Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads believes that conference realignment has caused an unbalanced playing field in college football.
For example, the schools of the Big Twelve are set to play 9 conference games this year. Iowa State always plays in-state rival Iowa, and this season the Cyclones travel to UCONN. That makes 11 of 12 games against BCS conference opponents, something that Rhoads believes hurts the Cyclones chances of playing in the best bowl game possible.
Rhoads said, "The college game seems to be headed in that direction with more conference competition rather than less. If we're going to play nine conference games, which we are, I'd like everybody else to play nine, too.''
"What I think coaches want is some balance. You don't want to put yourself at a disadvantage when it comes to qualifying for bowls compared to teams from other conferences."
Colorado left the Big Twelve, but the Buffaloes out-of-conference schedule is difficult. Colorado plays at Hawaii, Cal, Colorado State (in Denver), and at Ohio State.
Nebraska, which also left the Big Twelve, plays Chattanooga, Fresno State, Washington, and at Wyoming.
It doesn’t seem that Embree or Pelini have an easier road to a bowl game than Iowa State, so we wonder which particular teams would prove Rhoads’ case for the 2011 season.
Here is a breakdown of the Big Twelve non-conference schedules:
Iowa State: Northern Iowa, at UCONN, Iowa
Texas: Rice, BYU, at UCLA
Oklahoma: Tulsa, at FSU, Ball State
Oklahoma State: ULL, at Arizona, Tulsa
Missouri: Miami (OH), at Arizona State, Western Illinois
Baylor: TCU, Stephen F. Austin, Rice
Kansas: McNeese State, Northern Illinois, at Georgia Tech
Kansas State: Eastern Kentucky, Kent State, at Miami (FL)
Texas Tech: Texas State, at New Mexico, Nevada
Texas A&M: SMU, Idaho, Arkansas (Cowboys Stadium)