Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Big XII is King Among Conferences (Yes, Even the SEC)

The Big XII has been a conference on the rise lately, especially this year, with the top team in the nation: Oklahoma. Joining Oklahoma in the top 7 are Missouri, Texas and Texas Tech, forming a formidable foursome at the top of the Big XII.

The Big XII also boasts league depth consisted of a unique mix of up-and-comers and perennial powerhouses. The aforementioned Sooners always seem to be in the national title hunt (including this year) along with the Texas Longhorns. Nebraska has struggled in the past few years but has turned it around and is on the comeback trail. Mizzou, Kansas, and Texas Tech all use the vaunted spread offense that has taken the nation by storm and launched them to national success. Along with those offenses, Sam Bradford directs an efficient and powerful attack in Oklahoma. Clearly, the Big XII is the home of explosive offenses, Heisman candidates and adequate, if not great, defenses. Bradford, Missouri QB Chase Daniel, Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell and Texas QB Colt McCoy all have legitimate shots at taking the Heisman.

The Big XII contains 8 teams that received votes, more than half of the conference. Of those 8 teams, 4 are ranked in the top 10 as opposed to the SEC’s 2.

Although Tennessee has been a good program throughout history, this year they have already lost twice in ugly fashion. Yeah, maybe Ole Miss produced Eli Manning, but they have not been relevant in the SEC or nationally in a long, long time. The supposedly "on the cusp" Arkansas team has been blown out in the last two games against Big XII opponents. In last year's Cotton Bowl, Missouri tore apart the Darren McFadden-led Razorbacks to the tune of a 38-7 beat down. This year, Texas drubbed Arkansas 52-10, giving the Big XII the season series edge. The SEC might have gone 6-2 in bowl games last year, but several wins came against the severely inferior ACC and Big Ten, losing their premier match-up with the Big XII. Over the last 3 years in bowls, the SEC and the Big XII are 3-3 head-to-head.

So contrary to popular belief [and the media's], the SEC has not dominated every conference in America, certainly not the Big XII. Another testament to the Big XII’s depth is Texas’ upcoming schedule. After their game at Colorado, they face four straight undefeated teams. I know for a fact that the SEC cannot say that.

Last year, two-loss LSU got into the title game because the teams in front of them fell late in the year. LSU did not lose late in the year, but the Big XII’s top teams knocked each other off in the last few weeks. This is part of the reason Big XII teams were not able to make the title game.

Kansas State, part of the bottom of the Big XII, is one of only six programs that have reached a bowl game in 11 consecutive years and has produced pro RB Darren Sproles.

The SEC’s perceived supremacy is a media concoction because the teams of the Big XII are clearly the kings of college football.

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