Big 12 Tournament Big 12 Eats 2023 Power Rankings
The 2023 Big 12 Basketball Tournament is in the books and a fantastic twist was put on by the conference this year. The conference announced “Big 12 Eats” with 10 unique food items, with each one somehow related to the individual team they are meant to represent.
Needless to say, those of us at Heartland College Sports could not let this moment pass without trying all 10 and then putting together a Power Rankings. Matthew Postins and I tried all 10 together, courtesy of the Big 12 Conference folks setting up a taste test for us.
You can watch each of our rankings here, via this Twitter thread. But I also wanted to throw together my own Power Rankings for your reading pleasure.
1. Jayhawks Mac and Cheese: 8.4 rating
Here’s the thing, it wasn’t just mac and cheese. It was pasta and creamy white cheese sauce, topped with house-smoked pulled pork, Levy signature BBQ sauce, and crispy fried onions. It was the perfect blend that hit the spot and melted in your mouth. It’s a classic meal for the team closest to Kansas City. A blue blood, some may say, just like Kansas. This took the top spot.
2. Pistol Pete’s OSU Fried Corn: 8.3
If you told me before the taste test I’d have the fried corn at No. 2, I would’ve said no way. In many ways, it’s like the Oklahoma State football roster. You see a bunch of mid-three star players, but then it seems like every year Mike Gundy has his team competing atop the Big 12 standings. But this was absolutely the shocker of the taste test for me. This was an elote-style bacon-fried corn topped with crushed Doritos that would make the perfect side at any BBQ you have this spring or summer. The bacon and Doritos combo, with the corn mixed in, made an incredible blend, unlike anything I’ve tried before.
3. Cyclones Tenderloin: 8.2
It appears basic, but it’s not. Kind of like Matt Campbell’s football program. The mixing and matching of flavors had this nearly take the top spot for me. It was a kaiser bun, breaded pork tenderloin, sliced onion, sweet and spicy pickles. The sliced onions with sweet and spicy pickles gave this a kick that was unexpected, but welcomed. Count me in as a fan.
4. Tech’s Masked Rider Burger: 7.9
I mean, it’s hard to screw up a burger, especially given these ingredients. It was an all-beef patty, cheddar, fried onion ring, sweet picked jalapenos and Red Raiders BBQ sauce. There’s not much that can go wrong there. All-American, just like the folks of West Texas. It might have been ranked higher, but that’s more a testament to those ranked above the Masked Rider Burger. Also, my expectations for this burger were high to begin with.
5. TCU Loaded Tots: 7.6
So, the tots could have been ranked higher, but they needed to be hot, and they weren’t when we tried. It’s no one’s fault, but I’m just making this note for the Power Rankings purposes. This was a gem of tater tots, spicy queso sauce, chopped house smoked brisket, pico de gallo, topped with Horned Frog purple sour cream. It started off somewhat bland in the mouth, but then came in hot with a late kick. Hand me a warm bowl of these and they’re gone faster than Max Duggan in the open field.
6. K-State’s Wabash Cannondog: 6.2
Eh, this wasn’t ideal. It was a bacon-wrapped jumbo hot dog topped with Wildcat purple relish. The purple relish was an odd taste and twist my palate was not digging. Also, do we really need to go with the hot dog wrapped in the bacon? I don’t know. The only heart attack I’m looking for in Manhattan, Kansas is when I watch Deuce Vaughn juke another half dozen defends on the field, not eating a hot dog wrapped in bacon.
T-6. Stormin’ From Norman Oklahoma Taco: 6.2
Much like this past Oklahoma football season, you would think, based on the description it’s a blue blood that will perform well, but it was anything but that. It was frybread topped with ground beef, shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, beans, onions and chili. The combo was too dry for my liking, and if I’m going to eat what is essentially a taco, then let me eat it with my hands in half the time of having to cut it up because it’s on a frybread. Too much work, without the payoff.
8. The Baylor Float: 5.9
It’s hard to put a float into this category and rank it compared to food. It was vanilla ice cream and Dr. Pepper. Don’t get me wrong, it was good. Can’t really screw it up. But I’m not a big float guy, lacked some creativity, and is hard to compare to the food.
9. Longhorn Quesadilla: 5.2
Much like Texas Football, you look at this food item and you say, how can it underperform THIS much?! It did, I’m sad to report. It was a triple cheese quesadilla, steak or chicken, with Burnt Orange salsa rojo sauce. It needed to be hosed in the sauce because it came off as too dry, and the balance of cheese to meat was too heavy on the cheese.
Editor’s Note: The West Virginia Mountaineer Roll was NOT available, since the WVU fans, despite only playing in two games, ate ALL The rolls in the building. Therefore, we could not rank them in the Power Rankings.
We hope the Big 12 keeps this as an annual tradition going forward and they mix up different foods each year for each team. This has incredible potential and we were thrilled to play a small part in it.
Also, for those interested in the video review, here’s a look!