Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Big Losses for the Big 12

Oklahoma was the crown jewel of the Big 12 Conference. The Sooners had appeared in four conference championship games in the past five years and made three BCS championship appearances in the past five years. Then came Saturday when a loss to TCU made OU the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.

Texas A&M was supposed to be a team on the rise. The Aggies under Coach Dennis Franchione were supposed to have a Heisman candidate in quarterback Reggie McNeal and contend for the conference championship. Then came Saturday night when the Aggies couldn’t stop Clemson on eight consecutive running plays that got the Tigers to the A&M 25 yard line and set up the game winning field goal.

Both losses were unbelievable and both losses left the Big 12 with two of its big teams having opening day blemishes. In the conference power rankings the Big 12 is well behind the ACC, SEC, Big 10 and Pac 10.

Legitimate questions are being raised about OU’s offense and the coaching blunders at A&M. The Sooners offense was very inept against TCU and a coaching mistake cost the Aggies their game against Clemson. Franchione chose not to go for two on the Aggies final touchdown which would have given them a three point lead rather than two. The Aggies lost 25-24.

No doubt this was not one but two black eyes for the Big 12, which puts more pressure on Texas to come away from the horseshoe with a win over Ohio State. If the Longhorns lose, then the Big 12 is out of the national championship race in only the second week of the season.