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Parity reigns in Big 12

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Baylor and TCU have a lot in common and they have the ability to remain powers in the Big 12, writes Brice Cherry of the Waco Tribune.

Even if Oklahoma and Texas return to the top third of the Big 12 standings, BU and TCU can remain on a similar level thanks to the excellence of Art Briles and Gary Patterson, Cherry contends.

It's amazing how the perception of TCU has changed in 12 months. At this time a year ago, nobody considered TCU a Big 12 power. The Horned Frogs were coming off a 4-8 season and hadn't recorded a winning record in Big 12 play during their first two seasons in the conference. Patterson's program was 6-12 in the Big 12 heading into 2014.

Granted, TCU has played excellent defense since day one in the Big 12, ranking among the conference's top defenses since 2012, meaning its offense was largely to blame for that two-year stretch of struggles. Yet, a lot of people have been quick to anoint TCU based off last season's stellar performance, but I think its important to look at the bigger picture as well in the form of the Big 12 standings in conference games since TCU and West Virginia joined in 2012:

  1. Baylor 20-7 (2 titles, 1 outright)

  2. Kansas State 20-7 (1 co-championship)

  3. Oklahoma 20-7 (1 co-championship)

  4. Texas 17-10

  5. Oklahoma State 16-11

  6. TCU 14-13 (1 co-championship)

  7. West Virginia 11-16

  8. Texas Tech 10-17

  9. Iowa State 5-22

  10. Kansas 2-25

There's a doomsday environment around the programs at Oklahoma and Texas yet both have won more conference games than TCU and Oklahoma State in the past three seasons. In addition, BU, KSU, OU, UT, OSU and TCU have each played for a Big 12 title on the final day of the regular season at some point during the past three years.

So put me in the group that believes parity will reign in the Big 12 in 2015 and the near future. There are too many quality coaches and talent-rich programs for one or more programs to run away and separate themselves.