Big 12 football enters the bowl season with its highest status ever. Oklahoma is in the national championship game. The league supplies the No. 1 (OU), No. 3 (Texas) No. 7 (Texas Tech) and No. 13 (OSU) teams in the BCS rankings. By contrast, the SEC’s fourth-highest team (Ole Miss) is ranked 25th in the BCS. But the Big 12’s prowess is largely inbred. A house built on sand. The best Big 12 non-conference victories this year come from the Sooners, who routed Cincinnati and TCU at Owen Field in September, and Colorado, which beat West Virginia in overtime at Boulder. The best non-conference road victory belongs to Tech, which bested Nevada 35-19. Not much to get excited about past that. OSU beat Houston 56-37. Colorado beat Colorado State 38-17 in Denver. Missouri beat Illinois 52-42 in St. Louis. Texas thrashed Rice 52-10. Compare those wins to the SEC’s best wins. Florida won 45-15 at Florida State and beat Miami 26-3. Alabama beat Clemson 34-10 in Atlanta. South Carolina blanked North Carolina State 34-0. Kentucky won at Louisville 27-2. Arkansas beat Tulsa 30-23. Not a big difference. Give a little edge to the SEC for Florida’s road win at Tallahassee and a little edge to the Big 12 for OU’s wins over top-15 teams at home. But do you see what I mean? The power of the Big 12 (and the SEC, too, for that matter) is inflated. The true test comes in the next two weeks, when the league starts playing quality competition at neutral fields. OU-Florida. Texas-Ohio State. Tech-Ole Miss. OSU-Oregon. Missouri-Northwestern. Nebraska-Clemson. Kansas-Minnesota. Win four of those games, and the Big 12 will have done OK. Win five, particularly if it’s the Big Bowl, and the league can strut its stuff. But win only two or three and lose the Big Bowl? Well, that will end all talk about the Big 12’s reputation as the best conference in college football.