We learned some things these past ten days as the collegiate football bowl season made us scream for the orderliness of basketball — Don’t believe the “experts”!
Now we know that the much-ballyhooed Southeastern Conference IS NOT the best football conference in the land.
Ditto for you Big 12 fans.
Big 10? Even though your champion will be playing in the so-called national championship game you don’t want to get too cocky either. After all, Ohio State only got there by beating Alabama, a representative from the mediocre SEC.
The once-feared SEC struggled to a 7-5 bowl record and most of those wins were delivered by the lesser-ranked teams of their conference. Alabama, Mississippi, Mississippi State and Auburn, top-10 teams this season, all went down in flames.
The Big 12 might just as well stayed home and played basketball as they ended 2-5. TCU’s 42-3 blowout of Ole Miss was the only thing to brag about. Oklahoma State’s win in the Cactus Bowl said more about the Cowboys and next year than it did about this football season. Keep your eyes on Stillwater. This is a very young football team that returns all of the key playmakers.
The Big 10 struggled as well, going 4-6. Only Ohio State getting to the championship game gives the fans of this conference much to talk about.
The Atlantic Coast Conference, mostly known for its’ basketball, did as well as most, batting around .500 in bowl games. Clemson’s thrashing of Oklahoma and Georgia Tech’s thumping of once top-ranked Mississippi State gave the ACC a lot to crow about.
Oklahoma’s big loss has the Sooner Nation grumbling. They know it is next to heresy to ask for coach Bob Stoop’s head BUT they want SOME kind of changes made. 8-5 and a blowout bowl loss is too much to take, especially when one of those 5 losses came at the hands of Oklahoma State! When the Emperor has problems, you can bet that some of the servants’ heads are going to roll!
So, who does that leave us as the all-powerful, the best in the land, the overlooked powerhouse league? The Pac 12. Yes, that’s right. Those schools out west whose games a lot of times are not over before the rest of us go to bed. Those left-leaning coast people that inhabit the desert all the way to the rainy northwest. Hippies, yippies, surfers and the folks from LaLa land making those movies! We might not have noticed but they are playing some pretty good football too. For confirmation check with Florida State and Kansas State!
Unexpectedly the Pac 12 strung together a 6-2 slate in the bowl games. Arizona lost to those perennial upstarts, Boise State, and the young Oklahoma State Cowboys did a number on the Washington Huskies. Oregon will carry the Pac 12 banner into the national championship game but five other conference members dealt out the stings of defeat for other non-believers. If that’s not enough to make you a Pac 12 believer, call our former friends at Colorado. They will tell you how tough it is to win a football game in the Pac 12. Of course they had trouble winning conference games in the Big 12 too!
So, come next August when all of those “experts” start telling you how dominant the SEC is going to be in football, I say remember the words of Horace Greeley: “Go West young man, Go West”!
Charles Tabler is a contributing writer from Larned.