Big 12's offensive explosion means one thing: The league isn't ready to play big-boy football

The conference has a problem. You can win in the Big 12 with offense alone. Six Big 12 games this season have been won by teams that allowed 45 points in regulation. But such football is going to end in heartache for the Big 12. It's always going to end in heartache.
by Berry Tramel Published: November 25, 2012

Bedlam football 2012 was a classic and an epic and a thriller and a whatever wondrous description you want to put on it.

It also was nothing out of the ordinary. Not in this Big 12.

Care to differ? OU's 51-48 overtime victory was 45-45 at the end of regulation. It wasn't even the Big 12's only 45-45 game Saturday. Baylor and Tech went to overtime, too, before the Fightin' Bears won 52-45.

The reason two Big 12 games were 45-45 on Saturday? That's all that were played.

This conference has a problem. You can win in the Big 12 with offense alone. Six Big 12 games this season have been won by teams that allowed 45 points in regulation.

And that has got to stop. Landry Jones throwing for 1,000 yards in a two-game span and Tavon Austin rushing for 344 yards on the Sooners and Robert Griffin's apprentice taking Baylor to 50 points in half of its Big 12 games and OSU's third-team quarterback marching down the field on every defense he faces? It's all fabulous fun.

But such football is going to end in heartache for the Big 12. It's always going to end in heartache.

The Big 12's offensive culture has made for Heisman Trophy winners and must-see entertainment. But game after game, week after week, of offensive dominance signals that this league isn't ready to play big-boy football.

The SEC has won eight of the last nine Cotton Bowls, all against the Big 12. The Big 12 also is 0-3 against the SEC in BCS bowls and 2-3 against the SEC in Independence Bowls.

It's a talent deficiency, to some degree, but it's also cultural. Bob Stoops has tried staff changes; Mike Stoops was brought back, at the expense of Willie Martinez's job and Brent Venables' authority. The Stoopses have tried exotic defenses; they spent two games and change without linebackers.

And yet the last three games, OU has allowed 1,676 yards in regulation and 128 points. And won all three games.


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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