The 2011 Big 12 football standings were interesting at the top. And not just because OSU broke through to win the championship.
The Cowboys certainly shook up the league. But even more startling was the win-place-show slots. OSU, Kansas State, Baylor. The Sooners actually tied Baylor for third place, but using the Bob Stoops tiebreaker method, the Bears were bronze medalists.
Think about that. Top three of the Big 12, and nowhere was found the two schools, OU and Texas, that have dominated the league. Nowhere was found the two schools, Texas A&M and Missouri, high-tailing it for the vaunted SEC.
Parity finally arrived in the Big 12. Better late than never. Here are two sides of the parity debate.
Baylor coach Art Briles: “It's good from our end. If I was sitting at OU or Texas, I may not giggle or laugh. But from where we're sitting, parity sounds pretty good, because we've been enough of the non-parity for awhile. So yeah, it's a good thing.”
Stoops: “No, it isn't any good. I'd rather win it every year. I like it when we win it three years in a row. Let's try and do that again.”
Who is right? Both. Parity is good for the Baylors of the Big 12, bad for the Oklahomas.
But clearly, parity is not only good for Big 12 football, it's great for Big 12 football. Parity is what has made the Southeastern Conference such a runaway mine train. Auburn pushes Alabama, which pushes LSU, which pushes Florida, which pushes Georgia, which pushes Auburn.
The Big 12 very much needs its championships decided well after the State Fair of Texas. OU-Texas is an epic spectacle, but it doesn't make for a strong conference when the champ is virtually determined in October.
“I don't know if it's good for the league or if it's not good for the league,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “It's reality. Parity in college football has been a topic of discussion for the last decade.
“I do think parity's becoming more and more evident, just based on who's in the different BCS games and who's winning the leagues and all that.
“It really goes back to, you better be able to line up and better be able to play your best each and every week. It doesn't matter who you're playing. You're going to be facing a good football team.”
OSU became the seventh school to win a Big 12 football title, but just the third in eight years.