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What The Big 12’s Opening Weekend Means For Oklahoma State



Welp. This weekend was not a great start for the Big 12.

The conference went 7-3 in Week 1, including 0-2 against the Power 5 competition. When the latest AP Poll comes out this week, the Big 12 will likely go from having five ranked teams to three.

Not only were there bad loses, but there was a lack of a “good” win for the league. OSU over Tulsa? OU over UTEP? Iowa State over Northern Iowa? I think Tulsa might be the “best” win of the lot.

It’s only the first week of the season but it was a bad one for the Big 12, which already has an image issue. Losing those nationally televised games doesn’t do a ton to help Oklahoma State or any other league champion in the perception department, especially games you were favored by 18.5 or 33 points in.

It all comes down to one thing: It doesn’t matter how well you do in your conference, if no one thinks your conference is worth a damn.

The league’s perception is not good. We should all know that by now. Don’t believe me? We’ve got Joey Galloway over at ESPN picking Baylor to win the league. We can lament the demise of ESPN and the fact that they have few real journalists or experts left, but their opinions still affect public opinion.

Look, I laughed at Texas giving up 51 points to Maryland too. I laughed at Baylor losing to Liberty. We all had our fun with that. I’m not going to start cheering for Baylor, but I’m not stupid enough to cheer for them to lose.

The Oklahoma States and Oklahomas of the world don’t need Baylor to win 10 games, but they also don’t need them losing to Liberty, an FCS team now coached by Turner Gill, who won one Big 12 game during his two years in charge of Kansas. They don’t need Texas to be “back,” but they don’t need them getting embarrassed at home by a mid-tier Big 10 team that hadn’t beat a ranked opponent in at least seven years.

I’m not going to beat up on West Virginia. They played a solid game against a ranked and well-coached Virginia Tech team and came up short. They can still win 10 games this year. However, a win would have been good for the league.

We already know the bottom of the Big 12 is bad. Kansas isn’t going to a bowl game. Don’t tell me you believe in Texas Tech just because they held Eastern Washington to 10 points. They’re still at the bottom of the conference this year. Now, Texas and Baylor could be joining them. Not just in the bottom five, but the cellar of stink.

If half the league is no good, what do you think that does to OSU’s strength of schedule? The non-conference schedule is okay, but not great. Tulsa, South Alabama, and Pitt are all replacing a lot of important pieces, and aren’t/weren’t projected to beat OSU.

Go look at OSU’s schedule. When is the first game people will applaud them for winning? TCU? Maybe if they beat Arkansas. Texas? Not unless they turn things around quick and beat USC. West Virginia? Not if they lose another one before the teams meet on October 28th.

Or worse, what happens now if OSU loses to one of those teams? We all circled Texas as a potential loss. What if OSU goes into Austin and loses. Now it’s not a respectable loss, it’s a devastating one.

We still don’t know how good TCU, Kansas State, and even Iowa State are. (We’ll find out more this week when the Horned Frogs take on Arkansas and Iowa State faces Iowa). We need the Big 12 to win those games or perception will continue to decline.

(I don’t mean to go off topic, but this is the reason I wanted the Big 12 to expand back to at least 12 teams. When you face everyone, bad teams are going to look worse. When there are more teams, there are more opportunities for wins for everyone, and then it looks like the middle of the league is better than it really is. Don’t believe me? Go look at the SEC.)

If you think the struggles of Texas and Baylor don’t hurt OSU, then you haven’t been paying attention. OSU is not OU. OSU is not Alabama. OSU is not Ohio State, and OSU is not Clemson. The program’s history and name don’t carry the weight theirs do. OSU needs to beat more good teams. Yes, if they go undefeated, they’re in just like Washington last year. But, well, that’s also never happened before.

If you don’t want to root for Baylor moving forward, fine. If you hope Texas gets creamed by USC, go ahead. But you’d better be cheering on Kansas State, Iowa State, and TCU to win their big non-conference games, because if the bottom of the league is going to be garbage, then the top has to be that much better.

If you can’t do that, then don’t get mad when a 12-1 Big 12 Champ Oklahoma State team gets left out in the cold come College Football Playoff selection day.

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