season on the road 10 times in the first 12 years

1996 — Texas Tech at K-State, W, 21-14
1997 — K-State at Nebraska, L, 56-26
1998 — Texas at K-State, W, 48-7
1999 — K-State at Iowa State, W, 35-28
2000 — K-State at Colorado, W, 44-21
2001 — K-State at Oklahoma, L, 38-37
2002 — K-State at Colorado, L, 35-31
2003 — K-State at Texas, L, 24-20
2004 — K-State at Texas A&M, L, 42-30
2005 — K-State at Oklahoma
2006 — K-State at Baylor
2007 — K-State at Texas


Future Big 12 Schedules 2006

Sept. 30 — KSU at Baylor
Oct. 7 — Oklahoma State at KSU
Oct. 14 — Nebraska at KSU
Oct. 21 — KSU at Missouri
Oct. 28 — Iowa State at KSU
Nov. 4 — KSU at Colorado
Nov. 11 — Texas at KSU
Nov. 18 — KSU at Kansas

2007

Sept. 29 — KSU at Texas
Oct. 6 — Kansas at KSU
Oct. 13 — Colorado at KSU
Oct. 20 — KSU at Oklahoma State
Oct. 27 — Baylor at KSU
Nov. 3 — KSU at Iowa State
Nov. 10 — KSU at Nebraska
Nov. 17 — Missouri at KSU

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