During Big 12 media days, a new tagline was promoted everywhere: “One True Champion”. With a diminished national profile with four teams exiting, the conference wants to make sure they get a fair shake at the new College Football Playoff.
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Questions remain whether it will actually work or not.
The Houston Chronicle evaluates the situation of whether or not they can do it. While other conferences scoff at it, Baylor head coach Art Briles explains why the Big 12 has a tougher road.
"“You go 9-0 in the Big 12, you’re going to be in the Final Four because you’re going to beat probably two top-10 teams, probably two others in the top 20, and maybe another top 25, which is what we faced last year,” Briles said. “That’s a résumé that’s good enough to match any other conference, because other conferences with the crossover games aren’t getting that kind of competition week in/week out like we are in the Big 12.”"
Briles is right. Anybody that believes a conference championship game determines a tougher road is ludicrous. The Big 12 improved their image significantly by removing divisions; the North division was an annual laughingstock and would have received zero national attention if Nebraska wasn’t there.
Dec 7, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Auburn Tigers mascot Aubie dressed up as an angel during the 2013 SEC Championship game at Georgia Dome. The Auburn Tigers defeated the Missouri Tigers 59-42. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports
Remember the Big 12 championship that featured Colorado getting blown away by Texas 70-7? Did that really signal the top two teams in the Big 12?
That same train of thought applies to the SEC divisions. In the West, you have Alabama, LSU, and Auburn — teams that have been competing for national championships recently. In the East, you have Missouri showing up for five minutes and winning the division.
No, conference championships provide zero substance and top teams that are looking at a playoff spot could still avoid ever facing the second-best team in a 14-team conference. You won’t have that in the Big 12, and their teams’ strength of schedules are always near the top of the list. Every year, we talk about how tough Iowa State’s schedule is, and it will never get easier.
The reason why Big 12 teams haven’t been finishing in the top four in the final week of the season is because eventually this daunting of a schedule gets to you. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and Baylor all lost in the final weeks of the season because of that.
Hopefully, what the playoff committee will do is factor in that if a Big 12 team finally loses in late November, the same week SEC teams face their Southern Conference rivals like UT-Chattanooga and Furman.
The reason why Big 12 teams haven’t been finishing in the top four in the final week of the season is because eventually this daunting of a schedule gets to you.
Obviously, national bias will always provide the SEC champion a spot in the College Football Playoff, sometimes even the runner-up. If the Big 12’s formula pays off, then they would and should always get a spot (unless it is an off year for every team).
As the football landscape looks right now — assuming the SEC won’t get a second team in — you would have the Pac-12 likely getting somebody in with how Oregon and UCLA are getting love, and the final spot saved for either Florida State (no offense, ACC, but…come on) or the Big Ten winner.
- Just like Iowa State is installing a high-tempo offense, so is TCU. The Horned Frogs are hoping watching that unfold will help all the talent they have on defense. Hopefully that doesn’t all come into fruition in their season finale against Iowa State, or else Brent Blum will be walking around with one less eyebrow.