Big 12 football: Championship games not always thrilling
College football’s championship weekend arrives in a few days. Be still my heart.
Let’s see. Wisconsin, 7-5, against 10-2 Nebraska in the Big Ten. Georgia Tech, 6-6, against 10-2 Florida State in the ACC. UCLA, 9-3, against 10-2 Stanford is a solid game – if they hadn’t played Saturday night in Los Angeles, where Stanford won 35-17 and now gets to host the Bruins.
The truth is, beyond the SEC showdown of Alabama-Georgia, the championship games are total duds. Heck, the second-best championship game clearly is the Mid-American Conference’s Kent State-Northern Illinois game. Win, and 17th-ranked Kent State could crash the BCS party. Heck, even No. 21 Northern Illinois can’t be counted out from making the top 16 and landing in the Orange Bowl.
Such dud games as we’re seeing in the ACC and the Big Ten reminds us that the late, great Big 12 championship game could trot out a turkey itself.
In fact, counting this season, there have been 48 title games contested in the major conferences. Of those 48, only 12 have matched two top-10 teams. Only eight have matched teams with one loss or fewer in conference.
The Southeastern Conference has provided most of the elite matchups. Eight of the SEC’s 21 title games have been staged between top-10 teams. Four of the Big 12′s 15 title games matched top-10 teams.
But the ACC championship game has been an absolute bust. Only twice in eight games has the ACC provided one top-10 team.
Ideally, a conference title game would match unbeaten teams that would settle the league championship and serve as a national semifinal.
But only once has teams unbeaten in conference play met in a title game – the 2009 SEC, with Alabama and Florida.
Here are the best matchups in conference title games ever, based on ranking:
1. 2009 SEC: No. 2 Alabama beat No. 1 Florida.
2. 2008 SEC: No. 2 Florida beat No. 1 Alabama.
3. 2012 SEC: No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Georgia.
4. 2003 SEC: No. 3 LSU beat No. 5 Georgia.
5. 2000 Big 12: No. 1 OU beat No. 8 Kansas State.
6. 1994 SEC: No. 6 Florida beat No. 3 Alabama.
7. 2007 SEC: No. 5 LSU beat No. 4 Tennessee.
8. 2007 Big 12: No. 9 OU beat No. 1 Missouri.
9. 1998 Big 12: No. 10 Texas A&M beat No. 2 Kansas State.
10. 2001 Big 12: No. 9 Colorado beat No. 3 Texas.
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