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Bowl Season Reveals Big 12 Doesn’t Play Defense, but Neither Does Anyone Else



I went back and counted up the numbers between the 45 games played by Power 5 teams to see if in fact that Big 12 doesn’t play any defense (spoiler: it does not). What the numbers showed, though, is that nobody else does, either.

For however flawed bowl numbers are from year to year, the Big 12 put up an impressive net PPG compared to the rest of the country. It also had the second-best winning percentage at 5-3 behind the Big Ten, which went 7-1.

Here are the defensive numbers.

Conference Defense PPG
Big Ten 22.5
SEC 28.6
Big 12 29.1
ACC 30.5
Pac-12 35.2

Do we get to say the SEC doesn’t play any defense now? Or do we just keep trotting out that narrative that the Big 12 stinks and is the worst conference in NCAA history?

Conference Offense PPG
Big 12 31.8
Big Ten 30.4
ACC 29.0
SEC 29.0
Pac-12 25.6

No surprises here, and I thought Mike Gundy said it well during the national championship game. You might score in the Big 12, but good luck defending anybody.

Gary Patterson chimed in as well.

The net PPG numbers more or less correlated with which conferences performed best in the postseason (goodness, Pac-12!)

Conference Net PPG
Big Ten 7.9
Big 12 2.6
SEC 0.3
ACC -1.5
Pac-12 -9.7

Again, I’m not sure how much the bowl games actually tell us. They’re exhibitions a month after the season between teams that may or may not be evenly matched. But like Kyle Cox noted a few weeks ago, they can’t mean nothing. And hopefully (although I’m not optimistic) the rest of the country will start seeing that an offense-centric college football team is not necessarily worse. It’s just different.