With all the mayhem from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) West division in this year’s college football season, the impressive season from the Big XII has been wildly overlooked.
The Big XII has 10 teams combining for eight out-of-conference losses.
The teams handing them the losses: Auburn, Alabama, Florida State, Brigham Young, UCLA, Arkansas, Duke and North Dakota St. Five of those eight teams are ranked in the top 25 with three of them being in the top five of the College Football Playoff Rankings.
Half of the Big XII can compete with any team in the nation.
Kansas State’s only blemish is a six point loss to third-ranked Auburn. But in that game, Kansas State’s kicker forgot how to make a field goal, missing all three field goal attempts.
TCU’s lone blemish is a catastrophic collapse against Big XII foe Baylor. The Horned Frogs held a 21 point lead with 11 minutes remaining but lost on a field goal as time expired.
Outside of those terrible 11 minutes, TCU has a legitimate claim as the best team in the nation. They have defeated Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State—who took a Jameis-less Florida State to overtime—and West Virginia in Morgantown. Also, they possess an offense who scored 82 points against Texas Tech.
Baylor is the other one-loss Big XII team. The Bears’ only loss was defeat at West Virginia against a good Mountaineer team with one of the best home-field advantages in the nation.
This brings us to the 6-3 Mountaineers. The team may not be from the same time zones as the other Big XII schools, but West Virginia has lost two conference games and one out-of-conference game. Its two conference losses are a 12-point defeat to Oklahoma and a one-point heartbreak against TCU. Its out of conference loss came to 10 point defeat No. 5 Alabama at a “neutral site” in the middle of SEC territory at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, essentially an Alabama home game.
The strength of the Big XII really comes to light when you look at its fifth placed team, Oklahoma. Oklahoma went undefeated in their three out-of-conference games but has two conference losses for a combined five points. First, team lost at TCU by four before losing by one to Kansas State.
Like Kansas State’s lone loss, Oklahoma can place partial blame for a defeat on the shoulders of its usually good kicker Michael Hunnicut. In its one point loss to Kansas State, Hunnicut missed field goals of 19 yards, 32 yards and an extra point. Otherwise, we might be looking at the top-rated team in the nation Sooners.
The Big XII has a big day this Saturday, with TCU hosting Kansas State and Oklahoma hosting Baylor.
The Big XII is only just short of the quality of the SEC West, and it is deserving of at least one team in the inaugural college football playoff.