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: Jan 4, 2009
Posted on: July 21, 2009 8:41 pm

Picking the Big 12

Too bad all you can talk about is the "SEC" and not your Bulldogs...

Since: Jan 4, 2009
Posted on: July 21, 2009 8:39 pm

Picking the Big 12

Ya...You're right...because NFL teams draft average qb's with decent arms in the first five picks...which is likely to happen with Bradford next year...GENIUS!!!

Since: Mar 7, 2007
Posted on: July 12, 2009 9:17 pm

Picking the Big 12

"How quick do you forget that in 2007 season the two best teams didn't play for the championship and those two best teams were from the North!  Missouri had one conference loss and was 7-1 and Kansas had one conference loss and was 7-1.  Missouri ended up playing OU who had 2 conference losses..."

I agree completely and I didn't forget.
Texas had beaten both teams in this year's Big12 Championship game, but weren't in it.  It felt weird and wrong.  Granted the rules were followed and I'm OK with that. It still felt odd.

Since: Mar 7, 2007
Posted on: July 12, 2009 8:48 pm

Picking the Big 12

Jaez68 states:
"... NONE of the teams Texas plays even made a bowl last year, and thats with a record number of bowl games"

This is a completely stupid statement, considering just the Big12 teams that went to bowl games, OU, Texas Tech,  OSU, Kansas and Missouri.
The non-conference opponents that went to bowl games were FAU and Rice.
That's 6 opponents in bowl games.
... and we won our bowl game against Ohio State.
... and ex-UT Jevan Snead of Ole Miss avenged our lost to Texas Tech by winning the Cotton Bowl.  Sweet.

Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: July 9, 2009 9:48 am

Picking the Big 12

Tell me what conference that has a conference championship game puts the best two teams in it?  Every conference that has a championship is divided into two divisions.  The winner of each division plays because not every team is going to play during the regular season. 

How quick do you forget that in 2007 season the two best teams didn't play for the championship and those two best teams were from the North!  Missouri had one conference loss and was 7-1 and Kansas had one conference loss and was 7-1.  Missouri ended up playing OU who had 2 conference losses.  Granted OU won but based on your stupid arguement they shouldn't of even been there. 

I just don't see why there would be two different divisions in a conference if you're not going to have the winners from those two divisions play. 

Since: Sep 8, 2007
Posted on: July 7, 2009 9:44 pm

Picking the Big 12

My dear Texas friend, I'll adjust the criteria to any era you'd like. PICK ONE. Any era. It appears your argument is championships don't apparently matter. At least you're not talking about the "enjoyment of the game." I can't believe a Texas fan wants to talk about NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS. Go ahead and pick your era. You lose in all facets. Every facet. All facets. 

If head-to-head matters, conference and national championships matter, too. Please pick an argument and stick with it.  I guess you're saying it doesn't matter that you lose to other teams, as long as you beat OU your season is over and a success. I am sure it bothers Texas they've only won the conference once out of 10 years and OU has won 6 times. Sure, the national championships are the same. Is it better to beat OU and STILL LOSE THE CONFERENCE or is it better to win the conference???? Answer the question.  

Even when Oklahoma loses to Texas, we still manage to win the conference most of the time. So who's really the bridesmaid? Certainly not Oklahoma. If there's a bridesmaid in this discussion, it's your team. If you guys want to boast about how you beat OU, you could at least win the conference more than 20% of the time than OU has. I know, I ask for a lot. More than Texas can deliver.

Austin's so pretty in early December. Right next to the banner "We beat OU this year" is Colt McCoy hanging out watching the Big 12 Championship on television. Colt McCoy couldn't find the Big 12 Championship game if it came right up and slapped him in the face.

Since: Nov 23, 2008
Posted on: July 7, 2009 9:10 pm

Picking the Big 12

Oh its 10 years now huh Skibum way to adjust your criteria forgot about that 1996 UT championship didnt you.  You probably didnt even follow the Sooners back then. Your probably just one of the many stoops jock sniffers who acts like they are fans and comes on here and spouts off wrong statistics to just stir the pot and start mess with UT fans.  I mean really if championships are all that matters then in the last 10 years we are on pretty even grounds 1 a piece NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS that is.  Wouldn't that be all that matters by your criteria.  I mean I guess since our head to head doesnt matter then your conference championships shouldnt matter either.  See that how I manipulated that facts to bring us back to even ground within the last 10 years you are claiming to be so dominant in.  Lets just settle it on the field and from year to year each school will have the bragging rights like a true rivalry should be.  Why do you guys have to be sore losers every time we beat you guys.  Face the facts this year oklahomo is our B****.  Better luck next year my friends.

Since: Nov 19, 2008
Posted on: July 7, 2009 8:10 pm

Picking the Big 12

Again, Dodd misses the major point when he discusses the 3 way tie, the reason OU played int he NCG was not because computers are st00pid or OU gets all the breaks, its is because all things considered, OU played a much tougher non-conference schedule than did Texas, and if you look this season, if the same thing happens, and there is a three way tie, more than likely OU would win again, why? Because their schedule is ranked one of the toughest, and as usual, Texas plays a bunch of weak sticks.

OU non Conf: BYU (neutral field), @ Miami FL, Tulsa, Idaho State

Texas non con: LA-Monroe, Wyoming, UTEP, and Central Florida

Three of the four teams OU plays were bowl teams last year with a record of 28-12, NONE of the teams Texas plays even made a bowl last year, and thats with a record number of bowl games

Mack made it clear after the loss to Ohio State that he would not be scheduling major non-conference matchups again, and he paid for it last year and will continue to do so, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Since: Sep 8, 2007
Posted on: July 7, 2009 7:31 pm

Picking the Big 12

And OU will win the conference, per the norm. You Texas people crack me up. When in doubt, talk about basketweaving and baseball to strengthen your weak points. Let me ask you Texas dopes a question: How many times have you won the Big 12 in football in the last 10 years? Let me answer it for you: ONCE. Ouch. That's pathetic for such a great program that other programs need to "catch up to." You people are the ones that need to catch up to the real team in the Big 12 South. The team that owns you in the category that really matters: CHAMPIONSHIPS. Something Texas knows very little about.  Go ahead and spout off about OU's failure to win it all..... it's still better than Texas did. You boys weren't even invited to the Big 12 Championship game. In other words, you were told, "NO, don't show up. You didn't even win the Big 12 South." Ouch.... that much really hurt. Year after year it's a broken record. Even when you beat OU you still find a way to lose it.... in other words, you are the ones that choke. You guys get told to stay home in early December every year. Austin is a nice place to visit in early December. You can always find Mack Brown there.

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: July 7, 2009 1:22 pm

Picking the Big 12

These comments are priceless lol!  All the homers are coming out.  Texas will beat OU handily as per the norm.  The team for us to worry about is okie state who always plays us well.  This year we will have to remember what happened in texas tech when we start that game to avoid the same fate as last year.  Defense in the SEC was exposed in the bowl games just as much as the offense from the big it would be great if you guys could look at both sides instead of just what suits you and your paper thin argument.  You had one team worth a crap in your entire conference and had Chokelohoma not self destructed 3 times inside the would have lost to the 2nd best team in the big 12.  I mean seriously what kind of elite qb throws an int to a defensive lineman?  I also love how "average" mccoy looked in the OSU game...completing 41 of 58 passes for 414 yards.  If you wanted to say that the o-line looked average that game, i would agree with you as they couldn't protect anything the whole game.  Final point...florida doesn't own the big 12, they own OU and lets face it....alot of teams can plant a flag on that statement.  Texas owns the entire SEC and if they meet florida in the championship you can guarantee its coming back to austin.

Oops forgot about that LSU fan talking about baseball....congratulations on finally catching up to where Texas already was.  Now if you can do that in about 20 other sports you'll be half the university that we are..minus the academics.  Hook'em!!

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