Texas Football: 3 Reasons Mack Was Right When He Said Big 12 Is Deeper Than SEC
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Texas head coach Mack Brown turned some heads at Big 12 Media Days when he said that his conference was more balanced than the SEC. He was right, but does it really matter?
College football fans may groan when they hear a non-SEC coach try to one-up the nation's top conference, but Brown has a point.
The top of the SEC is the real star of the show, seemingly setting the difficulty to "Rookie" when it trounces the bottom half of the conference.
On the other hand, the Big 12 consistently showcases upward mobility and the ability of the Davids to knock off the Goliaths. This was especially evident last season, when seemingly every game had a suspense factor.
For those reasons, Brown has introduced and won the balance argument heading into 2013. But that doesn't exactly give the Big 12 the last seven national championships.
Half of the SEC Was a Doormat in 2012
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Presently, there is no argument that the Big 12 is more balanced than the SEC. Half of the SEC was an absolute doormat last season.
Coach Brown got this discussion going when he threw out a handy little stat that the top-seven SEC teams were 30-0 against the bottom-seven from the conference. Actually, it was 32-0 according to AL.com's Kevin Scarbinsky, but that is only the tip of the iceberg.
Last season, two teams finished winless in the SEC for the second time since 2002, something that has never happened in the Big 12. Those two teams, Auburn and Kentucky, each scored less than 90 points in eight SEC games. Kansas, the Big 12's lone winless team, lost to Texas and Oklahoma State by a combined 10 points.
The Big 12 also had more upsets last season than the SEC. Kansas State was ranked No. 1 when it was blown out by unranked Baylor, who finished 4-5 in the conference, and Iowa State beat No. 15 TCU. Those kinds of upsets simply do not happen in the SEC.
From top to bottom, the Big 12 was just a more competitive league and that will remain the case in 2013 despite the conference being somewhat weakened.
The Bottom of the Big 12 Is Much More Mobile
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Another great characteristic of the Big 12 is that the bottom of the conference is surprisingly mobile. This is not something you see in the SEC.
Kansas may have gone winless in 2012, but the Jayhawks were a 7-1 offensive juggernaut in 2007.
Baylor, one of the most dangerous offensive systems in the country the past three seasons, went 0-8 that same year.
The list goes on, as almost every Big 12 program has had its day just since 2007.
The same cannot be said about the SEC. In that same time frame, six teams have played for the SEC championship, with four of them making more than one trip.
During that time, teams like Mississippi State, Kentucky and Ole Miss have barely even sniffed the top of the conference.
When the season starts, the bottom of the Big 12 has a better shot of making noise than does the bottom of the SEC. That is the definition of balance.
A Higher Percentage of Big 12 Teams Have Been to a BCS Bowl
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The Big 12 may be small, but a higher percentage of its programs have tasted BCS success than have those of the SEC. And it is not even close.
Astoundingly, seven of the Big 12's 10 teams have been to a BCS bowl, with Baylor and Texas Tech surprisingly left out of the bunch. Of the SEC's 14 teams, only eight have been to a BCS bowl, with most of the outliers never even coming close.
What this means is that these Big 12 programs, including new additions TCU and West Virginia, expect and know how to handle success. That will go a long way in keeping the conference competitive, while the bottom of the SEC dreads the impending superconference model.
What Does It Mean?
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So the Big 12 is more balanced and, from top to bottom, more competitive than the SEC. It does not change the fact that the latter is king right now.
Mack Brown certainly had a point when he said the Big 12 is more balanced.
There is really not a single game where any current Big 12 team can afford to drag their feet. Case and point being Brown's near loss to Kansas, which almost got him fired last season.
But bring in Brown's 2005 Longhorns, the last non-SEC team to win a national title, and that team would steamroll everyone in the current Big 12 by 25.
Bring in last year's Alabama or Georgia or, sigh, Texas A&M team and the bottom of the conference would not be competitive. At all.
The point is that the SEC may be top-heavy, but it is top-heavy with the best teams in the country. Those teams are not just bowling over the less fortunate ones from their own conference, they are doing it to the rest of the nation as well.
Until that changes, or until a Big 12 team can start manhandling some SEC teams, Brown's "balance" argument is just a distraction from the truth.
Balance is simply irrelevant when the competition has produced the last seven national champions.