Big 12/SEC matchups are a classic case of the irresistible force against the immovable object. The Big 12's great spread offenses, led by NFL-caliber quarterbacks, against the fire-breathing brutes who populate SEC defenses.
No one really disputes the stereotype.
“The offenses in the Big 12 are the most difficult to defend in the country, and we've studied it very, very hard,” said Texas coach Mack Brown. “I think we have the best offensive teams in America in this league. I think — and you can check it — we had four of the five fastest guys in the combine last year in the Big 12.”
OK. So during the SEC's run of seven straight national championships, how have those juggernaut Big 12 offenses performed against SEC defenses?
* In the seven Cotton Bowls played during the SEC's reign of terror, the Big 12 is 1-6 and has averaged just 20.8 points a game.
Only twice has the Big 12 scored more than 24 points in the Cotton Bowl during that time. In four of seven games, the Big 12 team has scored fewer than 17 points.
The OU-A&M Cotton Bowl last season was a great example. The Sooners came into the game averaging 40.3 points; they scored 13 and totaled 401 yards.
* In the two national title games matching the Big 12 and the SEC, the Big 12 has scored 14 points (OU vs. Florida, 2008 season) and 21 points (Texas vs. Alabama, 2009, though the Longhorns had the excuse of an injured Colt McCoy).
The OU-Florida Big Bowl was even more exasperating for the Sooners. OU came in averaging 54.0 points and 562.1 yards a game. Florida came in allowing 12.8 points and 279.3 yards. The Gators imposed their will. OU finished with 14 points and 363 yards.
* Even in three Independence Bowls, the Big 12 has not taken advantage of less-than-stout SEC defenses.
While OSU won 34-31 over an Alabama team that was allowing just 18.0 points a game in 2006, Texas A&M in 2009 scored just 20 against a Georgia defense allowing 26.4 points a game. And Colorado in 2007 scored 24 on an Alabama defense allowing 21.8 points a game.
Conclusion: Big 12 offenses mostly have wilted when going against the SEC.