The Big 12 kinda had a coming out party last year. You had Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, and OSU all make waves in the NCAA last year with their potent offenses. I couldn't tell you how many passing records must have been shattered last year by Big 12 teams. These teams seemed unbeatable.
Right off the bat you have five teams in the preseason top 25. Obviously polls vary but for the most part you have Texas, Oklahoma, in the top five. Texas Tech slipping in the the top ten and Oklahoma State and Missouri cracking the top 25. That's about as many teams from one conference as you will find in college football.
The Big 12 has the most potent offenses in college football today. Or do they? The only realistic knock on this conference is its defense. Now your opinion on this might differ depending on where you are from, or who you like.
Some could say that the offenses are so good they make the defense look bad. Or the other side of the coin is the defense is so bad in this conference, that it is easy to be very productive.
I have decided to take it upon myself to dig through the numbers to shed some light on the subject.
First, let's talk about the offensive side of the ball. It's all about passing in this conference. In regards to passing offense five out of the top eight teams in the country are from the Big 12.
#1 Texas Tech, 5,371 yards
#2 Oklahoma, 4,891 Yards
#4 Missouri, 4,625 yards
#7 Texas, 4,008 yards
#8 Kansas, 3,973 yards
#15 Nebraska, 3,653 yards
#19 Kansas State. 3,235 yards
Now that's impressive. Think about it. That's 29,760 passing yards. That's almost 17 miles! If that dont impress you, try 89,268 feet of offense. And that's only seven of 12 teams.
#3 Oklahoma 547 yards a game
#4 Texas Tech 531 yards a game
#6 Oklahoma St 487 yards a game
#8 Missouri 484 yards a game
#9 Texas 475 yards a game
Again, all very impressive.
Now let's look at the other side of the line of scrimmage. The defense.
PASSING DEFENSE RANKINGS
RANK Yards TDs allowed
#72 Missouri 4031 Yards 29 TDs allowed
#89 Nebraska 3034 Yards 19 TDs allowed
#94 Texas Tech 3149 Yards 19 TDs allowed
#95 Texas A&M 2912 Yards 18 TDs allowed
#99 Oklahoma 3521 Yards 22 TDs allowed
#103 Baylor 3063 Yards 22 TDs allowed
#104 Texas 3372 Yards 19 TDs allowed
#106 Kansas St 3137 Yards 26 TDs allowed
#109 Oklahoma St 3480 Yards 28 TDs allowed
#114 Kansas 3557 Yards 27 TDs allowed
#116 Iowa St 3320 Yards 31 TDs allowed
#117 Missouri 4013 Yards 29 TDs allowed
Now that's eye popping to me. The Big 12 gave up 254 passing touchdowns. They also gave up 42,532 passing yards last season.
So does this answer any questions? To me it does some what. I think that when you look at the numbers you would think that the defense is weak and its only natural that the offenses would look so good. But if you're a die hard Longhorn or Sooner you could argue that it's simply because the offense is on another planet compared to the rest of the country and it's only natural the defense look so bad.
So how do we figure this out? Well let's look at some out of conference play stats.
Oklahoma State VS Oregon
OSU lost but threw for more than 100 yards better than its season average. So they passed even better on this out of conference team. Oklahoma State defense allowed only 258 yards and two passinng touchdowns. In summary Oklahoma State lost but the stats were better against an OOC team.
Missouri VS Northwestern
Missouri won in OT. Missouri passed for 311 yards which is 20 yards below its season average. They passed for only two TD. But allowed 376 passing yards and three tds. In summary they played worse against this OOC team.
Kansas VS Minnesota
Now Kansas dominated this game. They threw almost 140 yards better than their season average. They also passed for four touch downs. However, once again, the defense gave up big numbers at 331 passing yards. In summary, Kansas' offense did well against an OOC team, but gave up a lot of passing yards.
Nebraska VS Clemson
Nebraska won the game but struggled passing against this OOC team. They only passed for 236 yards, which is about 40 yards under its average. Its defense allowed only 206 yards. In summary, not much difference against the OOC team
Ole Miss Vs Texas Tech
This game was a classic. Texas Tech did it's thing against an SEC defense. Granted, it was one of the lower ranked SEC defenses. TT passed for 364 yards and four touchdowns. However, it gave up almost 300 yards and three passing TDs. In summary, Texas Tech was able to move the ball against the OOC team. However, the defense once again could not stop the other team. The heavily favored No. seven Raiders fell to the number 25th ranked Rebels.
Ohio State VS Texas
Texas lit the sky with 468 yards of passing which was 150 yards more than their average. Some how they only threw for two touchdowns. In summary, it's the same old same old with Ohio state.
Oklahoma VS UF
Now this is the cream of the crop for both conferences. Oklahoma, who averaged 350 passing yards, was limited to only 256 yards against the quick UF defense. Now Oklahoma, who had not scored less than 45 points all year and was also riding a 5 game streak where they scored 60 points or more when they arrived in Miami only managed 14 points against UF. In summary, the team who was suppose to be the best offensive machine in the history was punched in the mouth by the University of Florida. UF made Sam Bradford look very average. After the game I was convinced the Sooners would not have near those numbers if they played in the SEC.
Now, that's alot to digest, I know. I'll leave you to form your own opinions on the subject of whether or not the Big 12 is really that good.
My opinion is clear. The Big 12 is a close second to the SEC in terms of the premier conference in college football. It's also a good example of why they say defense wins championships. Yes, the Big12 is soft on defense and it's the reason why the stats are so mind blowing.