One season ago, the Big 12 was left at the College Football Playoff altar like a girl who was dumped on “The Bachelor” or (more appropriately) “Flavor of Love.”
Instead of dealing with the fact that the Big 12 set up Baylor and TCU to fail with its hilarious “One True Champion” Ponzi scheme, the conference did something even more hilarious: they gave us a new label for its highly entertaining November slate of games. It’s being titled, “November to Remember.”
I just have one question – when did the Big 12 become a middle school dance?
If you’ve been under a rock, “November to Remember” consists of a Big 12 “Battle Royal” that involves Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State all playing each other at some point in the month of November. While that’s fine and dandy, it has become clear that this conference is more interested in schedule manipulation than it is in producing one true champion.
Games involving the top four contenders in the Big 12 that occurred in October of last year have now been pushed to November, creating schedule imbalances for some of the other teams in the conference. Many teams had to go through what would be considered a “death march” early on in their schedules, therefore eliminating them from any type of contention for a Big 12 title and possibly much more.
From Sept. 26 through Oct. 31, Texas Tech faced off against all four leading contenders and went 0-4. West Virginia faced all four contenders in a row in October, and guess what their record was? 0-4. Iowa State is in the middle of their five-game death march, as they sandwich Texas in the middle after facing both Baylor and TCU during the past few weeks and now will face both Oklahoma schools in the next two weeks.
And now you have K-State, who has reached the end of its rough midseason stretch by facing all four contenders with Baylor.
Is this a coincidence that all four contenders are a collective 31-1 as of this writing and all are still in contention to reach the College Football Playoff? No, this is exactly what the Big 12 wanted. Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are the proverbial Big 12 tank while West Virginia, K-State and others are merely the grease used to tread the Big 12 tires.
After Oklahoma State was wrongfully screwed out of the BCS title game back in 2011, it has been an uphill climb for this conference to gain respect once again. After its latest failed attempt to bring the conference a national champion for the first time since the 2005-06 season, it’s apparent that the conference is going all in this season with its four jewels at the expense of the rest of the conference.
Instead of a more balanced schedule that would see the conference contenders face each other over the entire length of the season, the Big 12 is pushing all of its chips in hoping that this is the year that they can say, “We’re in.”
Maybe this works; maybe the conference figured out that backloading your schedule works better instead of a conference championship game since the Big 12 does not have one. In this fatal four-way, however, things could get very messy very quickly.
Oklahoma State gets TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma all at home in the last half of the season. Baylor gets to face Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU in November. TCU ends its season with the competing trio and Oklahoma has the same fate.
Can someone emerge from the rubble and reach the college football playoff? It’s possible; however, the Big 12 has an active grenade in its hand that can blow up at any moment, leaving only mangled bears, horned frogs, covered wagons, cowboys and no national championship in its wake.
Andrew Hammond is a sophomore in mass communications.