The Big 12 has established itself as the direct challenger to the SEC as the best football conference in the land.
It’ll take some time to catch up in BCS era titles (soon-to-be playoff era), as the SEC has won a ridiculous six championships in a row now.
Only two BCS title games have not featured a team from either the Big 12 or the SEC, a testament to both conference’s strength.
Also a testament to these powerful conferences are the preseason rankings for the 2012 season. The Big 12 placed six of 10 teams in the Top 25, while the SEC placed seven of 14 teams.
Last year’s Cinderella team, Baylor, also received votes for the Top 25, while the SEC had five additional teams receive votes, including: Auburn, Missouri, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
Breaking down the strength of schedule for schools from both conferences, you’ll find that about nine teams from each conference have schedules ranked in the Top 25.
Over the summer, the Big 12 and SEC conducted talks about a potential marquee Big 12 vs SEC bowl game. Beginning in 2014, the inaugural year of the playoff system, the two conference champions (if not in the 4-team playoff), will play in the “Champions Bowl” at a location to be determined. “Jerry’s World” in Dallas and the Super Dome in New Orleans are the leading candidates to host the bowl game at this point. The game was formed to rival the Rose Bowl between the Big Ten and Pac 12 conference champions.
Both leagues have become notorious for teams within conference knocking each other around, and this year looks to be no different.
Last season, unranked Big 12 teams derailed the conference’s title hopes. Texas Tech, who didn’t even make it to a bowl, knocked off #3 Oklahoma in Norman, and Iowa State stunned then #2 Oklahoma State in Ames, IA.
The theme for the SEC last year was “rematch,” as Alabama and LSU went head to head for national supremacy two times. LSU knocked Alabama off in Tuscaloosa, then went on to win the SEC Championship, before being knocked off by the Crimson Tide in the BCS title game.
Both leagues are poised for the same type of success this year. The one team that has made the most preseason hype, outside of the Big 12 and SEC, is the Trojans from Southern Cal. USC is coming off NCAA sanctions and is hungry for a return to the national spotlight.
Buckle up SEC and Big 12 fans, it’s sure to be another wild ride.
2012 Big 12 Story Lines
- No. 10 Bob Bowlsby, New Commish in Town
- No. 9 Red Raiders and Cyclones, Where do we go?
- No. 8 New Skipper Who Looks Like He Ate the Old One