Blog Entry

Picking the Big 12

Posted on: June 29, 2009 3:01 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2009 12:09 pm

The Big 12 South Division race, the Big 12 title game, the Heisman race and the national championship hinged on the conference's three-way tiebreaker. We found out about the 11-year-old rule when Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech each tied at 7-1 in the South Division.

Oklahoma "won" the tiebreaker because it finished the regular season as the highest-ranked team in the division  -- by .0128 of a point in the BCS standings. Instead of reliving the Austin angst, let's just say that one Longhorn suggested that if the tiebreaker rule wasn't changed in the offseason his school ought to pull out of the Big 12.

What's changed? Not much. The rule wasn't changed and Texas is still in the league. At the spring meetings, the Big 12 ADs accepted the coaches' vote that the tiebreaker remain the same. Why?

 One theory is that Texas probably doesn't get much sympathy from the other coaches because ... it's Texas. The school is perceived to have the best of everything so it didn't get much sympathy from schools that don't. Yeah, jealousy sucks.

 There is nothing to be gained for schools like Missouri, Iowa State, Colorado, Baylor, etc., so why change? Hey, the league got two teams in the BCS. To the other schools it doesn't matter who plays in those games as long as the money keeps rolling in.

 The tiebreaker makes sense. Why wouldn't you want your highest rated BCS team to win the tiebreaker? There was some feeling that the SEC tiebreaker is fairer.

In a three-way tie, the SEC drops the lowest-ranked team and decides things head-to-head. But since you're chasing a BCS title, the SEC tiebreaker potentially keeps the highest-ranked team out of a title shot.

The tiebreaker would have been a footnote on the national scene had not Texas and Oklahoma been involved. The rivalry was bitter enough without having to explain why the Horns lost out when they beat the Sooners on the field. Yeah, Oklahoma's fortune might cause a bit of consternation in Austin.

"They got a huge break," Texas' Colt McCoy said.

Like I said, nothing has changed. Texas and OU still hate each other. There is a good chance we could have another tiebreaker train wreck at the end of this season. Only the teams will change.

Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State could all start the season in the top 10. The Red River Shootout on Oct. 17 shapes up as one of the most intense in the history of the rivalry. Just for controversy's sake let's assume the Horns win in Dallas, they still have to play in Stillwater on Halloween. If the Cowboys win they could win out until a Nov. 28 date in Norman. If the Sooners win that one, we're looking at another three-way 7-1 finish.

Who wins it in the BCS tiebreaker? In that scenario, you'd have to like Oklahoma again. The Texas loss would be six weeks old by then and beating Oklahoma State impressively would be the emphatic final statement for the computers the pollsters. That same thing happened last year when OU blew out Texas Tech.

Closer to the field, for the second consecutive year the Large Dozen remains the conference of quarterbacks. It sports a Heisman winner (Sam Bradford), a runner-up (Colt McCoy) and well as 2009 Heisman candidate Todd Reesing of Kansas. You can add Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson, Baylor's Robert Griffin and Texas Tech quarterback du jour Taylor Potts as difference makers.

Just giving you a fair warning, Texas fans. Grow your hair out now. You might be pulling it out in December.

Picking the Big 12 ...

North Division

1. Kansas -- If this were Miami, Dezmon Briscoe, Kerry Meier and Reesing would be on the cover of every preseason mag in the country. Meier is the leading returning receiver in catches per game (10.8). Briscoe is second in receiving yards per game (108.2). Reesing already has led the Jayhawks to an Orange Bowl and is in line to become the school's best quarterback ever. Mark Mangino already has proven he can coach. If a new set of starting linebackers can tackle and if KU can beat either Oklahoma, Texas or Texas Tech (he is a combined 0-9 against the three) this could be a special season. The Jayhawks get the slight edge in the North because the Nebraska game is at home.

2. Nebraska -- Bo Pelini is slowly building Huskerville back to its usual standards. Slowly is the key word because defense is Pelini's thing and the D showed astounding lapses last year. Slowly, because Nebraska has not had a first-team All-American on the defensive line in 12 years. Tackle Ndamukong Suh could break the streak. Some draft boards already have him in the top five. There is little room for error where Pelini is a turned ankle away from having real problems at quarterback. Zac Lee is the guy after Patrick Witt, who was being counted on, left before the spring. A lot of folks think Nebraska has the advantage in the North because of its schedule. I see road trips to Missouri, Baylor, Kansas and Colorado, plus a home game against Oklahoma. Please tell me how that is favorable?

3. Missouri -- The Tigers will take a dip after back-to-back Big 12 North titles. Missouri knows it. The fans know it. The league knows it. The key is trying to make an 8-4 season seem like a success. Six-foot-five Blaine Gabbert takes over for Chase Daniel, only the greatest qb in Missouri history. He would be wise to spread the ball out to 1,000-yard rusher Derrick Washington and receivers Danario Alexander and Jared Perry. The Tigers will score, just not as often. If the defense is shored up at all this team could be on the fringes of contending in the North. At times, the secondary looked like a fire drill. Linebacker All-American linebacker candidate Sean Weatherspoon passed up the draft and will chase the school's career tackles record as a senior.

4. Colorado -- Has Hawk Love turned into Hawk Doubt? Entering his fourth season in Boulder, Dan Hawkins has won only 13 games. The pressure is on to produce (hint: Big 12 North contention and a bowl game). Hawkins isn't backing down, saying this at the senior banquet: "Ten wins, no excuses." The quarterback situation is unsettled with son Cody Hawkins and Tyler Hansen maybe sharing the job again. Freshman tailback sensation Darrell Scott was upstaged by fellow freshman Rodney Stewart who led the team in rushing. Here's the scary thing: In a league with unrelenting offenses, CU has lost six of its top 10 tacklers.

5. Kansas State -- This isn't the old Big Eight for Bill Snyder. Back in 1989, he was taking over Kansas State from a zero position. This time he is chasing his own legacy. Not to diminish what Snyder accomplished, but back in the early 1990s, Missouri and Kansas were jokes and Oklahoma was sliding. There was no Texas to play two out of every four years. The Big 12 has more depth and strength than the Big Eight as Snyder tries for Miracle In Manhattan II. Snyder got K-State from dregs to the brink of a national championship game in nine years. Will the 69-year-old have that much time this time around?

6. Iowa State -- Iowa State swapped coaches with Auburn. Gene Chizik went. Paul Rhoads came. Rhoads, from nearby Ankeny, seems like he wants to stay awhile. He'll be looking up at the rest of the Big 12 North for a while. Ripping Wally Burham from South Florida to be his defensive coordinator was a huge get for Rhoads. The offense will have a chance with dual-threat Austen Arnaud at quarterback

South Division

1. Texas -- Mack Brown smiled when I told I had his pregame speech ready for the OU game. "We beat the Sooners last year, boys. Now let's go out and get some revenge!" Yeah, it's about that and a lot of things for Brown and the Horns. Except for perhaps some suspect running backs, Texas is loaded. Brown has his best team since the 2005 national championship crew. Hybrid defensive end/linebacker Sergio Kindle should be this season's Brian Orakpo. McCoy is driven not only by the tiebreaker but also his second-place finish in the Heisman. Still, it all boils down to Oct. 17 in Dallas.

2. Oklahoma -- Sam Bradford won the Heisman, became the first quarterback to win back-to-back Big 12 titles and got the Sooners to the national championship game. What is there left to accomplish? Plenty for Bradford who listened to family and advisors and put off the NFL. His body can fill out a bit and it doesn't look like there will be a Matthew Stafford to compete with in the draft this year. Oklahoma's questions are at offensive line and receiver. If this were anywhere else but the Big 12 South, the Sooners would be prohibitive favorites to repeat. With a break here or there, they still might end back up in the national championship game.

3. Oklahoma State -- With apologies to Texas and Oklahoma, this could be the best offense in the Big 12, if not the country. Returning are a 1,500-yard rusher (Kendall Hunter), an All-American receiver (Dez Bryant), and a 65 percent passer with 25 touchdowns (Robinson). The problem remains defense. New defensive coordinator Bill Young is the Cadillac of his profession. Okie State will be better just because of his presence. Perrish Cox is developing into an NFL talent at corner and is one of the nation's best returners.

4. Texas Tech -- The Red Raiders slip back to the 8-4 level this season. You know the drill: Potts will throw for eight million yards. There will be a 1,000-yard receiver or two. Mike Leach will be his usual quote-machine self. However, last season was a once-in-10-year event. There is payback waiting at Texas, at Oklahoma State and at Nebraska.

5. Baylor -- Does any Big 12 school have more upside? Joe Pawelek is an All-Big 12 linebacker. Center J.D. Walton anchors the offensive line now that Jason Smith is gone. But let's be honest, the moment quarterback Robert Griffin followed coach Art Briles to Baylor (from his commitment to Houston), things took off. A sprinter with Olympic aspirations, Griffin gave up the Big 12 track season to concentrate on what should be his breakout season in Waco. If there is a one-man team in the league, this is it. Griffin also was the team's No. 2 rusher. With more weight and more knowledge, Griffin should become the most elusive dual-threat in the Big 12 since Vince Young. At stake is a 14-year bowl drought. That ties for the longest active streak among BCS schools.

6. Texas A&M -- One former Big Eight coach said it during the offseason: This is A&M. It should be able to go over to the Houston high schools and scrounge up a couple of defensive linemen. In Mike Sherman's second season, d-line is a good place to start. The one-time Wrecking Crew was Charmin soft as one of the worst defensive units in the country. After the non-conference games, the Aggies gave up less than 35 once. Once! Nineteen players had surgery in the offseason. The Aggies better get fat early. The season ends with Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas.


Since: Jul 1, 2009
Posted on: July 1, 2009 6:05 pm

Picking the Big 12

Typical horn fan....still blaming the computers when it was the coaches and media who weighted the Sooners the heaviest, not the computers.  Blame the computers, not your inability to beat a second rate Tech team on the road.

Since: Aug 7, 2007
Posted on: July 1, 2009 5:59 pm

Picking the Big 12

To spinkiller:

Mack Brown did exactly what a coach is supposed to do given the circumstances, he made a case to the media for why his team should be the top ranked team in the three-way tiebreaker. Stoops did the EXACT same thing prior to the final BCS rankings (and yes, there are sources to back this up), so by your standards I guess Stoops was "whining" as well. I do look forward to Texas beating the Sooners again and to hear the OU fans make excuses for the loss. "Injuries" seems to be the drug of choice these days.  

Since: Nov 3, 2008
Posted on: July 1, 2009 5:46 pm

Picking the Big 12

Just for the record for those of you out of conference fans.  Oklahoma has won 6 of the last 9 Big XII Championships including the last 3 in a row. The other three were one by Texas (1), Colorado (1) and Kansas State (1). This year Oklahoma will be fielding most likely the best team of them all.
How in the world would you pick any team over Oklahoma to win the Big XII Title while they return the most talent as well as the Heisman Trophy winner? The answer is, you don't. It's what you don't know about Oklahoma that will hurt you. Texas will certainly be talented but, I honestly don't see that game being close.  I would probably say OU will win by at least 14 against Texas. I would be very worried about OSU if tha game weren't in Norman.
Let the Texas fans boast, I truely believe they will be the third best in the south, Oklahoma State will outscore them in Stillwater.

Since: Mar 7, 2007
Posted on: July 1, 2009 4:30 pm

Picking the Big 12

In your scenario, OSU would advance as the last team to win a BIG game.
Why are you complaining about a tiebreaker that wasn't changed?

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: July 1, 2009 4:25 pm

Picking the Big 12

Gators?  Please.

You lost AT HOME to Ole Miss last year.  Ole Miss with the quarterback that could not get on the field at Texas in Jevan Snead.

The #1 team in the country does not lose at home to anybody.  If you can't win in the swamp against Ole Miss, you would not fare well against most of the Big 12. 

Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: July 1, 2009 3:32 pm

Picking the Big 12

First off, I wasn't saying that Oklahoma has beaches, that would be Florida and USC. The Big City portion was directed towards Oklahoma and Texas. I know because I drive through both when I go back home to Nebraska. Also, have you looked at the progress and how well they did in the Pros.? Our Defensive players have made a MUCH greater impact into the Pros then any of the ones that went for Offense. I am fully aware of our lack of defense when we play you guys in the last couple of years. What do you expect when you have a Professional Coach come trying to implement a West Coast offense at a school known for running? Then he doesn't know crap about defense that shows due to his performance when the Raiders made it into the Superbowl. Bo Pelini is a great coach and great at defense. I guarantee you that you will see that since your "great" quarterback is gone now. I don't really care what any offense has, defense is what wins games. The defense can shut you down, take the ball away, and can also score. I also know that during the 90's that Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado were embarrassed each time we played them, with few exciting games that caused a scare. About our O-Line Juicing, if you can prove it off of more than just pictures, I will agree. I will stand by my statement of Nebraska winning the north. You’re just sad because your Tigers had a chance at making it to the National Championship last year, and just like us. You were embarrassed. Nebraska is on its way back to the top, no doubt about that. We will win the North, and play Texas. If I was you, I would just hope that after this season you guys don't become what used to be the Jayhawks of the Big 12 and known to any Team as an automatic win for them when they face you.

Since: Nov 3, 2008
Posted on: July 1, 2009 3:09 pm

Picking the Big 12

I have a question for Dennis Dodd as well as Texas fans.  It seems that this whole idea of what happened last year tends to point to Texas' anger and wanting revenge against the Sooners, in your opinion(s).  Doesn't it make more sense that any revenge "ideal" points more toward the Sooners? I would think that Sam Bradford and company are extremely upset and angered by all the plane flybys in their own state. The plane flybys in Kansas City in the Big XII Championship game. The whining by Mack Brown and his staff.
Maybe it's just me but, I would say the anger is stronger on the Sooner sideline this season.  In fact, start up the plane right now. Oklahoma is going to destroy Texas this year. I watched every single offensive lineman that will be starting this year, play last year.  They are solid. I agree with prior statements on this thread. The Big XII south will be decided in Norman between OU and OSU.  By that time, both will already have beaten Texas.

Since: Dec 4, 2007
Posted on: July 1, 2009 1:51 pm

Picking the Big 12

Hey Cornfed I too love those nice beaches in Oklahoma that's why I made the recruiting trip. 

And face facts Osborne's er Brubaker's Oline was on the juice.  It's no secrect Rimmington and Stienkuhler were strong proponents of the juice.  No offensive players make the pros?  Vince Feragamo, Roger Craig, Mike Rozier, Irving Fryar, Tom Rathman, Andra Franklin, Junior Miller, Will Sheilds and a couple of brothers that played fullback; Sleschinger i think, too name a few.  Learn your history.  Your Defense looked great last year in the eyes of Chase Daniel.  Great improvement, 52-17 in 08 vs 41-6 in 07. 

As for you winning the North in '09?  Put down the crack pipe.  Your schedule is not conducive to many wins vs the North; at Mizzou, at ku and at colorado.  Best of luck.  You haven't won at any of those places in years.  Last 3 trips to Columbia we sent you Bugeaters home beaten and embarrassed.  Hell we were faking field goals on your asses late in the 4th quarter we were havin so much fun.  And what did ku do to you on your last visit to larrytown?  Your run has ended take it like a man and go watch the volleyball team!

Since: Jun 10, 2009
Posted on: July 1, 2009 12:48 pm

Picking the Big 12

I agree.  The division system does allow for the league to develop rivalries, it doesn't always produce the two best teams in the Big 12 Championship.  It seems to me that the south will always be stronger because they have better access to the blue chip recruits from Texas High Schools.  I would like to see a non-divisional conference with rotating schedules, while still keeping some of the main rivalry games on schedule every year. (i.e. OU v. Texas).  It should be an interesting year.  OSU will be tough, but this conference will sttill be between OU and Texas.  I can't wait!

Hook em'

Since: Apr 4, 2008
Posted on: July 1, 2009 12:34 pm

Picking the Big 12

As a Life long KU fan, this is hopefully our year to represent the North.  What I want to happen...
1. KU  (Todd Reesing, Kerry Meier, Dezmon Briscoe are experienced, and nationally under rated.hoping to sweep the north)
2. NU  (with only North lose to KU)
3. CU  (only because i think they are tough at home and I hate Mizzou)
4. MU  ( Because of statement above, I hate MU)
5. ISU (they can't be last every year in the north lately)
6. KSU (Snyder is a joke.  He was horrible his last 3 years at KSU before he left. By him coming back and already stating he is only here for 3 years, he has hurt his team even more.  Plus Ron Prince left him with nothing, all those JUCO players and nothing to build on)

1. UT (I like Texas out of all the south teams, plus OU has been horrible since they won the national title in the BCS games they have been in.  so i don't want them in it.)
2. OSU (Again OU has turned into the Ohio State of the Big 12, lets see if one of the other great south teams can win a BCS game if given the chance. So i hope OSU only loses to UT)
3. OU (I hope their 3 loses are UT, OSU, and KU)
4. BU  ( They are the new KU team of the south, they have been bad of years and maybe finally turning it around)
5. TTU ( their offense is always going to be good with the mad scientist as the head coach)
6. TAM ( some one has to finish last in the south, and the other 5 are just better this year then them)

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