The Big 12 Conference is known for offense.
One glimpse at the image above makes it clear offensive firepower leads the way when the perception of the conference comes up. During various media days around the country, ESPN.com talked to players from each conference to get a feel for how the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, and SEC are perceived by players from other BCS conferences.
Several words stood out among the various responses, and the absence of others shouldn’t go unnoticed:
No-huddle offense: The Big 12 is known for its up-tempo, high-scoring offenses. Five Big 12 teams ranked among the nation’s top 25 in total snaps in 2012 with Baylor leading the way with 1072 offensive plays, according to ESPN Stats and Info. The relentless nature of the Big 12’s no-huddle offenses leads to the big plays, individual award winners, and recognition that makes playing in the conference a dream come true for skill players across the nation.
Baylor: The Bears' inclusion shows just how far Baylor has come thanks to Robert Griffin III and coach Art Briles. Baylor’s name recognition is as high as its ever been, and the Bears have been backing it up in recent years with bowl appearances in each of the past three seasons. They’ve been making a strong impression on the recruiting trail as well, evidenced by the recent commitment of ESPN300 receiver K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant), who spurned offers from Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and others.
Competitive conference: Everyone took notice as nine of the ten teams in the conference participated in a bowl in 2012. Baylor finished 4-5 in Big 12 play, but hammered then-BCS No. 1 and eventual conference co-champion Kansas State, 52-24, to knock the Wildcats out of BCS title contention. From top to bottom, it’s tough to beat the overall competitiveness of the Big 12, which features good games and great players on a weekly basis.
Noticeably absent: While some words jumped out, the absence of others is just as captivating. Texas joined Baylor as the lone individual schools named (other than an rather odd dislike of Kansas), while Oklahoma was nowhere to be found. There was a time when thoughts of the Big 12 immediately brought the Sooners to mind.
Defense is another word that could be considered missing, and some would argue that actual defense is nowhere to be found in the league either. True or not, it's clear the national perception of the Big 12 Conference is all offense, no defense.