How Strong is the Big 12?

October 15, 2012

College Football

The first BCS Rankings came out on Sunday and it would seem that two conferences stand out among all the conferences in the country. Both the SEC and the BIG 12 put 7 teams in the Top 25 BCS rankings, which is very impressive. Nobody can argue which conference is stronger, because if the past several years and the number of teams in the Top 15 is any indication, the SEC is clearly better. However, something can be said for placing 7 teams in the BCS Rankings, as well as the fact that 9 of the 10 teams are above .500 overall. The Big 12 is definitely a strong conference, but strong in a different way than the SEC.

In a conference where everybody plays everybody it is very easy to see how good everyone is. In fact after looking at the first few weeks of Big 12 play we already know a few things:

  1. Kansas is an the worst team in the conference. After failing to win a conference game last year Kansas is looking to repeat their performance and go 0-9 yet again.
  2. Texas’ woes continue. After somewhat of a miserable season last year, 2012 is not looking much better for the Longhorns as the struggle to pull out necessary wins.
  3. The jury is still out on West Virginia in the Big 12. While they beat Texas and Baylor, West Virginia visibly struggled against Texas Tech. It seems the long trips may have taken a toll on WVU. They will need to figure out a solution if they want to be contenders.
  4. Finally, there is going to be a huge fight for the Big 12 Championship. I hope Conference officials have the tiebreaker procedures understood because I foresee at least 2 teams tied atop the conference if not more.

The Big 12 is, for the second straight year, boasting a Heisman frontrunner. Geno Smith of West Virginia has been lighting up the football field every weekend. Smith has 2271 yards with 25 touchdowns and 0 interceptions (seriously, none). Smith has been scorching defenses and making linebackers, cornerbacks, and safeties look like they aren’t even trying.

Despite a rough game last week against Texas Tech, Smith still posted 275 yards with a touchdown. Some NFL QB’s wish that was considered an off game for themselves (looking at you, Blaine Gabbert). Smith had diminished passing yards against Texas but had his overall day bolstered by the 4 touchdowns he threw in that game, as compared to the one against Texas Tech.

That being said, if Geno Smith keeps up the pace he has set early this season he should continue to be a top Heisman contender and put West Virginia into position for a BCS bowl game.

Who is going to win the Big 12 this year?

This may be an impossible question to answer with any certainty, because there are so many teams playing well enough to take the conference. Its easy enough to knock off bottom tier squads like Kansas. Baylor also is not looking strong and Texas is likely  going down the same road as last year (to a lesser bowl game). Iowa State and Oklahoma State both look too weak to take the conference. While TCU is good they, still have the tough teams in the Big 12 left and championship odds are dwindling for them after a loss to Iowa State. This leaves 4 teams who are legitimate contenders for the Big 12 title.

The Oklahoma Sooners are the first of these teams. Landry Jones has been leading the Sooners the past three years, and in his senior season he is looking for his second Big 12 championship. The Sooners have a strong high scoring offense with a multitude of different threats. They also have a defense that can hold teams off which is pretty much all you can ask for with the high scoring power of the Big 12.

The West Virginia Mountaineers are the new kids on the block in the Big 12. West Virginia has shown both their strength and their weaknesses. Their strength is a strong offense with the Heisman frontrunner who is showing everyone up this season. However, their defense is another story. This weakness was made very clear against Texas Tech in their last outing. However, now that this has become a major problem WVU has a chance to go home and get their scheme together before hosting Kansas State

The Texas Tech Red Raiders are playing strong all season. Despite a loss to Oklahoma they boast a near perfect record as well as a complete offensive and defensive package. They proved against West Virginia they have an offense that can score and a defense that can shut down the best players in the nation. Texas Tech has been at the bottom end of the conference the past two seasons, and the Red Raiders have been looking toward a year like this since 2009. If Texas Tech wins the Big 12 it will cap off the comeback they have been dreaming about.

Finally,  the Kansas State Wildcats have slowly been creeping up the Big 12 for the past couple years, and with last years 2nd place finish this would seem like the year where they take it all. While Kansas State seemed to struggle against Iowa State, they still pulled out a victory and and put up some impressive stats. Kansas State also has a Heisman standout in Collin Klein who, like Smith, is posting outstanding stats.

This four-way fight will most likely begin to sort itself out in the next few weeks. The next 2 weeks Kansas State faces WVU and Texas Tech and these two games will go a long way in determining who is at the top of the Big 12 at the end of the season. At this moment, Texas Tech looks to be the team that has the best odds of coming out of this season with the Big 12 title. After the West Virginia v. Texas Tech game Saturday, Texas Tech looked strong enough to not only beat Kansas State but win the conference.

The Big 12 is strong because much like they SEC the have teams that are fighting at the top of the conference. In one week a squad can go from the top of the conference to the bottom. Over the past few years the Big 12 has made themselves one of the top conferences in the country, and in looking at the BCS rankings and the level of competition it is clear to see that if the SEC ever falters the Big 12 is ready to their place as the cream of the college football crop.

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About Andrew Ware

Seminary student at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. and graduate of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA. But most of all a follower of Jesus Christ.

View all posts by Andrew Ware


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