Expect a lot of Big 12-SEC sniping going forward because we're assured of a national championship game between the two best conferences. Here is a heck of a place to start ...
I understand who Gary Danielson works for and where his loyalties are but he dropped quite a bomb this week when the CBS analyst ripped the Big 12:
"This year there is a distortion about how good the Big 12 is," said CBS' color analyst on SEC games. "It's illogical that there are three teams in the Big 12 that are 1, 2 and 4 (actually 3, 4 and 8). To me it means a weakness in the rest of the league."
Three in the top 10 is a weakness? What kind of logic are we supposed to apply, then, to the SEC which has Nos. 1 and 2? The league must be really weak to have two teams ... in the top two.
"The (offensive) stats in the Big 12 are like pesos to me," Danielson continued, suggesting those numbers are devalued.
The criticism, obviously, is of the Big 12 defenses. That's a valid point but let's make these things clear. 1) These are major-college athletes, several of which will play in the NFL. We're not talking the WAC here. 2) This is the best the Big 12 has been in its 13-year existence. 3) We should all agree that the SEC and Big 12 are far and away the best leagues this season.
I've already make a case for the Big 12 being slightly ahead using the third-team tiebreaker. The third-best team in the Big 12 is 11-1 Texas Tech. The third-best team in the SEC might be 8-4 Ole Miss.
If Big 12 numbers are pesos, what's the exchange rate on all those Alabama sacks against inept SEC offenses?
My point all season has been that the excellence of the Big 12 and SEC should be embraced. Defense isn't necessarily better than offense. It's just the way the conferences have developed this season.
Me: Why are all those stats piled up in the Big 12 considered "pesos" and the fact they're playing 3-2 games in the SEC different? Why is one better than the other?
Danielson: "The SEC has better defensive players. It has better defensive linemen, more NFL linebackers. Go check out the draft the last 10-15 years and find out where the NFL players (are).
The NFL doesn't draft guys because they've got nice uniforms or come from a conference that's highly rated in the BCS. There are more NFL-ready bodies in this league than any other league in this frame of time. But right now there's a deficiency of quarterbacks in this league.
You might be a pretty good quarterback. You might be able to survive in another league. If you aren't really good in this league they'll chew you up."
More Danielson on the Big 12 tiebreaker controversy: "I know it can't happen, I'm just throwing it out there: They should just ask Missouri to step aside (to be replaced by Texas). This is a once in a lifetime thing ... I wish, the commissioner of the Big 12 would have said, for the good of the conference let's let them replay this thing in the Big 12 championship."
A glimpse into how CBS is going to promote Saturday's SEC title game: "This essentially is what amounts to a BCS semifinal," said Mike Aresco, CBS vice president, programming. "I racked my brain to see whether I could remember a previous situation like this. I can't remember when the winner would almost be assured a spot."
Good call. There have been seven 1 vs. 2 games (ranked in AP) since January 2005. This is the first 1-2 game in a conference championship contest. The last three consecutive 1 vs. 2 games have involved SEC teams. However, this is the first 1 vs. 2 game in AP poll history featuring two SEC teams.
Hmm, must signify a weakness in the rest of the league.
• Say goodbye to the Big 12 championship game in Kansas City this week.
One of the unintended consequences of Kansas' defeat of Missouri on Saturday was that it probably sealed Jerry Jones argument that the Big 12 championship game should be moved permanently to Dallas.
The footing was so bad for the annual Border War game at Arrowhead Stadium that the quality of play likely will be used as ammunition against Kansas City. The game was played in a combination of snow, sleet and rain. It looked like the field had never been covered prior to the precipitation.
Missouri plays at Arrowhead for the second consecutive week Saturday, this time against Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game. Looking at game tape this week, OU coach Bob Stoops called the conditions "horrible."
The Cowboys owner, building a state-of-the-art stadium in the Dallas suburbs, is on record as saying he wants to host the Big 12 game on a permanent basis. The Big 12 game will be played in the new indoor stadium in 2009 and 2010.
Moving the game permanently would be a shame. The tradition of the old Big Eight has been moved out of its Kansas City brick-by-brick over the years. First, the office was relocated to Dallas, then the Big 12 basketball tournament was taken away and shared around the region.
A fair trade-off would be Kansas City getting the basketball tournament in a permanent basis and Dallas getting football. We all know that what Jerry wants, Jerry gets.• Here's what is wrong with the conference championship games: Missouri.
It is perhaps the most undeserving team in a league title game this weekend. The darlings of 2007 have limped to the finish line in 2008, eventually ended tied with Nebraska for the Big 12 North.
The Tigers played like a team that had clinched a division title Saturday in losing to rival Kansas 40-37. One of the best games in the oldest rivalry west of the Mississippi also pointed up how far the Tigers had fallen emotionally.
They mailed in an effort early on falling behind Kansas 26-10. By the time they woke up, the Jayhawks had confidence and a porous Missouri defense of which to take advantage.
The shame is that if Missouri somehow rallies and beats No. 4 Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, a BCS bowl would be a false reward.
The Tigers, 9-3, have no signature wins, have beaten one, long-ago ranked team (Illinois) and are coming off perhaps their worst effort of the season . Kansas coach Mark Mangino stated afterward he had 10 players who couldn't walk at the beginning of the week. The Jayhawks willed themselves onto the field.
The Tigers mailed it in. But, they are in the Big 12 game and if by some miracle they are able to defeat the Sooners, they will be playing in the Fiesta Bowl.
Danielson might be right on that one. Missouri should step aside. Texas is waiting.