Tuesday, July 29, 2014

College Football: A diminished Big Twen beats it's chest.

"One True Champion"

That's the motto being bandied around as the Big Twelve Eleven Ten Twen tries it's level best to regain some legitimacy in the world of big-time college football.

Big Twelve defends round-robin system for deciding Champion. Tim Griffin, SA Express-News via HoustonChronicle.com ($)

(Reporting from another Hearst publication behind the pay-wall, that's unique.)

Because they don't have twelve teams, and therefore cannot break out into divisions and hold a money-making championship game, the noticeably weakened Big Twelve is trying desperately to promote something that doesn't always exist.

Looking back on the history of Big XII football you always see a "true" champion emerging when a Conference Championship Game is played.  However after the championship game was discontinued, due to the defection of four teams and the addition of only two which brought the count to 10, one out of three seasons (2012) brought us co-champions.  The article goes on to suggest that, in recent years, the Big XII would have been shut-out of the College Football Playoff more often than it was included.

Depending on which side you fall, the pre-season favorites for the Big Twen title is either Baylor or Oklahoma.  Given that both of these teams have huge questions coming into the season it's highly doubtful that they will be undefeated and even more likely that they could be excluded from the playoff as a conference.

Looking at the Teams in the Conference I'd rate them as follows:

1(a) - Oklahoma
1(b) - Baylor
3 - Oklahoma State
4 - Texas Tech
5 - Kansas State
6 - Texas
7 - West Virginia
8 - TCU
9 - Iowa State
10 - Kansas

I think Oklahoma has the best overall team on paper, but there are serious questions regarding which Trevor Knight shows up game-in, game-out to play.  Baylor has better QB play, but they have holes on both sides of the ball.  Oklahoma State doesn't play defense, Texas Tech is limited by the athletes they recruit, Kansas State has Bill Snyder, Texas (admittedly) is somewhat of an unknown but I still think they are suffering from a talent deficit in the wake of Mack Brown, West Virginia cannot play defense, TCU is fading fast, Iowa State has passionate fans and little else, and Kansas is just wondering when in the hell basketball season is going to start.

I don't see any of these teams going undefeated, and I don't see the strength of schedule (given that the bottom half of the league is going to be very weak) being enough to lift a one-loss team into a championship game.  Further more, if I had to guess, this year I think we're going to see co-champions again.

Overall the Big XII is fading.  As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see the conference dissolved in the next five-to-ten years.  One true champion or not, this is a conference that's diminishing rather than gaining in strength. I just don't see a path back to prominence.

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