The Big Game of the week in college football takes place in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday when No. 4 Baylor takes on No. 4 Oklahoma State. The meeting between the Bears and the Cowboys underscores the scheduling philosophies of the Big 12 Conference and their peer conferences.
The Big 12 has historically played the bulk of its non-conference games in September followed by 10 weeks of league games as it completes its round-robin schedule.
The Baylor-Oklahoma State game falls on the third weekend of November and the weekend before Thanksgiving. Each of the past two seasons, at the same point in the season, an undefeated Big 12 team has lost a road game. In 2011, Oklahoma State lost at Iowa State and last season Kansas State was defeated at Baylor. The Cowboys were ranked No. 2 in the BCS while the Wildcats were ranked No. 1.
By contrast, the third weekend of November in 2012 featured Alabama vs. Western Carolina, Georgia vs. Georgia Southern, Florida vs. Jacksonville State and South Carolina vs. Wofford.
A similar schedule disparity will play out Saturday. While the nationally televised game in Stillwater features two top 10 BCS teams, four other highly ranked teams will face non-conference foes:
No. 1 Alabama vs. UT Chattanooga (8-3, FCS)
No. 2 Florida State vs. Idaho (1-9, FBS Independent)
No. 7 Clemson vs. The Citadel (5-6, FCS)
No. 11 South Carolina vs. Coastal Carolina (10-1, FCS)