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The Big 12 is now the best conference in college football

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Get used to it, SEC fans. OK, I actually think the Big 12 deserves a meaningful discussion with the SEC, but since every SEC blogger and bulletin board posse have set Google Alerts for all discussions regarding best conference, I figured I’d poke them in the eye so their dander would be up by the time they made it over to Barking Carnival to defend their flag. I do expect that by the end of the year, the Big 12 does win the horse race for the 2008 season.

For purposes of this discussion, I am only talking about 2008 performance.

Tale of the Tape

The SEC and the Big 12 both boast five 3-0 teams and three 2-0 teams.

Advantage: Push

The Big 12 sports a 28-4 non-conference record (87.5%) while the SEC sports a 23-3 (88%) non-conference record. Each conference really only has one bad non-conference loss: Mississippi State to Louisiana Tech and Texas A&M to Arkansas State.

Advantage: Push


For reference, and to mock the other BCS conferences, and to let them wonder if they really deserve their automatic BCS bowl tie-in, here are their non-conference records:

Big 10 25-6 (very respectable, but still just 1-3 in their Top 25 games)
ACC 17-8
Big East 10-9
Pac 10 14-14

The Big 12 has four of the top 11 in the AP Poll, and five in the top 19. The SEC has five of the top 10 in the AP Poll. My personal poll has the SEC with four of the top 9 and the Big 12 with four of the top 8.

Advantage: Slight SEC

The SEC has four and the Big 12 has five non-conference wins over other BCS conference foes (in my order of impressiveness for the conference):

Big 12 – Missouri over Illinois, 52-42 neutral site
SEC – Alabama over Clemson, 34-10 neutral site
Big 12 – Baylor over Washington State, 45-17
Big 12 – Oklahoma over Washington, 55-14 on road
Big 12 – Oklahoma over Cincinnati, 52-26
SEC – Florida over Miami, 26-3
SEC - South Carolina over North Carolina State, 34-0
Big 12 – Oklahoma State over Washington State, 39-13 on road
SEC – Kentucky over Louisville, 27-2

Advantage: Big 12

Both conferences have bottom 3 programs (Baylor, Ole Miss) with losses to Wake Forest. Tennessee’s loss to UCLA looks worse today than it did on Labor Day after UCLA turned around and got decked by BYU 59-0. Plus, Tennessee is supposed to be middle of the pack in the SEC.

Advantage: Push

Top 20 Total Defenses:
Florida #3 – 190 ypg
Kansas State #6 – 198 ypg
Auburn #10 – 214 ypg
LSU #12 – 219 ypg
Alabama #13 – 221 ypg
Oklahoma #17 – 233 ypg
Mississippi State #20 – 244 ypg

Advantage: SEC

Top 20 Scoring Defenses:
Auburn #3 – 5.0 ppg
Kentucky #5 – 6.3 ppg
Florida #6 – 6.5 ppg
Alabama #9 – 7.7 ppg
Kansas State #T10 – 8.0 ppg
LSU #T10 – 8.0 ppg
Texas #17 – 11.5 ppg
Mississippi State #18 – 11.7 ppg

Advantage: SEC

Top 20 Total Offenses:
Missouri #1 – 597 ypg
Texas Tech #2 – 584 ypg
Oklahoma #5 – 557 ypg
Oklahoma State #6 – 546 ypg
Kansas State #18 – 476 ypg
Highest rated SEC team is Tennessee at #23

Advantage: Big 12

Top 20 Scoring Offenses:
Missouri #1 – 58 ppg
Kansas State #3 – 57 ppg
Oklahoma #5 – 55 ppg
Oklahoma State #6 – 51 ppg
Texas #10 – 47 ppg
Texas Tech #15 – 42 ppg
Highest rated SEC teams are Florida and LSU at #21

Advantage: Big 12

Overall Advantage: PUSH

This week’s game should prove a lot with several Big 12 teams facing over BCS conference schools. The SEC ramps up its conference slate but does have two teams facing BCS conference opponents in Georgia @ Arizona State and Mississippi State @ Georgia Tech.

Tonight
Kansas State at Louisville (ESPN2) 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18
#22 West Virginia at Colorado (ESPN) 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19
Baylor at Connecticut (ESPN2) 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20
Buffalo at #5 Missouri 1:00 p.m.
Miami (Fla.) at Texas A&M (ABC) 2:30 p.m.
Rice at #7 Texas (FSN) 6:00 p.m.
Sam Houston State at #19 Kansas (FCS) 6:00 p.m.
Massachusetts at #10 Texas Tech 6:00 p.m.
Iowa State at UNLV (MTN) 8:00 p.m.