In the lead-up to the national championship game, a lot of talk has centered on the SEC's supposed dominance over the Big 12 in the BCS and on Alabama's supposed advantage over the Texas Longhorns.
However, one important factor has been given precious little attention: Texas' historical dominance of the Southeastern Conference.
In fact, since 1893, when the Longhorns began playing football, Texas holds a 95-45-4 record against current SEC members—a remarkable .674 winning percentage. Of the 12 SEC programs, only Vanderbilt and South Carolina are over .500 against the Horns all-time.
Vanderbilt, one of Texas' biggest rivals around the turn of the century, has an 8-3-1 record against the Horns, but hasn't played them since 1928, four years before the SEC was even established. South Carolina won the two squads' only meeting back in 1954—when the Cocks were in the ACC. Mississippi State has pulled off a 2-2 record against the Horns.
If we throw out pre-1932 games, including only games while schools were SEC members (including Tulane pre-1966 and Georgia Tech pre-1964), the Horns are an even better 34-15-2 (.686). Only Mississippi State and Auburn have winning records against the Longhorns while in the SEC (South Carolina and Vanderbilt have not played the Horns as SEC members).
The SEC did little to help its issues with Texas when it added Arkansas in 1992. The Hogs have a 21-56 (.273) winning percentage against the Horns all-time. However, to the Hogs' credit, they are 3-2 against the Horns in the last five meetings, including the final game as SWC members and an absolute demolition of Texas in the 2000 Cotton Bowl.
In bowl games, the problem remains the same. Texas has an 11-6-1 (.639) record against current SEC members in bowl games. Including Texas' first bowl appearance, in the 1943 Cotton Bowl against then-SEC member Georgia Tech, it's an even better 12-6-1 (.658).
Even more depressing is Alabama's history against the Horns. The Tide have played Texas on eight occasions, and have escaped with only a tie in the 1960 Bluebonnet Bowl, though I'm sure Joe Namath would want to differ.
Bama fell to Texas in the 1948 Sugar Bowl, the 1965 Orange Bowl, and the 1973 and 1982 Cotton Bowls, the final three by a combined margin of 10 points. While the Tide have always played Texas close, they've never been able to find a way to overcome the Horns.
Texas fans may face periodic disappointment against the SEC—the 1984 Cotton Bowl immediately comes to mind—but by-and-large the Longhorns have dominated the Southeastern Conference, winning over two-thirds of their games against SEC opposition historically.
Although Texas has only played two games against SEC schools other than historical rival Arkansas in the BCS era, and none since the 2002 season, Texas' historical dominance of the SEC still bodes well for the Horns in Pasadena.
Perhaps rather than asking what the Big 12 is going to do about its SEC problem this bowl season, a better question to ask is "what's the SEC going to do about its Texas problem?"