Some are celebrating the new Big 12 format that will have no divisions. But truth is, Big 12 football will have a wider gulf than ever before.
After Nebraska’s and Colorado’s exit from the conference, the four remaining North Division schools will start playing every Big 12 South school every season. Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State and Kansas will go from playing three South teams (and one of them Baylor half the time) to playing all six every season.
The losses will mount. In fact, the Big 12 will be unlikely to fill its eight bowl slots, virtually all of which extend through the 2013 season.
Kansas, Missouri and Iowa State all are winless against Bob Stoops and Mack Brown. All are 0-6 against Stoops and Brown, except Missouri is 0-7 against Stoops, accounting for the 2007 league championship game. And Stoops has lost to Kansas State only in the 2003 Big 12 title game.
The only substantial North success against OU or Texas has been K-State, which is an unexplainable 4-2 vs. Brown, and one of Brown’s victories came in 2003, when the Longhorns pulled a rabbit out of the hat. But otherwise, it’s an avalanche.
The North schools are going to start 0-2, and that doesn’t even get them to Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.
Take Kansas. In the Big 12 era, KU is 1-5 vs. OSU, 1-7 vs. Tech and 1-5 vs. Texas A&M. KU is just 3-3 vs. Baylor.
Iowa State isn’t much better. The Cyclones are 1-7 vs. A&M, 1-5 vs. Tech and 3-5 vs. OSU. ISU is just 5-3 vs. Baylor.
Missouri and Kansas State have fared better against the mid-level South teams. Mizzou is 3-3 vs. A&M, 5-3 vs. OSU and an inexplicable 5-1 vs. Tech. But some of that progress was countered by a home loss to Baylor last season. KSU’s numbers are good, too, but mostly built on the back of Bill Snyder’s good teams almost a decade ago. KSU is 4-2 vs. OSU but 3-5 vs. Tech and 4-5 vs. A&M.
Unless the current trend is reversed — unless Kansas State gets better and Missouri returns to its 2007-08 form; unless Tech and OSU fall and A&M stays mired in mediocrity — the non-divisional Big 12 will have a mighty gulf.
The South will dominate the championships, thanks to OU and Texas, but also will dominate the next rungs. The Cotton Bowl, the Alamo, the Insight, the Holiday. They are going to be filled with the South schools, while the North schools fight and scrap to get to six wins.
For the record, through 2013, here is the Big 12 bowl lineup:
1. Fiesta Bowl
2. Cotton Bowl vs. SEC
3. Alamo Bowl vs. Pac-10
4. Insight Bowl vs. Big Ten
5. Holiday Bowl vs. Pac-10
6. Texas Bowl vs. Big Ten
7. New Era Pinstripes Bowl (Yankee Stadium) vs. Big East
8. Dallas Football Classic vs. Big Ten