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Big 12 football: 2013 looks like the year of Bedlam and Baylor

Through four weeks of the 2013 season, Baylor and the Bedlam brothers seem to be the class of the conference, for a simple reason. They apparently don't stink.
by Berry Tramel Published: September 21, 2013
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Looks like a Bedlam year in Big 12 football. Bedlam and Baylor.

Through four weeks of the 2013 season, Baylor and the Bedlam brothers seem to be the class of the conference, for a simple reason. They apparently don't stink.

That puts the Cowboys, Sooners and Bears far above the curve this season. For make no mistake. Big 12 football in general stinks.

With three nonconference games remaining, the Big 12 is 19-8 against teams outside the league. That's by far the worst among the five major conferences.

The Pac-12 is 27-4, not counting three late games Saturday night. The ACC is 28-7. So is the SEC. The Big Ten is 35-10.

But the Big 12's 19-8 record is worse than it looks. Six of the Big 12's 19 wins have come against I-AA foes. Ten of the 19 wins have come against Louisiana Tech, Massachusetts, Texas State, New Mexico State, Louisiana-Monroe (twice), Georgia State, Texas-San Antonio, Buffalo and Louisiana-Lafayette.

Playing an embarrassing nonconference schedule is bad enough. Playing an embarrassing nonconference and schedule and not dominating is unforgivable.

The Big 12 has three remaining nonconference games: OU-Notre Dame, TCU-SMU, Iowa State-Tulsa. A victory in South Bend certainly would enhance the Big 12's reputation. A loss would further stamp the Big 12 as inferior to all of the other league with which it competes.

The Big 12's best win? OSU over Mississippi State. The next-best win? OU over Tulsa or Texas Tech over SMU. The beleaguered American Athletic Conference, which you used to know as the Big East, has more good wins than does the Big 12. Washington has more good wins all by its lonesome than the entire Big 12.

No doubt about it. Our conference is down. Way down from the lofty perch a few years ago, when it made the case for nation's best, before SEC dominance ended all discussion.

Which is bad news for the OU and OSU programs. You're known by the company you keep. A weakened Big 12 is not good for the long-term health of the Cowboys and Sooners. It's hard enough to recruit against the SEC when the Big 12 was competitive; it will be doubly tough if the Big 12's reputation continues to crater.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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