What was once a conference walking down into the pit of despair is now a group of teams that has risen above all the uncertainty to take its spot on the college football throne. Just a little over two years ago, the Big 12 was facing countless questions as rumors began to swirl about teams leaving the ship before it sank.
The impending dissolution appeared inevitable as former conference commissioner Dan Beebe claimed teams couldn’t come to an equal revenue sharing agreement. The possibility of losing the Texas Longhorns, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys to the then Pac-10 even surfaced. The Aggies eventually left for the SEC along side the Missouri Tigers, but that only made the conference stronger.
Beebe was fired and entered Bob Bowlsby along with the TCU Horned Frogs and West Virginia Mountaineers. The start of the 2012 season began a new era for the Big 12 as a stable, competitive and deep football conference. One could argue the conference is even better with the Frogs and Mountaineers. Is it now the deepest conference in college football?
With four teams ranked in the top 15 of the Associated Press Top 25, the conference has made headlines with the ridiculous numbers put up by the offenses and also downplayed due to the lack of defense. Oklahoma State, TCU and the Baylor Bears have all been inside the top 25 this season, and while they currently don’t sit in the polls, each team only has one loss on the season. Not to mention the Iowa State Cyclones and Red Raiders both received votes along with just one loss for each team.
No conference matches the Big 12 in offensive supremacy as six teams rank in the top 30 in total offense. The conference also features six of the top nine rated quarterbacks in the nation, including Heisman Trophy favorite Geno Smith. No one can downplay what the conference has in terms of play-makers and gadgetry on offense. However, plenty will argue the conference is nothing special because they are horrible on defense.
Any SEC fan will laugh at the notion a conference that is known for offense being deeper than their royalty, but just look at this objectively. The SEC features three teams that are allowing 400 or more yards per game and the Big 12 also has three. The SEC has seven teams giving up 300 or more yards a game, while the Big 12 has four. Both conferences also feature defenses allowing just 200 or more yards. The Big 12 has two and the SEC has three. And of course the Alabama Crimson Tide is only allowing 191.6 yards per game.
As far as how many points teams from each conference are giving up, the SEC has six teams allowing below 20 points a game, while the Big 12 has five. It Will be interesting to watch these numbers play out as the season goes on. Hopefully we’ll get to see a national championship that features the SEC’s best against West Virginia or K-State, but the story-line won’t change. Which conference has the most depth? That question will remain well into next season and beyond, but there’s more validity to the comparison than most people think.