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Thursday, September 18, 2008
Don't read too much into Big East-Big 12 challenge

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I'm able to sit in my office in San Antonio and access radio stations across the Big 12. It's been interesting for me to listen to the "Chicken Little" mentality about the Big 12's slow start against the Big East in the first two games of an unofficial challenge series between the two conferences over the past few days.

Yes, the Big East has jumped to a 2-0 lead. But it also has had a couple of advantages that keep me from worrying too much about the Big 12.

First, we aren't seeing the best Big 12 teams play in this. No Oklahoma. No Missouri. No Texas Tech. No Texas.

Kansas, which was judged to be the fifth-best team in the Big 12, was the highest-ranked team to play when these games started. Colorado was the third or fourth best team in the North Division. And Kansas State and Baylor are expected to struggle to make bowl games.

The Big East's two best teams in the preseason were West Virginia and South Florida. Connecticut was a middle-of-the-pack team. And Louisville was down toward the bottom.

Let's also discount that the Big 12 team was the road team in the first two games and in three of the four games in the series. Or that Oklahoma absolutely throttled Cincinnati in the second week of the season before the "unofficial series" of these games even started.

I was impressed with the performance by both Big East teams so far. Both deserved to win, although if Todd Reesing's pass against South Florida goes to a slightly different location, the Jayhawks win that game.

But no matter. I love it when conferences measure themselves against each other. I'd love to see the Pac-10, Big Ten, SEC and ACC get involved in this as well.

Because it would result in better nonconference football. And with some of the mismatches we all are subjected to at this time of year, better games definitely make for more entertaining Saturdays.