Season after season we are told of the greatness of the almighty SEC. We are informed by every single magazine publication available that the SEC is the best conference in all of college football and we just need to accept it. We are told that the SEC teams should be playing cupcakes out of conference because their in-conference schedule is so hard. Why is it so hard? Because they each play each other, of course! Preseason poll collusion (see our previous articles) assures that more SEC teams than any other conference will occupy the Top 10 and the Top 25. Therefore, it is a foregone conclusion that the SEC is the best even before any of their teams take a single football snap. Forget the fact that several of their overrated Top 25 teams will not finish ranked, and some may not even break .500. We just must accept that top to bottom they are all great because the media told us so. And if we disagree, we are “butthurt.”
The point is driven into our head even further when bowl season rolls around. Last season the SEC was 7-3 in their bowls, better than any other conference’s bowl record. That is all an SEC chanting minion will tell you. What they WON’T tell you is that nearly every single bowl setup with the exception of the national title game involved an SEC team playing DOWN to its competition, playing teams that were ranked much lower or not even ranked at all. (See our previous articles.) However, we will put aside that grievance since it isn’t the SEC’s fault that the Bowl Committees create lopsided matchups based on an outdated formula. But lets look a little closer at that 2013 Bowl record for the SEC. 2 of the conferences 7 wins came courtesy of Big 12 transplants Missouri and Texas A&M, two teams in their second year of play in the SEC (thus led by players who were recruited and developed during Big 12 seasons, which we will delve deeper into later in this article). So excluding Big 12 transplant assistance, the SEC bowl record drops to 5-3. Who were the bowl wins against? Wisconsin, Iowa, Georgia Tech, Houston and Rice. With the exception of Wisconsin (ranked 19th prior to the game), none of those other schools came close to being ranked and most barely staggered into the bowls above .500. Applauding the SEC for those latter four victories is not only ridiculous, it’s sad. This is a conference that is supposed to be the granddaddy of all conferences, yet they are rarely ever being matched up with the big boys on the block of the other power conferences. Outside of picking on little guys in bowl games and resting on the laurels of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Big 12 transplants, the SEC is little more than a paper tiger magnified by 3-D glasses by the homer mainstream media.
The big question we often get from our critics is “if not the SEC, then who?” That is a legitimate question. While our site criticizes the overblown praise and unwarranted lauding of the overrated SEC conference, one thing that we haven’t actually ever proven was that there was a conference that was statistically better. Not because there is not a better conference. But mainly because the matchups have not provided us with a fair way to see how well the top competition in each conference might stack up against each other. However, 2013 gave us a glimpse of one conference that may be significantly underrated and possibly even better than the SEC. The Big 12 conference.
After witnessing the past two years following Missouri and Texas A&M’s addition from the Big 12 to the SEC, it would appear that the Big 12 was a lot better than anyone gave credit prior to 2012. Mizzou and TAMU were barely a blip on the screen for that conference for the past decade, and neither represented a legitimate threat to winning their conference during that span of time. At best, these were consistently middle of the road Big 12 contenders. Suddenly, Missouri and Texas A&M became dominant forces in their first two years of SEC play, entering the conference with players that were recruited and developed during their time in the Big 12. This is not success that the SEC as a conference should have been taking credit for in 2013, but their moronic fans did anyway. Of note, Missouri won the SEC East in only their second year of SEC play, and TAMU nearly won the SEC West in their FIRST year of SEC play (knocking off the eventual national champs Alabama)! And both have represented very well in the bowls. It could be said that Missouri and Texas A&M propped up the SEC paper tiger in their first two years. As we enter year 3 in the SEC though, as more of their current rosters are now filling with players recruited and developed in SEC seasons, the Big 12 influence is all but washed off this duo and they now become far more “SEC” than they previously were. But the Big 12 booster shot that was administered to the SEC in 2012-2013, and its favorable impact on the conference’s overall ongoing perception of greatness, cannot be ignored.
Despite the loss of Mizzou and TAMU, the Big 12 has remained strong. It can be said that the teams they since acquired in 2012 have not contributed well to their positioning as a power conference, but it was no fault of their own. If anything, it showed how strong the Big 12 truly was. West Virginia entered the Big 12 following several years as a Big East powerhouse with nearly a decade of consecutive 9+ win seasons. As soon as they entered the Big 12 though, they hit a brick wall, dropping to 7 wins in 2012 and 4 in 2013. TCU, meanwhile, had been a perennial Top 15 team for most of the previous decade, in fact going 23-0 in their final three years in the Mountain West Conference. Following two undefeated seasons in 2009 and 2010, they finished 2011 with an 11-2 record prior to entering the Big 12. They too met the brick wall, winning only 6 games in 2012 and 4 in 2013. As West Virginia and TCU acclimate to Big 12 recruiting, their teams will most likely improve in the coming decade. However, unlike the overrated SEC, the Big 12 has shown that it isn’t easy just to waltz into their conference and instantly be successful.
The SEC chanting nitwits are already fuming at this article. They are probably trying to dig up 2013 regular season head-to-head matchups to prove how much better the SEC was than the Big 12 last year. Well, lets help the nitwits out so they can understand the folly of their poorly educated logic. Lets start with the game they love to remind us about. The game where Ole Miss defeated Texas early on. We can make excuses why Texas lost, but if we do that, we are no better than the SEC loser fanbase. So we will move on to the one fact that SEC fans want to forget. Based on head to head matchups in 2013, the following can be derived:
Ole Miss >> Texas >> Oklahoma >> Alabama >> Ole Miss
Not one of those games were even close, with each team beating the other by double digits. So as you can see, all the above really infers is that SEC teams would be competitive but in no way dominant in the Big 12. In other words, if the Big 12 and the SEC combined into a new super-conference, it could probably be guaranteed that no team would escape undefeated and there is a good chance nobody would have less than 2 losses.
The only other two regular season games between the conferences were split, as LSU edged a TCU club that finished the season 4-8 in a nail biter game that was even closer than the score let on, and when Oklahoma State smashed eventual SEC bowl team Mississippi State 21-3. The bowl obliteration of Alabama by Oklahoma aside, I think its fair to say that head to head matchup arguments will be a losing battle for any SEC fan trying to prove their conference is better than the Big 12.
Parity (and a dash of inconsistency) rules the day in the Big 12. The excuse often used by the top-heavy SEC about the conference teams beating each other up all season is probably even more true in the Big 12 than it is in the SEC. It likely explains why the conference routinely gets shut out of the national title game, reinforced by the fact that the SEC-obsessed media hacks give the Big 12 little to no respect in the polls to allow them the same chance given to the SEC to climb the ladder. This is seen time and again, both in the preseason and during the regular season. Top teams get no respect for winning conference games because Big 12 games are not perceived as “challenging” by a media who is jerking off to ESPN’s SEC Network. And it hurt the conference most recently in 2011, when Oklahoma State, arguably playing like the strongest team in the nation that year, was shut out of the national title game in favor of an all-SEC rematch that was manipulatively orchestrated by SEC-fanatic media goons. Oklahoma State soundly defeated 4 teams ranked in the Top 20 that season, but was left at #3 because the media had a hard-on for the SEC. The Cowboys put on quite a show in the Fiesta Bowl knocking off 4th ranked Stanford in a thrilling OT game, as Alabama plodded along to a dull ugly 21-0 win over LSU for a national title that they didn’t deserve to be playing for. If AP voters had balls, they would have given their national trophy to Oklahoma State. But since the media had their hands down the proverbial pants of the SEC, there was no chance of that happening.
Perhaps the only reason we don’t hear more folks on Twitter and other social media venues arguing in favor of the Big 12 being a better conference than the SEC is because fans of Big 12 schools aren’t moronic enough to rank conference supremacy over the welfare of their own team. When is the last time you heard a Texas fan cheering for Oklahoma? When Auburn played FSU for the national championship, the internet was abuzz with support by Alabama fans, and several crimson wearing Bama fans could be spotted in the stands cheering on their in-state rival like a bunch of corn-fed buffoons. But when Oklahoma played Alabama, every Texas fan I know was hoping that Bama was going to punch Oklahoma in the mouth so hard that Stoops would be forced into an embarrassing retirement. That’s because what Oklahoma and Texas have, like many teams within the Big 12, is an actual rivalry. What Auburn and Alabama have rather, like many teams within the SEC, is more of a sibling rivalry. Only in their version, you passionately make out with the sibling after the game is over.
Is the Big 12 the best conference in the land? Who knows. But why not? Why should the SEC always get the credit for being #1 simply by proving they can beat other overrated teams in their own conference? We can’t dismiss the possibility just because the media told us who is best based on their subjective collusive emotion-based ranking system. The mainstream sports media are like fans at a Justin Bieber concert, screaming and swooning over their beloved SEC. You can’t get a truly objective analysis out of “fans.” ESPN and their newfound homer-licious “SEC Network” are about as credible as the Kardashians at this point. So for the Big 12 to prove they are the best, and prove that the national championship losses they endured in 2008 and 2009 to the SEC were flukes, they are going to have to do it against all odds. While the new four team playoff system is far from perfect and is heavily susceptible to shady collusion of its own, it may still offer the best opportunity yet for the Big 12, and all the other major conferences for that matter, to get their shot at showing the world that the SEC does not rule the roost just because they can out-recruit the rest of the nation in future-criminal athletes. Perhaps this season the Big 12 will get their chance to prove their worth. There will be numerous opportunities. West Virginia against Alabama (OK, I think we can all agree that matchup is a joke), Arkansas against Texas Tech, and Auburn against Kansas State are the only regular season matchups. Few questions will be answered since these are mid to lower tier Big 12 teams in these games, but if the Big 12 really wants to make a real “top to bottom” statement, this is a good place to start.
And who knows. Maybe this season we will see that Oklahoma-Alabama rematch in January. And this time, maybe there will be a whole lot more on the line other than Bob Stoops feeding crow to the legions of arrogant, loud-mouthed SEC minions.