One True Champion. Before advanced statistics and realignment, words meant what they actually mean. Yet, for the ten men representing ten institutions along one of America's best highways and West Virginia, they decided words have no meaning and declared no champions. Many fine schools and Texas A&M have left the Big 12, and after last season, few could be blamed for not wanting to follow a league unwilling to follow its signature commercial.
I cannot quit the Big 12. Its coaches are characters and its characters could probably coach. The league hasn't won a title since 2005, but not since the rising climax of the early sequence of "Willie Wonka and the Charlie Factory" has someone been more deserving of a golden ticket than Oklahoma State was in 2011. Instead, a bunch of nerd sports writers decided they were positive based on 10,000 simulations of a team's Pythagorean triangle formula that Alabama and LSU were the best over a 95% confidence interval. Folks, let's play it on the field. And with that, here is how the Big 12 will finish this season:
1. Baylor- Art Briles. Not since "Friday Night Lights" have I loved a new quarterback more than I like Seth Russell. Beyond Russell, Corey Coleman eats, while Andrew Billings eats more along the D-Line. Baylor will finish 10-2.
1. TCU- Gary Patterson. Two years ago, TCU was like that ex-wife you'd run into at the Applebee’s. You knew she was there. She knew you were there. Yet, you both didn't want to acknowledge the other because you had little to actually talk about anymore. Eventually, you both respected each other more for avoiding each other, and then shocked everyone by going back to what you once had- in TCU's case like the Rose Bowl or with your ex-wife that 2002 Ford Taurus you haggled down- and TCU went 11-1. This year, TCU will go 10-2.
1. Oklahoma State- Mason Rudolph had me from the 4th quarter of the Baylor game. This man has "it." Few teams have the momentum Oklahoma State has from the end of last season. If Oklahoma State's players avoid the beer cave and the Stillwater Chili's, they have a chance to be the best thing to happen on a bus since "Speed." Oklahoma State will go 10-2.
1. Oklahoma- Bob Stoops. He has spent more falls hoisting Big 12 titles than I have spent recording "the Godfather II." Baker Mayfield will challenge Trevor Knight for the QB job, and Oklahoma will finish 10-2.
The Rest: Who cares? Football is a game of winners. We wrote about the pathetic Cleveland Indians in our AL Central preview. I'm not writing about bad football teams.
The Big 12 will have "Four True Champions." Expect Ohio State, the SEC team, and USC to make the playoff. Then, expect the Big 12 champion to once again get excluded from the playoff because the league chickens out and refuses to name a champion or play a championship game. Sure, they have tie-breaker rules, but breaking a four way tie is tougher than figuring out if I violated the Danville Applebee’s ban by selling cassette tapes in the parking lot. I'd love to see two of those four teams battle it for a Big 12 title. Instead, the nerds decided they understood history and a title game would kill the league's champion. Folks, the emperor has no champion. Folks, those boys thought they were going to form a singing French Republic. Instead, the Big 12 will once again have no playoff, no real champion, and be left wondering: what if we just let the teams play?