The Big 12 is known for its powerful offenses, bad defense, iconic moments and one head coach who look like Ryan Gosling. What they aren’t known for is sending a team to the College Football Playoffs.
Outside of the Oklahoma Sooners, who are the only team in the conference to make the playoff and needed Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Baker Mayfield to get there, the Big 12 hasn’t come close to winning a national championship in years. Why is that? There are many factors that contribute to this, so let’s examine them.
1. No Conference Expansion
Unlike the other Power 5 conferences, the Big 12 refuses to expand their conference. Not expanding their conference from 10 to at least 12 teams has hurt them a lot because they aren’t getting the exposure that the other conferences get, and they refuse to break the conference into two divisions. The Big 12 Championship game doesn’t offer two teams that didn’t face each other in the regular season — the game is a rematch of teams that already played each other. Adding two teams like a UCF or a South Florida would also add larger TV markets. Can you imagine the excitement for a game like OU and UCF in the Big 12 Championship game?
2. Defenses are Terrible
Let’s be honest, Big 12 teams play horrible defense. It doesn’t help the Big 12 that their highest ranked team, Oklahoma, got into a shoot out with their unranked rival Oklahoma State before pulling it out. Meanwhile, teams like Alabama and Clemson are both ranked in the top 10 in total defense. Not a good look if you trying to declare your conference one of the best. The highest ranked defensive team in that conference is TCU and they were ranked 34th in the country giving up 350.3 yards per game. If the Big 12 wants to be taken seriously by the CFP committee, they need to play better defense.
3. Big Name Contenders Have Bad Losses
There are several elite programs in this conference like the Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Longhorns and West Virginia Mountaineers. Problem is, they keep falling prey to unranked teams, which derails their chances of making the College Football Playoffs. WVU had the best chance late in the season, and all they had to do was win out and get some help to make the playoffs. Instead, they lose to an average Oklahoma State Cowboys team, which knocks them out of playoff contention even if they win the conference’s title game. If the Big 12 wants any chance of making the playoffs, they have to stop losing to lesser opponents.
Ask Ohio State about that.