Nov. 23-24 a big (and formerly unlikely) college football weekend in Iowa

Nebraska-Iowa, West Virginia-Iowa State on consecutive days

Coming to Ames on Nov. 24
Coming to Ames on Nov. 24

The Big 12 released its 2012 football schedule Tuesday. That's a little late to be doing so, but the conference had to be sure it could legally transition West Virginia into the conference this year, and that has been resolved.

So I was looking at Iowa State's slate, and a few things occurred to me.

1. It really is true. The Cyclones are in a conference without any other schools in bordering states. Nebraska and Missouri are gone. That's over.

2. ISU has four home games against teams that finished the 2011 season in the national rankings: Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma and West Virginia. And the home-opener against Tulsa brings in a team that went 7-1 in Conference USA last year. Included in those teams are the winners of last season's Orange, Alamo and Insight bowls.

3. This has nothing to do with football, but the ISU men's basketball team has made five separate trips to Texas this season. One was to play in the South Padre Invitational, the other four for conference games. That's a lot of Texas.

But here was what appealed to me. On Friday, Nov. 23, Nebraska is at Iowa. The following day, West Virginia is at Iowa State.

That's a pretty good concluding week of the season in this state, no?

But now think about what you would have said two years ago today had you been told the final week of the 2012 football season would have Iowa playing Nebraska and Iowa State playing West Virginia, and both would be conference games.

That would have seemed impossible, bordering on insane. In Iowa State's case, the logical question would have been "What conference?"

Today, we accept Nebraska in the Big Ten, West Virginia and TCU in the Big 12, Missouri in the SEC, and Colorado in the Pac-12 as facts.Maybe in 2014, the Rose Bowl will be played in Yankee Stadium and will feature the champions of the Big East and the newly merged Conference USA/Mountain West.