Big 12 standing together against the SEC?

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma

Those crazy Big 12 coaches are sure making the offseason fun for us college football fans. Last month, Bob Stoops ran his mouth about the SEC. We sufficiently debunked his comments, but now it is apparent that something bigger is going on.

ESPN’s Travis Haney has been tweeting about some sort of pact between Big 12 coaches to stand in solidarity against the evil SEC.

Let’s say that the coaches are indeed standing together against the SEC. The question is why?

There may be personal reasons that are individual to each coach, but more than likely, this is all about positioning. Never before has conference perception been so important. Until we have a 64-team college football playoff (please no), then the current era of college football means conference perception is often used as a tie-breaker when determining who gets into the BCS or college football playoff. Right now, the SEC dominates in this regard.

Think of the opposite. Consensus view is that if Urban Meyer and Ohio State lose a single game, they’re out of the BCS this year. The Big Ten is that bad.

Now, come back to the SEC. We know if Alabama or Texas A&M or someone else drops a game and wins the conference, then they’re most likely going to get into the dance.

This is no different than what I explained Nick Saban was doing when voicing his support for a 9-game SEC schedule. It’s all about attempting to move the conversation to benefit your team and conference.

What’s fascinating in today’s era of college football is how important conference strength and perception is. College football used to be all about individual rivalries (e.g. Auburn vs Alabama and Michigan vs Ohio State) and bowl games. Both rivalries and bowl games are less important today than in the past.

Today, it’s all about conference strength and scheduling quality non-conference matchups (increasingly played at neutral sites). Much of the news today has to do with both of these items. Coaches are jockeying for position both for their team and their conference. Athletic departments are lining up big non-conference matchups for the future.

Ultimately, this is all about the playoff. As I said in my previous column, nobody outside the SEC even cares about the 2013 season. Schools and conferences have already begun lobbying the selection committee in a subtle and indirect way.

Think about it. It’s a four team playoff and we have five major conferences. Somebody is getting left out in the cold. If the SEC maintains its stranglehold of the top 5 rankings each year, two conferences might be getting left out in the cold.

The process has already begun to attempt to move the needle and attempt to prevent the SEC from securing two of the four spots in the playoff.

For the Big 12, the process has already begun to make sure the Big 12 beats out the ACC and Pac-12 for one of the spots. In one sense, kudos to the Big 12 for getting on with it. In another sense, you’ve got to do better than argue that your crappy teams are better than the SEC’s crappy teams.



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  • Big 12ish unity is the temporary result of desperation. The conference is dysfunctional, which is why Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri, and Texas A&M left. However, it is better than the conference formerly known as the Big East, which is why TCU and WVU joined. It’s probably not quite on a par with the ACC, which is why FSU and Clemson flirted with the Big 12ish, but went ahead and signed the ACC financial suicide pact.

    Other than Texas, any school in the Big 12ish would jump at an invitation to join the SEC, B1G, or PAC, unity be damned. This once great conference is now scrambling for relevance.

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