What almost was for the Big 12 Conference.
The committee’s first set of CFP rankings was released on Tuesday evening, and it was very favorable to the Big 12 overall, as the league has three teams ranked in the Top 17, and four included overall. The committee is watching the improved defensive play we have discussed recently and has come away impressed with the quality play. However, as we all know the top teams in this conference have disastrous losses that prevent them from taking a stranglehold on the college football world.
Iowa State’s loss to Louisiana, Oklahoma’s loss to Kansas State, Texas’ loss to TCU, and West Virginia’s loss to Texas Tech are upsets that have really hurt the league. Imagine last week’s Bedlam match up being a top 10 affair, and following that up with another top 10 match-up the day after Thanksgiving between the ‘Clones and the ‘Horns? Iowa State’s shoddy return game effort against Louisiana, Keontay Ingram’s fumble knocking on the door step of the TCU goal line, and Oklahoma’s perplexing 17-minute meltdown against Kansas State, and it’s hard to even contemplate how West Virginia lost to the Red Raiders in 2020.
These four upsets have really changed the dynamic of the season and as a result, the Big 12 is now hoping for an outside chance at the College Football Playoff instead of busting its door down on their own terms with an exclamation mark.
So, I suppose the question is, what else is new? The Big 12 has been one step forward one step back for the last few season, doing well in the 2018 bowl season and 2019 nonconference schedule, but then flopping in the 2019 bowl season. This has happened pretty much since conference realignment, they have been on the precipice to gain respect but never crossed the finish line, so the league as a collective must take advantage of the opportunity now.
That opportunity is to play quality football the rest of the way, then perform at a high level during the 2020 bowl season to set up momentum for the 2021 season. With frozen eligibility you could see many of these teams come back in many ways intact ready to make run.
While the perception of the Big 12 is currently on an upward trajectory, the league office itself has done very few favors for the conference. The Big 12 must get a network, they must expand at some point, which includes getting on the phone with Nebraska. The Big 12 also needs to look out for itself in a more efficient manner. Example: the league should have never allowed non-conference match ups this year, as there was nothing to gain and everything to lose. The Big 12 obviously lost, with three losses to Sun Belt teams in mid-September. The Big 12 must also focus on bettering their situation by winning in the non-conference, bowl season and ultimately, Oklahoma, Texas or whoever it may be has to secure the league’s first National Championship since 2005. There is plenty of work to be done, but things are trending up for the Big 12. It is no longer on the brink of dissolving.
**Want to win a $25 gift card? Go sign up here and join our conversation! The best poster each week wins a gift card to your favorite establishment!**