We are just a little over ten days away from Big 12 football kicking off. While we sit and wait for the season to start, everyone, and I mean everyone, has an opinion on the upcoming season.
Typically, I try and stay away from all the noise. I couldn’t care less about what someone from the national media thinks about the Big 12. The same people who were digging the Big 12’s grave two years ago are the same people giving an opinion on the conference now.
Sometimes though, I have no choice but to see people’s opinions on the conference that we all love. Thanks to social media, I can pretty much see every hot take known to man. As I sit and scroll through Twitter (Or is it X now?) I see it all, and within seconds, thanks to the algorithms.
However, this is one of those times where I wish I hadn’t seen the take I’m writing about today. In a recent interview with 365 Sports, ESPN’s Taylor McHargue said, “I think top to bottom the Big 12, aside from [Texas], I do think is weak this year.”
“It might be a down year for the Big 12,” McHargue says. “But also, we will know the measuring stick of where [Texas] is when they go to Tuscaloosa in Week 2. If they go, and certainly if they win, but even if they lose close, and they were to run the rest of the Big 12, obviously that’s a deserving team to be in the final four.”
I’ll admit I put Texas on the top of my Big 12 preseason ballot too, but I think the Longhorns are anything but a lock to win the conference. Texas has a lot of great pieces back with Quinn Ewers at quarterback and the best wide receiver group in the Big 12. Plus, their offensive line should be better as well. However, the defense needs to improve for them to become a championship-caliber team.
It’s been well over ten years since the Longhorns won a Big 12 championship. Meanwhile, they have sat at home and watched Oklahoma, Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and TCU win conference titles.
This is the final year that Texas and Oklahoma will be in the Big 12 Conference, and they’ll get every team’s best shot because, for some schools, this will be the last shot.
To say that the rest of the Big 12 is weak outside of Texas is crazy to me, but it is not surprising coming from someone who works at ESPN. Maybe we should see how Texas feels in November, and ask them how weak the rest of the conference is then? Who knows, they may be in first place at that point, or, they could be in fifth. Neither result would shock me because, after all, we are talking about Texas here.
Does anyone remember what TCU did last season? The Horned Frogs came out of nowhere, finished the regular season 12-0, and made it all the way to the national championship game. They beat the Big Ten champion (Michigan) and played for a national title. And, since I know some national media members have already forgotten, that TCU didn’t even win a Big 12 Championship.
When I sit back and think about Taylor’s comments, I see having a weak year, and it isn’t the Big 12. It’s ESPN. I am sick and tired of hearing people from the Athletic and ESPN talking down on the Big 12. That’s why, when an opportunity presents itself this season, I’ll be calling out these “experts” on their distorted opinions of the Big 12.
So Taylor, pick a number and get in line. Be sure to say hello to your employer for me, and Stewart Mandel while you’re at it.