What in the world is happening to the Big 12? It was just a few weeks ago that the national media was arguing over whether it would be Oklahoma or TCU as the Big 12’s representative in the College Football Playoff, but now, just three weeks into the season, everyone seems to have written off the Big 12 altogether.
It’s a reasonable thing to do at this point, though, so can we blame them?
I mean, records don’t lie. The Big 12 has only two undefeated teams left three weeks into the season. Baylor is 3-0 with wins over Northwestern State, SMU, and Rice. West Virginia is 2-0 with wins over Missouri and Youngstown State. Only one of those wins is really anything to write home about, and Missouri only has a win due to beating up on hapless Eastern Michigan.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma is 1-2 after getting drubbed by Houston and Ohio State by a combined score of 78-47. Texas knocked off Notre Dame to get everyone hyped up, but then lost to Cal 50-43. Notre Dame dropped a game at home to Michigan State, too, showing that maybe Texas’ win over the Golden Domers wasn’t much to write home about.
TCU lost to Arkansas, Texas Tech gave up 68 points in a loss to Arizona State, and Iowa State and Kansas are a combined 1-5 to open the season.
In all, here are the Big 12’s records against opposing conferences this season.
- Pac 12 : 0-3 (losses to Cal, Arizona State, and Stanford)
- Big Ten: 0-2 (losses to Iowa and Ohio State)
- SEC: 1-1 (win over Missouri, loss to Arkansas)
- ACC: 1-0 (win over Pitt)
- Notre Dame: 1-0
- FBS non-Power 5: 6-4 (wins over SMU, Louisiana-Monroe, UTEP, Rice, Florida Atlantic, and Louisiana Tech. Losses to Memphis, Central Michigan, Ohio, and Houston)
- FCS: 6-1 (lone loss to Northern Iowa)
For those counting, that’s a 3-6 record against other P5+Notre Dame schools. Bad.
But, the Big 12 shouldn’t lose hope just yet. After all, in 2014, The Big Ten was off to an equally precarious start to their season.
In 2014, the Big Ten was 1-10 against Power 5+Notre Dame schools through the first three weeks of the season. Their only win was a week 1 victory by Rutgers over Washington State.
Ohio State lost at home to Virginia Tech (by 14 points!!), Iowa lost to Iowa State, and teams like Northern Iowa, Central Michigan, and Bowling Green all walked away from Big Ten matchups with wins.
If you don’t remember, the Big Ten finished with ten bowl-eligible teams that season, and Ohio State knocked off Alabama and Oregon to win the National Championship.
We just don’t know how the rest of the season is going to play out, but two things are clear.
First, TCU is very much still in contention for a Big 12 title. There’s no reason for me to believe the Frogs can’t win the Big 12 in 2016. No one else has asserted themselves as a dominant force.
Second, the Big 12 could very well rebound and right the ship. All it takes are one or two teams to start rolling in conference play for heads to start turning back towards the Big 12.