Spring football is in the air to whet your appetite just in time for the long hot summer to arrive. This week, we'll take a look at how the Big 12 played out in 2012. For the second consecutive year, a team not named Oklahoma claimed the conference crown and the requisite BCS berth (though the Sooners did share the title). To catch you up, here's a link to last year's Big 12 post.
First here are the 2012 Big 12 standings.
And here are the 2012 Big 12 standings. The standings are sorted by total SDPI with ranking for each
category (out of 10 teams) in parentheses.
To say there was parity in the Big 12 last season would be an understatement. Nine of the league's ten teams finished bowl eligible, and eight concluded the postseason with a winning record. 60% of the teams in the conference finished with either four or five league wins, culminating in quite a log jam as four teams finished tied for fifth place.
So Who Was Better Than Their Record Showed?
Fresh off a season that nearly saw them play for a national title, and their first top-five finish since just after World War II, the Oklahoma State Cowboys were destined to regress. However, their five win conference season could easily have been seven. The Cowboys started three different quarterbacks thanks to a slew of injuries, lost three conference games by a touchdown or less, and finished outside the final polls for the first time since 2009. Rest assured though, Mike Gundy's team has reach a new floor. With more experience and a little better luck in 2013, the Cowboys will be in the running for another league title.
So Who Was Worse Than Their Record Showed?
I've made no secret of my affinity for Kansas State and their legend...wait for it...dary coach Bill Snyder. However, while the Wildcats were certainly a solid team, their statistical profile did not befit a team in contention for the national title until the season's final weeks. Kansas State did the little things well in 2012 to acquire such a sterling record. They forced a league-high 26 turnovers in their nine conference games, while committing a league-low seven for an amazing margin of +19 (Iowa State was second in Big 12 play at +5). While turnovers are somewhat a product of skill, they can be a fickle mistress, and one can be almost certain Kansas State will not post such a spectacular in-conference turnover margin in 2013.
Best Offense: Baylor 1.71
Sans RG3 and a few other former Bears now in the NFL, Baylor actually averaged 19 more yards per game in Big 12 play. The Bears topped 600 yards in five of their nine Big 12 games. Yet, they actually dropped two of those games. What could possibly be the reason for that (foreshadowing)?
Worst Offense: Iowa State -1.28
In a league where offense was the norm, Iowa State was held to twenty or fewer points in four of their nine conference games. Perhaps not surprisingly, their three conference wins all occurred in games where they scored at least 30 points.
Best Defense: TCU 1.53
Their first year in the Big 12 wasn't all they hoped it would be, but TCU still fielded an elite defense. The Horned Frogs held six of their nine league foes to fewer than 400 yards of total offense.
Worst Defense: Baylor -1.34
This is why Baylor lost a pair of games during which they gained over 600 yards (including one where they gained an even 700. Six conference opponents gained at least 500 yards of offense against the Bears.
Life on the Margins
In 2011, Kansas State boasted a fantastic in-conference turnover margin of +13. In 2012, they bettered that number to the tune of +19, giving them a turnover margin of +32 over two conference seasons. That is the largest in-conference turnover margin for a team from a BCS conference over that past eight seasons. Feast your eyes on the Wildcats and the rest of the top-10.