Poking fun at the Big 12 is not too difficult these days, but in case you were searching for even more fodder, the conference has stumbled out of the bowl season starting gate with a resounding 0-3 thud. On Monday, the program’s two flagship programs (Oklahoma and Texas) were bludgeoned by a combined score of 71-13 in their respective games.
Ahhh it seems like only yesterday that Texas Athletic Director Deloss Dodds uttered the now infamous phrase “Our bad years are not that bad. Take a school like Missouri. Our bad years are better than their good years. But we’ve created a standard.” Since the day Dodds made that statement Missouri is a combined 22-4 in football games. Texas, meanwhile has continued to wallow in obscurity, going 14-11 over the same time frame.
In 2014, the Big 12 unveiled a new logo and the simple yet confusing slogan of: One True Champion. Hilarity ensued as the conference found itself in a pinch as the College Football Playoff committee decided to leave both Baylor and TCU out of the playoffs, in large part because….They could not decide on a champion! Despite defeating TCU head-to-head, commissioner Bob Bowlsby decided that a co-championship was the way to go and did not crown Baylor as the definitive Big 12 Champion. Rumors began to swirl immediately that Baylor was unhappy with its current situation and may look to move elseware.
“If you’re going to slogan around and say One True Champion, and all of a sudden you’re going to go out the back door instead of the front?” Coach Art Briles said after his team beat K-State on December 6th. “Don’t say one thing and do another. That’s my whole deal. If they had said from the get-go we’ve got co-champs, head to head doesn’t matter, I’m OK with it. I’m not obligated to him. I’m obligated to Baylor University and our football team. We just happen to be part of the Big 12 and we happen to be the champion two years in a row, so they need to be obligated to us because we’re helping the Big 12’s image in the nation.”
“Competitively, we think that having everybody play everybody is the right way to determine a champion, even if you do sometimes have a tie.” Big 12 Commisioner Bob Bowlsby said in rebuttal.
The only power-five league without a conference championship game (and refuses to crown a true champion) gets left out of the College Football Playoff. Surely, it’s time to expand right?
“At the present time we have no strategy. We haven’t had any discussions around expansion,”Bowsly said. “We don’t have any list. We don’t have any initiative. I would say that the status quo is by far the most attractive status to most of our members.”
Yes status quo really seems to be getting the job done Mr. Bowlsby! After all, that’s exactly what each conference around the nation is doing at the present time (sarcasm meter high). Meanwhile, the SEC, who already had 12 nationally respected institutions, had the foresight to add additional schools, which created more revenue for the league and helped launch the ESPN-based “SEC Network.”
There is a clear case of SEC-envy that exists within the paper-thin walls of the once-proud Big 12. Bob Stoops, whose Oklahoma Sooners were all but a shoe-in for the College Football Playoff before the season, just saw his team get manhandled by Clemson in the Russell Athletics Bowl. “Big Game” Bob has never understood the SEC hype:
“They said ‘the SEC this, the SEC that. I said, You talk like all 14 teams are this, that and the other thing. I said, ‘You have to give credit to the first one or two that have won the national championship, but don’t act like they’re all doing that.
That is what this conference is reduced to in today’s college football landscape. There is clearly no leadership or direction present in the Big 12 at this time. Standing idly by and attempting to take pot-shots at other leagues as the parade shuffles by waving. Missing out on expansion opportunities (Louisville) and refusing to get behind Baylor as the “One True Champion” in 2014 only furthers the growing reputation that the conference is a rudderless ship, destined to quietly fade into obscurity.