With West Virginia successfully working out its exit conditions from the Big East and set to become one of two new members (along with TCU) to join the Big 12 next fall, officials of the Big 12 released the league's 2012 football schedule.
The new schedule has some interesting twists and turns and, given the anticipated strength of the league and the competitive nature of the 10 schools within it, it should be extremely difficult for any team to get through the gauntlet unscathed.
Although the exact details have not been disclosed, it is reported that West Virginia's $20 million exit fee from the Big East is being paid for by WVU with help from the Big 12. The amount from the Big 12 is believed to be half of the total, or $10 million. Half of the $10 million from the Big 12 is in the form of a grant; the remaining $5 million will come from future revenue distribution that West Virginia will receive as its share of the Big 12's television contract.
When West Virginia originally announced that it was leaving the Big East to move to the Big 12, the Big East filed a lawsuit, claiming that the Mountaineers were bound by Big East Conference bylaws to provide a 27-month notice before they would be permitted to discontinue their conference affiliation. WVU officials filed a counter lawsuit. Both parties recently agreed to a settlement when West Virginia agreed to pay the $20 million exit amount being asked for by the Big East.
It has not been finalized yet what it will cost Missouri and Texas A&M to break ties with the Big 12. According to Big 12 bylaws, the penalty for choosing to leave the conference for schools that give between six and 12 months notice is 90 percent of projected distribution revenue over two years. That would amount to as much as $23 million for each school. Nebraska and Colorado paid considerably less than that amount when they left the conference in 2011.
Oklahoma was the only school not to release its full schedule. The Sooners have announced the schedule of their conference games, but apparently have not finalized the non-conference portion of the schedule.
Here are 12 things about the 2012 fall football schedule in the Big 12 that are important to know:
- The schedule is subject to change. One change that already is expected is the TCU game at Texas. Currently scheduled for Nov. 24, there is a very good chance the game will be moved to No. 22, Thanksgiving night, to replace the Texas-Texas A&M game.
- One of the first things that stands out in the 2012 Big 12 football schedule is the absence of Missouri. The Tigers, who are new members of the Southeastern Conference, were part of the Big 12 and its predecessor conferences for 105 years. Moreover, it will be the first time since 1890 that Kansas vs. Missouri has not appeared on the football schedule.
- The first conference game is scheduled to be played on Sept. 15, three weeks into the schedule, when TCU travels to Kansas. The second conference game will take place a week later, on Sept. 22, when Kansas State at Oklahoma is the only conference game on the schedule.
- Kansas opens its football season on Sept. 1 at home against South Dakota State. Kansas State opens the same day, hosting Missouri State.
- Kansas' opening and closing games in Big 12 play are against the conferences two new teams: TCU (Sept. 15) and West Virginia (Dec. 1), as the schedule stands now.
- On the weekend otherwise known as Championship Saturday (Dec. 1 this year) because of the conference championship games in several major 12-team conferences, the Big 12 will conclude its regular season with four games scheduled: Texas at Kansas State, Kansas is at West Virginia, Oklahoma State at Baylor and Oklahoma plays TCU in Ft. Worth.
- This will be the second year in Big 12 history that the league has not held a conference championship game.
- Kansas, Kansas State and TCU are scheduled to play four home games and five games away from home. Oklahoma State, Iowa State and West Virginia will have five games at home and four on the road, and Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor and Texas Tech will have four home dates, four games on the road and one game at a neutral location (Oklahoma vs. Texas in the Red River Rivalry at the old Cotton Bowl in Dallas; Baylor vs. Texas Tech at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas)
- The best or worst home schedule, depending upon how you look at it, belongs to Texas Tech. The Red Raiders will play Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia in Lubbock.
- Conversely, Kansas State may have drawn the most difficult road schedule, having to go to Oklahoma, West Virginia and TCU.
- Dangerous schedule stretches: In week four, Texas begins a three game stretch at Oklahoma State, home against West Virginia and in Dallas against Red River rival Oklahoma. TCU has three successive games in the middle of its schedule at Oklahoma State, at West Virginia and at home with Kansas State. Oklahoma's last three regular-season games are against West Virginia (there), Oklahoma State (in Norman) and TCU (there).
- Established Big 12 schools like Kansas and Texas aren't the only teams in the conference that will forego long-established rivalry games this year. West Virginia and Pittsburgh have met every year since 1942 in what came to be called the Backyard Brawl.