Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Big 12 [Print without images]

Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Fact-checking Power Five propaganda

By Jake Trotter

As major college football heads into its first season with a four-team playoff, each Power Five conference is trying to convince the selection committee its scheduling format is the most challenging. It's part of a concerted and continuing effort on the part of each league to better position itself for consideration for the playoff. With five major conferences and only four playoff places, at least one, and possibly two, will be left out.

Every conference has its pitch, including the Big 12. Here's what Mark Schlabach had to say while sorting out the facts from the propaganda when it comes to the Big 12:

Big 12: "We play a round-robin schedule and have one 'true' champion."

Fact: Because the Big 12 decided to remain at 10 teams after Missouri and Texas A&M bolted for the SEC in 2012 (it added TCU and West Virginia as replacements), it is the only Power Five league to play a true round-robin schedule. Big 12 teams play each of their nine conference foes and only three nonconference games each season. The Big 12 is the only Power Five league that doesn't stage a conference title game and allows regular-season play to determine its champion.

Propaganda: OK, we get it. Big 12 teams play every other team in their conference, unlike the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, which are too big to allow for round-robin play. I'm sure Baylor coach Art Briles is counting his blessings that the Big 12 was gracious enough to schedule the Bears an off week between their Oct. 18 game at West Virginia and their Nov. 1 home game against Kansas. Whew!

I understand the benefits of round-robin play. Everybody plays everybody, which results in a true league champion, unlike in the SEC, where Ole Miss can win the SEC West by beating Tennessee and Vanderbilt from the East while Auburn has to play Georgia and South Carolina. It's more equitable and there are no complaints about fairness.

Here's my beef with the Big 12: It doesn't matter how many conference games a team plays if it doesn't beat anybody of consequence from outside its league. You can count on one hand the number of games Big 12 teams won against opponents from the other Power Five leagues during the 2013 regular season. Actually, you only have to raise your index finger -- because it was one!

You can read more of what Schlabach had to write about the Big 12, and the other Power Five conferences by clicking here.