The Oklahoma Sooners have dominated the Big XII Conference since it’s induction in 1996, but the 2012 season could provide the most parity the conference has seen since the 2008 season. With six teams ranked in the top 25 in both major polls, it’s looking to be an interesting one for the Big XII faithful.
The conference has always been dominated by the Sooners and the Texas Longhorns, with 1997 being the only year one of the two did not play in the Big XII Championship game, that year it went to the Nebraska Cornhuskersand Texas A&M Aggies, both who are no longer members. Does the new landscape allow for more teams to be competitive? West Virginia and Texas Christian University would like to think so.
Oklahoma State broke the mold last season and punched out their first conference title since winning the Missouri Valley Conference in 1948. For Cowboy fans, the dominance of the Longhorns and the Sooners had finally come to an end. The Cowboys did miss out on their chance of playing in the BCS National Championship with their major upset loss against the Iowa State Cyclones, a game that surprised everyone by going into a double-overtime finish.
Since the landscape change, the Sooner have gone 22-5, while the Longhorns have gone 13-12 in the Big XII over the last two seasons. The new additions may cause more Big XII mayhem. West Virginia is coming in with a lot to prove, and TCU has been an on the up and coming for the last several years.
Both the Frogs and the Mountaineers are extremely well coached, with ‘Eeers coach, Dana Holgorsen having quite the Big XII pedigree coming in. Holgorsen helped former Texas Tech coach, Mike Leach install the highly successful air-raid into the Red Raiders offense. He spent one season with Oklahoma State back in 2010, doing the exact same thing before heading to Morgantown to succeed head coach, Bill Stewart.
Both TCU and West Virginia have made BCS bowl appearances recently, with WVU last season beating the Clemson Tigers in what was an embarrassing performance for the Tigers, blowing out the game 70-33. The Mountaineers on the other hand made bowl game history, setting an NCAA record for the most points ever scored in a bowl game.
At this point going into the season, the Mountaineers are the team that could potentially be the season killer for the two power houses. They have the offensive talent and one of the best quarterbacks in the league, Geno Smith leading the charge. Both the Longhorns and the Sooners have strong defenses and have the talent to keep West Virginia at bay, but the story of the Big XII over the last couple of seasons have ended up with major upset games.
Last year, the Cyclones beating the Pokes, then the Red Raiders snapping Oklahoma’s 39-game winning streak in Norman. Iowa State ended up being 8th in the Big XII with the Red Raiders finishing 9th.
Get ready for a Big XII horse race.