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Why Big 12 defenses aren't to blame for the SEC's dominance

Big 12 teams can't stop each other. They've done a better job vs. the SEC.
by Berry Tramel Modified: August 29, 2013 at 9:00 am •  Published: August 25, 2013

Big 12 coaches like to say their dubious defensive numbers are the result of playing against uptempo, high-caliber Big 12 offenses. But is that true?

“Some of the criticism is fair in that we haven't performed as well,” said OU coach Bob Stoops.

“Obviously, you look at the quarterbacks and the offenses, they have something to do with that. I watched Texas A&M take a Big 12 offense and go through the whole SEC schedule and end up third in the nation in total offense and scoring offense. I don't know how that happened when they played all those great defenses.”

Actually, A&M's offense wasn't always explosive in the SEC. The Aggies scored 17 on Florida, 19 on LSU and didn't play Georgia or South Carolina. A&M made its reputation by beating Alabama 29-24, made its statistical prowess against outmanned opponents and made its fans giddy with a 41-13 trouncing of OU in the Cotton Bowl.

* Certainly OU's Cotton Bowl defense was dismal. A&M had 633 yards and 41 points.

“We played poorly on defense,” Stoops said. “But the second half of the Cotton Bowl, we had four straight possessions, three and out (punt) and a turnover. We did nothing and handed them the football back in good field position.”

Handed it back? Yes. Good field position No. The Aggies' second-half TD drives covered 91, 89, 71 and 73 yards.

* Texas' defense was solid against Alabama in the 2009 national title game. Bama won 37-21, but the Crimson Tide had just 263 total yards.

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by Berry Tramel
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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