If nothing else, the Big 12 should be tremendously entertaining throughout the second half of the 2017 season.
The good news for fans of the high-octane league is that not only should the Big 12 be tremendously entertaining, as it often is, but it’s also top-to-bottom the best it’s been in recent memory.
As ESPN’s Jake Trotter noted, the league currently boasts three College Football Playoff hopefuls in No. 4 TCU, No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 10 Oklahoma State, thanks in large part to offenses led by four Heisman Trophy candidates. And the parity throughout the league is seemingly unprecedented. TCU sits atop the conference, but Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, West Virginia and Iowa State are tied for second place at 2-1.
“Who knows where the Big 12 stacks up against [other] conferences or the ACC, where the preseason favorite, Florida State, is down to its second QB and third loss, and the reigning champ, Clemson, just lost in a stunning upset by Syracuse,” Trotter wrote. “Regardless, the Big 12 is the best it’s been in several years. And it’s loaded with star power, depth and a series of big-time matchups that still lie ahead.”
As eyes slowly but surely begin to shift toward bowl season and the stakes are heightened on a weekly basis, the Big 12 will transform into a heavyweight bloodbath.
The Bedlam battle on Nov. 4 between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State still awaits with playoff implications likely on the line. The following week, the same may again prove true when the Sooners return home to host No. 4 TCU. Not to mention, the Pokes will be tasked with escaping Austin unscathed this weekend before they take on No. 23 West Virginia in Morgantown on Oct. 28.
In short, there should be plenty of eyes on the Big 12 throughout the second half of the season, including those of the College Football Playoff committee.
“How the committee sees our league this year will be different than it has in the last few years,” said Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy.
Unlike recent years, though — such as when the committee excluded a pair of 11-1 teams in Baylor and TCU — the narrative surrounding the Big 12 is a bit different. It’s the best it’s been in several years.
“It’s not going to be the same conversation that they’ve had in the past,” said Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. “This is a strong conference.”