Midway Through Season, Big 12 Has Proven Its Toughness

Gregory SalyerCorrespondent IOctober 13, 2008

Say hello to the premier conference in college football—and it's not the SEC.

Like I've said in the past, the SEC is overhyped.  I'm not saying it's overrated, because it is a great football conference.  But the fans and participants of the SEC carry with them an arrogant, holier-than-thou superiority complex that clouds the judgment that they have about the rest of the college football world.

I'm not going to lie: The SEC coaches whine too much and usually whine their way into the national championship. Many of the backwoods SEC fans are ignorant to the game of football and usually only cheer, not for the love of the game and their school, but for territorial pride.

Every year, the SEC claims top to bottom conference dominance while failing to even recognize the talent of any other teams across the nation.

Then when Florida ends up losing to Michigan or Georgia loses to West Virginia come bowl season, it's the same old thing year after year: They're so beat up from playing in the SEC that it's hard for them at the end of the season.

Please, just stop contradicting yourselves because the SEC's fourth or fifth-best team is not better than the Big East's or ACC's top team, or the Big 12's or the Big Ten's second or third-best team.  That is not a valid theory, nor has it ever been one.

Vandy, Kentucky, and South Carolina could not just march into any other conference and automatically win the title like they claim they can.

"SEC speed" is also a theory that is played out.  See how well "SEC speed" holds up when a big cornbread-fed defenseman from the heartland of America is readily waiting to meet the ball at the line of scrimmage.

Big 12 toughness is the new supreme characteristic that is fueling college football.  Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma State, and a handful of other schools aren't going to argue about what the toughest conference in college football is.  They'd just as soon walk the walk instead of talk the talk and prove it on the gridiron.

Again, the SEC is a great conference, but the whole "can't win bowl games because we get banged up during our regular season" excuse is starting to get very old.  Ask Ben Roethlisberger how banged up he would get during MAC conference games.

Think it's easy to go into Reser Stadium at Oregon State and pull out a victory?  Think again.  Just ask USC or any other Pac-10 team how easy it is.

Don't think a team gets banged up after they play West Virginia?  Then you're wrong.  Regardless of the arguments of SEC fans, no conference game is easy for any team in college football, especially on the road.

Last year, the Big 12 was a conference on the rise again, and this year the Big 12 has proved that from top to bottom, it is a force to be reckoned with.

At about the halfway point in the season, there are six Big 12 teams ranked in the top 15 of the coaches' poll, all with solid victories over both conference and non-conference foes.  Out of all of them, Texas Tech looks the least proven but still upholding the fact that they are a very good team.

Chase Daniel, Sam Bradford, and Colt McCoy are every bit as good as, if not better than, Tim Tebow, John Parker Wilson, and Matt Stafford.  And don't think for a second that the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party holds supremacy over the Red River Rivalry.

Also, the Big 12 region is traditionally home to some of the best developmental football in the nation.  These kids are handed a football when they are first sat down in their playpen, and they eat football-shaped birthday cakes every year as children.

They are bought up students of Math, Science, English, Social Studies, and Texas or Oklahoma or Kansas State or A&M football.  They play the game until the sun goes down after they finish their homework and eat dinner.

Week after week, the Big 12 is going to beat up on each other this year, and a one-loss winner of the conference deserves to go to the National Championship more so than any other one-loss team in the country.

Alabama had better go undefeated to make it to the big game because they have proved that they should be a top two team in the country, if not the best, because this year the Big 12 has proved that it's going to be hard to make it out of that conference without a loss.

Quite frankly, if it came down to a one-loss Texas or Oklahoma against a one-loss Florida or Alabama, it would be a crime to go with the SEC team given the toughness of the Big 12 this year.

While it can't be argued that the SEC is a great conference, it seems clear that the Big 12 is making its case as the capital of college football.