R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me.
In 1967 little known gospel singer Aretha Franklin rocketed into fame by rehashing Respect by Otis Redding. 50 years later it is time the Big 12 flips the script on the disrespect it has been getting.
True, last season didn’t get off to the best start. Oklahoma lost to Houston and Ohio State. Oklahoma State lost to Central Michigan. Kansas State lost to Stanford. Iowa State lost to Northern Iowa. TCU struggled with South Dakota State and then lost to Arkansas. Kansas lost to two MAC schools. And, Texas Tech lost to Arizona State. The only bright spot was Texas’ win over what would turn out to be a bad Notre Dame squad.
However, by the bowl season much of the Big 12 had turned it around. While West Virginia flopped and TCU crumbled, the four other bowl-eligible teams scored good to great wins. Baylor dismantled a top Boise State team. Kansas State took down Texas A&M. Oklahoma State took Colorado behind the woodshed. And OU capped it all off by depantsing Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. Again, all quality wins against other conferences’ top-tier teams.
However, this offseason has been filled with storylines about how bad the Big 12 is. About how close the conference is to collapse. About how every school with a recognizable brand is wanting out. About how it cannot develop players for the NFL. And, how little money it makes compared to the SEC – conveniently leaving out the Big 12 school’s third tier rights, and the cash boondoggle those bring. In effect, about how the Big 12 is the weakest of the Power Five conferences. Now, the Vegas over/under lines are coming out, and the disrespect keeps coming.
CG Technology, a Las Vegas sports book operator, has released the projected over/under win totals for 50 schools, including seven Big 12 schools.
Oklahoma – 9.5
Oklahoma State – 9
Kansas State – 7.5
Texas – 7.5
West Virginia – 7
TCU – 7
Texas Tech – 6
To be fair Alabama and Ohio State are the only schools above Oklahoma with o/u lines of 10.5 and 10 respectively. However, that the top three schools in the Big 12 are projected to have an average of only 8.6 – let’s call it 8.5 – wins is a slap to the face of the entire conference. Both the Sooners and the Cowboys are bringing back Heisman contenders in their respective quarterbacks. Kansas State may be hosting Bill Snyder’s last hurrah and brings back a tough and disciplined team that should wine up with 10 wins instead of 7. And West Virginia was a 10-win team last year, and believes they have the quarterback this year to get over the hump.
All-in-all, I, for one, cannot wait until September rolls around and the Big 12 starts posting hides on its wall.