If you were to listen to the college football pundits or read national media articles, you would come away with the impression that the Big 12 is falling further and further behind in the College Football arms race. The Big 12 has missed the new playoffs 2 of the 3 years it has been in existence. It is the only conference that has not at least played for a national title.
If you were to read the national media, or even your local media, you would believe that when the Big 12 contracted from twelve teams to eight, losing: Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and Texas A&M, they were on the brink of collapse. Then, the Big 12 expanded, bringing in West Virginia and TCU.
Despite remaining stable during the last few years, everyone continues to look at the Big 12 first when it comes to the “next round” of college football expansion. The strong prey on the weak, so they say and the Big 12 is viewed as weak.
If the latest Associated Press and USA Today polls are any indication, the national media will need to find a new story to write about because I’m here to tell you: The Big 12 isn’t dead and isn’t going away soon.
Oklahoma, the only Big 12 team to make the college football playoffs, is ranked inside the top 10 at 7th in the coaches and 8th in the AP. Oklahoma State is ranked 10th and 11th.
While the Big Ten has four teams ranked inside the top 11, no one else from the conference is ranked. Three of the ranked teams [Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan] all play in the same division, so only one is making the CFP. The winner of that division will have to play Wisconsin. There is your Big Ten Hot Take.
The Pac-12 is in a similar boat. While USC and Washington are top-ten teams, only Stanford and Washington State are also ranked. Washington, Washington State and Stanford are going to have to beat each other for the right to play USC.
Last year, despite starting the year 3-0, it took beating Kansas State for the Mountaineers to even garner a ranking. It took nearly 3 losses for the pollsters to finally come around on Ole Miss. If the Big 12 was really as close to death as some would have you think, you wouldn’t see teams like Kansas State and West Virginia starting the year ranked.
The Big 12 is in a great position this year with the Sooners and Cowboys starting the year in the top 10. Even better for the Big 12 is Texas, KSU and WVU garnering enough votes to land in the top 25. Should these teams start out well, they will rise in the polls and give the league enough high profile matches later on in the season.