I will be the first to admit it: I as a wrestling fan (just like many others) am a bit closed minded. Outside of the major Big-10 duals and what is covered on BTN, I do not watch as much competition as I should. We all do it and we all know it. Whether it’s because it’s hard to find a broadcast for another conference or just a general lack of coverage, the wrestling world tends to turn a blind eye to any non Big 10 teams until march. It’s crazy the amount of good wrestling that is out there to be consumed and gets ignored. The Big-12 falls victim to this all the time and features some of the best wrestling of the year. Here are just a few of the reasons why you should start following Big-12 wrestling.
*None of this is supposed to be attacks on the Big-10. I love Big 10 wrestling and I love good wrestling; I am just using it as an example to show where the Big 12 excels.
It has some of the most exciting wrestling
Yeah, there is something to be said for old-school style, collar tie, and brawl for six minutes. There is also something to be said for driving five below the speed limit on a Harley with an open road ahead. All jokes aside, if you want to watch fun wrestling, watch Oklahoma State. Boasting the unique, slick style developed by their iconic coach, John Smith, the Cowboys tend to bring the funk up and down the lineup. Just from a pure enjoyment factor, Kaid Brock may be one of the most exciting wrestlers to watch in the country. Although he may be out for a while that does not mean that the Cowboys are any less dynamic. Mind you this is just one of the many programs in the Big 12. Flowrestling did a full documentary on UNI. On top of that it seems like Oklahoma pumps out absolute shooters- there was Cody Brewer (no relation as evident if you have ever watched me wrestle) and the current spark plug Dom Demas. Moral of the story: when you watch Big 12 wrestling get ready for action.
Big 12 breeds dark horses
Bryce Meredith, Zeke Moisy, Drew Foster, UNI as team- all in the past five years have outplaced their seed in dramatic fashion in March. I think one of the most fun runs in the history of wrestling was watching Zeke Moisy from West Virginia claw his way to the finals. 2016 Bryce Meredith run- instant classic. Drew Foster’s title winning tournament; the definition of grit. These examples are just off the top of my head; Big 12’rs outplace their seeds all the time at the end of the year and they do it in impressive fashion.
What happens when Penn State has a dual against Northwestern? It’s a blowout. What about when Ohio State wrestles Nebraska? Blowout. Ohio State and Penn State? Everyone ducks. Honestly most of the matches in the dual are won by bonus points dominated by a single team. I once went to a Maryland vs. Iowa dual and fell asleep during the 157 match (maybe that says something more about my attention span than it does the quality of wrestling, but I digress…) In the Big 12, up and down the conference many of the duals end up being close(r) battles. Yeah it may not be in a buzzing Carver-Hawkeye arena, but I would rather watch Dom Demas put someone on their head in the middle of a close dual than watch Spencer Lee single leg someone to death in a blowout, but maybe that’s just my ADD acting up again.
Look I can try and throw you guys a variety of stats and examples that show the depth and variety of Big 12 wrestling or I can just hope you take my word that the Big 12 is an absolute electric factory of wrestling. I chose the latter, but each one of you should really give it a shot. And with the big UNI- OK State dual coming up there is no better time to see what Big 12 wrestling is all about (preview coming soon).
For the dedicated few of you who made it to the end, I figured I might give you a little background on who I am. My name is Ryan Brewer and I am a former average high school wrestler who still has a love and passion for the sport. I follow it religiously and Heartland College Sports has given me an opportunity to blog about it, so stick around for a lot more wrestling content and if you’re a Big 12 sports fan give Heartland a good look around, I think you’ll love it.
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