NCF Nation: Walter Abercrombie
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Every Big 12 team has a rival that inspires hatred. It's just the nature of competitive athletics, and particularly football.
While the conference offices have made a sportsmanship mandate a prominent part of pregame activities across the Big 12, fans don't always think that way.
With that in mind, here's an unofficial Big 12 conference hate meter, with the most despised rival first and the others in descending order.
1. Texas -- Everything's bigger and better in Texas, or so they say. But what's not to hate about the Longhorns for the rest of the Big 12 -- their traditional dominance, unmatched facilities, deep talent pool and even their mascot?
2. Oklahoma -- Opponents don't like seeing the same team winning. And after running roughshod over the Big Eight for 50 years and continuing their wild stampede through the Big 12, rivals have long been tired of the Sooners' historic supremacy.
3. Colorado -- Opposing fans see their supporters as every Rocky Mountain stereotype -- tree-loving, granola-munching, hybrid-driving Greeners. And it's even worse when they are winning with some regularity.
4. Kansas -- Their fans have always been accused of being the conference's smuggest during basketball season. Their recent football success is spreading that haughtiness into a 12-month-a-year attitude, rivals say.
5. Missouri -- Once the program woke up under Gary Pinkel, a new generation of fans are acting like they invented football, according to some adversarial fans. And it will get even worse if they finally win a Big 12 title.
6. Kansas State -- Traditional losers became national powers overnight when Bill Snyder was coaching them. That ascension came a little too quickly to many rivals.
7. Oklahoma State -- Boone Pickens' deep pockets and Mike Gundy's rants aren't the best selling points for a Big 12 wannabe power.
8. Texas A&M -- Their military traditions are the bedrock of support for the school's former students. But the collies, cannons and male cheerleaders are considered borderline strange by opposing fans.
9. Nebraska -- Their historical domination always was tempered by their fans. Vanquished foes always receive polite applause as they leave Memorial Stadium. But a return to dominance under Bo Pelini could shoot them up the hate meter -- particularly if he has a few hot-headed moments like his postgame dust-up with Bill Snyder a few years ago.
10. Texas Tech -- If you believe most of what you read on rival message boards, Mike Leach might be one of the Big 12's most popular coaches because of his well-chronicled idiosyncrasies. It will be interesting to see if that support holds if the Red Raiders fulfill hype and develop into BCS challengers this season.
11. Baylor -- Old Southwest Conference foes still remember the days of Mike Singletary and Walter Abercrombie when Grant Teaff built an enduring, powerful program. But those days are far removed from the present as Big 12 rivals now perceive them merely as permanent South Division cellar-dwellers.
12. Iowa State -- Rooting against the Cyclones is like booing Santa Claus or Lassie. The Cyclones were a popular choice for many Big 12 fans during Dan McCarney's near misses in 2004 and 2005 -- particularly because the Cyclones haven't won a conference title since sharing the Missouri Valley Conference crown in 1912.