The Big 12 wanted a piece of the SEC, and now it gets it

The Big 12 and SEC partnership with the Sugar Bowl, which goes into effect next season, blossomed early. OU-Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. OSU-Missouri in the Cotton Bowl. You want a piece of the SEC? Here you go.
by Berry Tramel Published: December 8, 2013

The Big 12 asked for it. The Big 12 got it.

OU-Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. OSU-Missouri in the Cotton Bowl. You want a piece of the SEC? Here you go.

The Big 12 and SEC partnership with the Sugar Bowl, which goes into effect next season, blossomed early. The Sugar Bowl made the good-faith decision to pick the Sooners instead of Oregon to play Alabama on Jan. 2. And the trickle-down effect put OSU in the Cotton against another Southeastern Conference school.

It's a mighty mission for the Sooners. Alabama has won back-to-back national titles and is 57-6 over the last five seasons. And it's no easy task for the Cowboys; Missouri won the SEC East Division and was ranked fifth in the nation before a 59-42 loss to Auburn in the SEC title game Saturday night.

But no time like the present to start chipping away at SEC dominance, which shines as brightly as ever. The SEC has won seven straight national championships. The Big 12 can't do anything about stopping the streak this season — that's Florida State's job, in the BCS championship game against Auburn — but the Sooners and Cowboys could strike a blow for Big 12 prestige.

The Big 12 and SEC have been sending teams to the Cotton Bowl since the 1998 season. The Big 12 won four of the first five but the SEC has won eight of nine since, and the Big 12's only victory came from Missouri, which now is in the SEC. Worse yet, the SEC has won three national-title games against Big 12 foes in the last 10 years.

“They have great programs with the athletes they have down there, the coaching they have down there,” said OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. “They've been the top conference in college football for many years. Every time you step on the field against a Southeastern Conference team, they play very hard, just great skill all over the field. Tremendous speed. And Alabama presents all of that. They could be the best team in the country. We're certainly going to have to be at our very best to win.”

OSU opened this season with a 21-3 victory over Mississippi State, one of only two Big 12 victories over the SEC in the last three years. Now the Cowboys close the season against the SEC.

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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