Last season the Oklahoma Sooners were the first team to represent the Big 12 Conference in the second year of the college football playoffs system. Going into 2016 there were high expectations for the Sooners to contend for the National Title this year. They have a potential Heisman Trophy candidate in Baker Mayfield and an outstanding complementary player in running back Samije Perine.
However, the Sooners are eliminated from contending in the postseason after suffering two gut-wrenching losses this season. Their first loss came in a trap game against the Houston Cougars in front of a sold out NRG Stadium. The Sooners second defeat was against a highly talented Ohio State Buckeyes ball club in front of their home crowd.
The conference’s other two heavyweights such as the TCU Horned Frogs and the Texas Longhorns have also suffered losses as well. The teams that I have mentioned in this article are still mathematically alive to make the playoffs this season, but the chances of that happening will not come to pass.
The reason why no team from the Big 12 Conference will be in the playoffs this season, is because of the common defensive schemes that teams in this league are utilizing. Traditional powers such as Oklahoma and Texas use to have some of the best defenses in the nation.
Fast forward to 2016 and both programs have become a shell of their former selves. I do not know where Sooners head coach Bob Stoops gets the nickname “Big Game Bob” from because his teams do not play up to their potential when it matters the most. Except for the 1st National Title that the Sooners won in 2000, they have been embarrassed in every championship game ever since.
In regards to the Longhorns, they still have a chance of making the playoffs, but with the way their defense has performed over the past two weeks, it will most likely not happen this season. What has improved with the Longhorns is that they are not folding up the tent in ball games like they did a season ago.
If the fans and boosters are patient, Strong will have the Longhorns contending for a National Title on a yearly basis once again. Some of the best coaches in college football have started off their careers at new programs on a sour note. Nick Saban struggled at Alabama for a moment before he got the personnel that he deemed fit to run his defensive scheme.
The Big 12 Conference used to be a league where we would see some of the best defenses played in college football has turned into an all-out aerial show that takes multiple overtimes to end football games. The league’s only hope of playing in the postseason is the Baylor Bears who currently are 3-0, however; they have not played against the conference heavyweights of their schedule yet.
For those that have paid close attention to Baylor football over the years know that defense will be optional when they go up against top-tier programs. Hopefully, Charlie Strong who is a defense-minded head coach can turn back the clock for the Big 12 Conference when it comes to playing defense.
Photos courtesy of sidelinesmag.com