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Did the Big 12 Actually Stink in 2020?

The Big 12 went 5-0 in bowl games.

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[Pool photo by Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

The Big 12 canabalized itself early in the college football season and was essentially out of the College Football Playoff hunt when Oklahoma State lost to Texas on Oct. 31.

The national outlook on the Big 12 was that it was a bad conference with Oklahoma having lost its first two conference games to Kansas State and Iowa State. A few months later, Iowa State thumped Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl to give the Big 12 a 5-0 record in bowl games.

Sure, bowl games don’t posses the same pull they had 10 years ago, but it’s still better to win them than lose them.

Bowl Big 12 School Opponent (conference) Score
Cheez-It Oklahoma State Miami (ACC) 37-34
Alamo Texas Colorado (Pac-12) 55-23
Cotton Oklahoma Florida (SEC) 55-20
Liberty West Virginia Army (Independent) 24-21
Fiesta Iowa State Oregon (Pac-12) 34-17

TCU’s Texas Bowl game against Arkansas was canceled because of COVID, but something tells me the Horned Frogs would’ve been able to handle a 3-7 Razorback team if given the opportunity.

In total, the Big 12 went 11-3 in nonconference games this season, with all of the losses coming in the league’s opening weekend. Those losses looked disgusting then, but two didn’t turn out too terrible at the end of the year.

Iowa State fell to Louisiana. That’s still a bad loss, but the Rajin’ Cajuns finished the year 10-1 with their only loss coming to Coastal Carolina. Louisiana was 19th in the final CFP Poll.

Speaking of Coastal Carolina, it started its unbeaten regular season with a win against Kansas. The Chanticleers finished their season 11-1 and ranked 12th in the final CFP ranking.

The other nonconference loss was Kansas State’s L against Arkansas State. That one was flat out a bad loss, as the Red Wolves finished the year 4-7.

The Big 12 is better than the Pac-12. That’s just a fact. Ask Colorado and Oregon.

Although Clemson would win the Big 12 probably every season, I wouldn’t say that makes the ACC better than the Big 12. Notre Dame, an implant for this season only, sneaked into the CFP and promptly got pounded. And six of the ACC’s 15 (why so many?) teams finished with three or fewer wins this season. I imagine OU, Texas, Iowa State and Oklahoma State would’ve all competed for second in the ACC and would’ve all finished better than Miami, who finished third.

The Big Ten’s sample size was too small this year to draw any big conclusions from, but Wisconsin finished third in the Big Ten West after going 3-3.

The SEC has Alabama, who is good, and Texas A&M, who is good. Florida looked good early this year, but the Gators lost to a .500 LSU team and lost to OU by five touchdowns. I don’t care how many guys opted out, Kyle Trask threw three picks on three possessions to start that game.

This’ll happen again next year when OU losses to Iowa State, Kansas State, Texas or Oklahoma State. The national look will be, “Well, the Big 12 is trash.” But year after year, the league has proved it isn’t, and this bowl season is another example of that.

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