Following Oklahoma State's thrilling 41-38 overtime win in the Fiesta Bowl over Stanford last night, the Big 12 now owns an impressive 6-1 record in its bowl games this season, the best mark among the top seven conferences.
The only Big 12 team to lose its bowl game is Iowa State, the team which is also largely responsible for the Big 12 not having a team in the BCS Championship Game. I was deeply disappointed that voters passed over the Pokes for an SEC rematch, in large part because by just about every reasonable measure the Big 12 was the strongest conference in college football this year.
Entering bowl season, the Big 12 had seven teams in the Top 25 of the SRS: #2 Oklahoma State, #6 Oklahoma, #11 Texas A&M, #14 Baylor, #19 Missouri, #21 Texas, and #22 Kansas State. A Wildcats win over Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night would make the Big 12's 2011 bowl season one of the more dominant performances by a conference in recent years.
If the Big 12 does indeed finish the bowl season 7-1, perhaps voters will take note and, should Alabama win the rematch, cast their votes for Oklahoma State and a split national title. More likely, they'll wave SEC pom-poms and split it for LSU -- what could be better than one SEC national champion: two! -- so it really is a shame that Oklahoma State fell flat in Ames.
Not that Texas fans are in the market for moral victories, but at least as far as putting this season in context and looking ahead as the program rebuilds, the Longhorns were an average quarterback and some better luck with injuries away from 9 wins in what was probably the strongest ever field of Big 12 teams. With some key attrition to the NFL I don't expect the conference to be nearly as strong in 2012, and a return to 10 wins for Texas is looking promising.
Congrats to all our Big 12 comrades on a truly impressive 2011 season. And go K-State!
Who says the Big 12 can't do solidarity?