It was only four days ago that the Iowa State Cyclones beat the Oklahoma Sooners in Ames. For Iowa State fans, being 2-0 in conference with TCU and OU already behind them is a comforting thought.
Yet after the win, I popped on Twitter to fulfill my shallow need of back slapping and emoji high-fives with other fans and fell instantly into the rabbit hole of the national haters.
I wouldn’t say Iowa State haters, after all we are still viewed by many around college football as the lovable losers. The Cliff in every Cheers episode.
But rather it was the disdain many prominent national talking heads have for the Big 12 in general.
Some were calling the Big 12 Conference’s fate like a coroner calls the time of death at a mugging gone wrong. After all, OU must be horribly bad or broken to be 0-2 in conference play, right?
Many OU fans may agree with this. You aren’t used to challenges in the regular season.
Oh sure, an upstart team may catch you on a bad week. But the narrative is always the same, isn’t it?
OU was just looking ahead.
Oklahoma was just too comfortable and needed a wake up call.
Because the national narrative about the Big 12 has always been that it is Oklahoma, and sometimes Texas, then the rest of the teams.
Twitter was alive with it on Saturday night and Sunday morning, wasn’t it?
Rarely was the narrative given about how Iowa State may be better than believed.
It’s never just about how Kansas State played a better game.
No. It’s always about how OU failed to show up, or that Lincoln Riley is losing his team or whatever nonsense you read time and time again.
Yet looking back year after year, this narrative was always used as ammunition on the national scene AGAINST the Sooners come the College Football Playoff.
They play in a “sub-par” conference with only Texas to challenge them.
If OU and Lincoln Riley put up too many points, then it’s because they play in a conference that doesn’t play defense.
If like Saturday, a defense holds them to only 30 points, then OU’s offense must be broken.
My point could go round and round in circles of logic that mimic a toilet being flushed.
So now the Big 12 is becoming more competitive and the view from the outside world is Oklahoma is broken or that the league is in shambles because it’s outcome is different teams at the top.
Think on this. In any other conference when an Alabama or an LSU or an Ohio State loses a game, the narrative isn’t that those teams are broken.
But rather, they talk about the conference’s quality depth and how it’s so hard to play in those conferences with those schedules week after week.
Are the Sooners broken? Maybe, but the other possibility may be that the Big 12 has really good coaches and teams.
Maybe teams like Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Iowa State have begun to step up their talent and game?
Either way, Lincoln Riley and his Sooners cannot escape the trap before them – win or lose the national perception holds.
And OU football fans would be wise to not fall into this trap.
Lincoln Riley is one of the most brilliant offensive minded coaches in all of college football today. Spencer Rattler is awesome and will be holding a Heisman trophy in the next few years.
But don’t give into the national media’s narrative that something is broken in the Big 12. Because guess what? It’s wrong.