College Confidential

Baylor may open 2016 football season in Australia

Baylor football coach Art Briles may be taking the Bears to Australia next season.
Baylor football coach Art Briles may be taking the Bears to Australia next season. TNS

If negotiations go well, Baylor may be going to great lengths to upgrade its nonconference football schedule. All the way to Australia, in fact.

Based on a report today by Rivals and confirmed by Fox Sports Southwest, Baylor is in negotiations to open its 2016 football season in Australia against a Pac-12 opponent. A source told Fox Sports that there are “still a few things that need to fall in place” before the game is finalized. Baylor’s Rivals.com site, which first reported the negotiations, said California is the most likely opponent.

Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw could not be reached for comment but has confirmed to Waco-based media outlets that there is a proposal on the table for the Bears to open the 2016 season overseas. Baylor spokesman Heath Nielsen said school officials are “looking at several options for 2016 and have received a proposal for an international game. But there are lots of moving parts and we’ll know more later this summer.”

If the game materializes, it would back up McCaw’s vow made during last month’s Big 12 spring meetings to strengthen the school’s oft-maligned nonconference football schedules between now and 2020.

“We’re certainly open to playing a Power 5 team not every year, but a good number of years,” McCaw said at the time. “We’re having some interesting discussions right now.”

McCaw did not name potential opponents but called it possible that adjustments could be made to nonconference slates “between now and 2020” to provide upgrades that would enhance the Bears’ opportunity to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff. Baylor, which has won or shared the last two Big 12 football championships, finished No. 5 in last year’s final CFP rankings, one spot shy of earning a spot in the four-team playoff bracket.

As things stand, Baylor is slated to open the 2016 seasons against Northwestern (La.) State, an FCS opponent, at McLane Stadium in Waco. Other non-conference opponents on future Baylor schedules include Liberty (2017), UTSA (2017-19), Abilene Christian (2018), Incarnate Word (2019) and Louisiana Tech (2020-22). 

Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @Jimmy_Burch

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