Middling Grade Equals ‘Nowhere’ For Big 12

Middling Grade Equals ‘Nowhere’ For Big 12


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — There are very few things I remember from the sociology course I took back in high school, except for part of one exceptional teacher’s lectures in which he made a point that lasted forever.

He was speaking of reaching one’s potential, striving to be the best one can be, and as he did he got around to the grading system that was in place and noted that if you were an A or B student you were somewhere and even if you were getting Ds and Fs you were at a place from which you could improve.

“But,” he would add, “if you are a C student you are nowhere.”

West Virginia linebacker Shea Campbell (34) celebrates with teammates Kenny Robinson (2) and Toyous Avery (3) after his interception

There was no identity to come with being in the middle of the pack. You should never settle for Cs.

This lecture came back in a rush to me recently when I came across an article by Scooby Axson in Sports Illustrated, an article written in the wake of Clemson’s victory over Alabama in the CFP to win the National Championship.

What Axson did was assign a letter grade to each of the Power 5 and Group of 5 conferences, along with the six independent schools based on their performances over the past season.

Rather than provide any suspense, we cut to the root of what we are addressing here and that is the Big 12 was given a C-.

Not even a C. It got a C-.

OK, it wasn’t in as awful a situation as the Pac 12, which was given the only F in the grades, but it certainly didn’t live up to all of its self-congratulatory praise that it heaps upon itself each year.

Now it’s true it was home to the Heisman Trophy winner for the second straight year and it did have a team in Oklahoma that made it into the four-team playoff, although when the playoffs were over many wondered if, indeed, the Sooners should have been chosen over Georgia.

But we’re not here to argue with the A that was given to the SEC or the B to the ACC or even the B- that went to the Big Ten.

Instead, we are here to make note that West Virginia wound up tied for third in what was judged the eighth-best conference in college football.

Or, as cited in that long ago sociology class, it ended up “nowhere.”

WVU, for all the hype, was ranked behind the Mountain West, the Independent (which did include Notre Dame and Army), the Sun Belt, the American and, yes, even Conference USA.

What was the thinking?

Here is the analysis of the Big 12:

“Oklahoma set the pace for the Big 12 once again, with Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray leading the way to a fourth-straight conference title and another appearance in the playoff. Texas proclaimed itself “back” with an impressive win against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, but the inconsistency of would-be contenders Iowa State and West Virginia limited the league’s top tier to two teams. Everyone else except Kansas had surprising highs and discouraging lows, clearing the runway for the Sooners and Longhorns. And the league did little to dispel the notion that it is philosophically opposed to defense: Half the Big 12’s 10 teams finished 100th or worse in passing yards allowed, including Texas Tech and Oklahoma, the bottom two teams in the nation in that category.”

And what did this mean?

In truth, it meant that the league was overrun with mediocrity, dragged down by WVU and Iowa State’s inability to play up to its expectation.

But more important is the image the league exudes … “the league did little to dispel the notion that it is philosophically opposed to defense: Half the Big 12’s 10 teams finished 100th or worse in passing yards allowed, including Texas Tech and Oklahoma, the bottom two teams in the nation in that category.”

Let that sink in and apply it to WVU last year. The Mountaineers increased their running attempts in a league where half the teams were 100th or worse in passing yards allowed and where two teams were the absolute worst in the nation.

It is unreasonable to assume that the Big 12 simply amasses the greatest passers and receivers in the land, or certainly the nation is rife with big time quarterbacks, so the accusation that is philosophically opposed to defense isn’t very farfetched.

The league is built on Longhorns and Cowboys and in the Old West out of which it grew there was no defense for a bullet and where the quickest draw wore the white hat and rode the palomino into the sunset.

Perhaps a new coaching staff it West Virginia, headed by Neal Brown out of Troy, will understand that you can’t spell undefeated without a D and you can’t go undefeated without one, either.

Home forums Middling Grade Equals ‘Nowhere’ For Big 12

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  • #80875

    Middling Grade Equals ‘Nowhere’ For Big 12 MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — There are very few things I remember from the sociology course I took back in high scho
    [See the full post at: Middling Grade Equals ‘Nowhere’ For Big 12]

    #80879

    Scooby provides a stupid analysis. There is no alternative universe, much less the one we live in, where the Big 12 is worse than 7 other conferences. Scooby needs a few more biscuits to improve his brain power.

    #80884

    Apples and oranges.  Oh, and how did Georgia do against Texas?  Yeah I know. They were down because they were left out of the playoffs.

    #80911

    Sports Illustrated is helping to perpetuate the talking points of the networks, the Big Ten, the ACC, and the Group of Five in that the Big XII is somehow inferior for only having 10 schools.

    For the networks, it is negotiating leverage.

    For the Big Ten and the ACC, it is “misery loves company” in that they are unwieldy having about 2 too many members.  Odd that the SEC seems ambivalent on that subject.

    Of course, for the Group of Five it is their desire to have the Big XII expand and take a couple of their own into the family.

    Personally, I like the membership just as it is – mainly because I am not at all excited about any potential new members that are out there on the board.

    #80913

    IMO the networks are sending the B12 a message. With only 10 members we are at a disadvantage because of lack of inventory. With the 10 team schedule it’s inevitable that the top teams knock each other off. Look at the ACC / BiG / SEC…… their top teams don’t have to play EVERY other top team in the conference. There are enough middle of the pack and cellar dwellers to pad the schedule and keep the top teams with better records. B12 just knocks each other off every year because we play every team in the conference.

    Adding at least 2 more and IMO 4 would make perfect sense. This gives us 2 divisions of 7 teams. Play 6 in your division and 3 in the other with 3 OOC games. Adding teams like Houston, UCF, Cincy and one other would not only add inventory but also add additional new markets. Yes it may initially decrease the per team payout, but it would help keep the conference strong if/when another team decides to bolt. Then we wouldn’t have to scramble to find teams to fill the void.

    #80919

    Rather than write a lengthy reply, I’ll just simply say that I disagree with almost everything contained in this article.  Since we’re handing out grades, this opinion piece gets a D.

    #80920

    IMO the networks are sending the B12 a message. With only 10 members we are at a disadvantage because of lack of inventory. With the 10 team schedule it’s inevitable that the top teams knock each other off. Look at the ACC / BiG / SEC…… their top teams don’t have to play EVERY other top team in the conference. There are enough middle of the pack and cellar dwellers to pad the schedule and keep the top teams with better records. B12 just knocks each other off every year because we play every team in the conference. Adding at least 2 more and IMO 4 would make perfect sense. This gives us 2 divisions of 7 teams. Play 6 in your division and 3 in the other with 3 OOC games. Adding teams like Houston, UCF, Cincy and one other would not only add inventory but also add additional new markets. Yes it may initially decrease the per team payout, but it would help keep the conference strong if/when another team decides to bolt. Then we wouldn’t have to scramble to find teams to fill the void.

    I agree.  I was very disappointed when the Big 12 decided not to expand.  I understand that the short-term economics underlying the decision made sense, but long-term, I think deciding not to expand will probably lead to this conference’s demise.

    #80921

    this is why I stopped buy the SI rag years ago …. I give SI an F- as a Mag

    #80951

    IMO the networks are sending the B12 a message. With only 10 members we are at a disadvantage because of lack of inventory. With the 10 team schedule it’s inevitable that the top teams knock each other off. Look at the ACC / BiG / SEC…… their top teams don’t have to play EVERY other top team in the conference. There are enough middle of the pack and cellar dwellers to pad the schedule and keep the top teams with better records. B12 just knocks each other off every year because we play every team in the conference. Adding at least 2 more and IMO 4 would make perfect sense. This gives us 2 divisions of 7 teams. Play 6 in your division and 3 in the other with 3 OOC games. Adding teams like Houston, UCF, Cincy and one other would not only add inventory but also add additional new markets. Yes it may initially decrease the per team payout, but it would help keep the conference strong if/when another team decides to bolt. Then we wouldn’t have to scramble to find teams to fill the void.

    I just can’t get excited about UH, UCF, Cincy, and obviously either BYU or Boise or even USF as additions – more inventory notwithstanding.  If there were just 2 available out there that moved the needle, then I’d be all aboard to increase to 12.  But there’s just not.

    #81028

    The best WVU teams of my memory all had great defenses.The Big 12 is pass happy, so wouldn’t it follow that recruiting the very best DB’s and pass rushers possible be job one.Wouldn’t that be a great selling point? If you want to be noticed by pro scouts looking for pass defensive talent come play in the Big 12.

    #81030

    I don’t think more teams is necessarily the answer.As the article stated WV and Iowa State underperformed.To me rather than focusing on getting more teams in the conference of which there are precious few that would enhance the league.Strengthening the league overall especially the top tier by playing stronger non conference opponents.Shifting the conference philosophy to stronger defenses play.

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