Happy Holidays to all, isn't it a wonderful life?
The Oklahoma State Cowboys sit right in the middle of THE toughest football conference in the nation.
Rex Grossman, who? The SEC what? Isn't the SEC a government group that protects the stock market and its investors?
Move over, Chairman Harvey Pitt. This is the Big 12 Conference, and we protect quarterbacks here.
The Big 12 had nine teams that were bowl-eligible this season. No other conference came close. If that doesn't say the competition is stiff, what does? When cellar-dwellar teams are surrounded by the likes of Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Nebraska – what isn't there to fear?
The combined record for those eight teams is 69-31. The top four – OU, CU, UT and KSU have only ten losses collectively. Put that together with 40 wins, and it looks like we have a clear-cut choice for the most talented conference in all the land.
The conference also boasted seven teams in the Top 25 at one point in the 2002 season.
Powerhouse Oklahoma is back, but even it isn't considered the hands down best in the league, despite its clinching of the Big 12 championship.
That alone speaks volumes of the quality of teams and players the conference boasts.
Coaching vacancies throughout the nation are proving that the Big 12 has the best leaders. With OSU's Les Miles in consideration for the Alabama job, Cowboy offensive coordinator Mike Gundy finding his name in a Tulsa hat and 2002 Nebraska defensive coordinator Craig Bohl being courted by nearly every athletic director in the country – it solidifies the respect that the football world has for the Big 12.
And, no one even mentioned the legend that was fired at Texas A&M.
Obviously, fourteen winning seasons wasn't enough for former Aggie head coach R.C. Slocum to get job security. If a 123-47-2 record isn't up-to-par with Big 12 standards, then the standard is even higher than fans think.
Evidently, the tables are turning quickly. Big 12 programs will now stop at nothing to be the best, even when it comes to canning a football genius like Slocum.
Fans of the conference should stand proud daily. Especially when nine of the 12 teams were eligible for bowls. Leaning on the water-cooler, next to the '93 Florida grad's cubicle has never been sweeter. Jokes don't need to be told any longer, there is no need for in-depth arguments with Sam from Tennessee – because it is common knowledge which conference owns college football.
The Big 12 does.
Now, here comes the difficult part.
If we take pride in what we have become – we need to embrace it. Sounds too easy, eh? Well, wait until the explanation is complete.
If fans want to continue the trend of cheering on the most glorious, talented and toughest conference in the mother-land – they need to show allegiance around the horn.
The regular season is over. OSU is no longer competing with OU and Texas Tech for the Big 12 South title, Colorado is no longer hating on the Sooners, the Longhorns are finished dominating the Aggies until next year.
Point: Now is the time to root for your brothers.
Hope and pray that OU takes home a bouquet of roses from Pasedena. Pull for the Wildcats to get a good wave in San Diego, and surf home with the bacon.
Plead with Santa for the Buffs to take back the Alamo, the Huskers to regain Independence, Kingsbury and the Techsters to munch on tasty Tangerines, the Horns to pick some major Cotton, and the Cyclones to brave the cold in Boise.
A Big 12 sweep would mean a recruiting buffet, stretching from California to Idaho, and from Houston to Orlando.
To continue the enjoyment in the Big 12, hope for the best.
Hope that the money keeps rolling in, and the recruits keep visiting.
The only way to keep those braggin' rights? Root for your enemies, for their wins are what help OSU and its Big 12 counterparts in the recruiting race with Arkansas, Georgia, Florida and the rest of the SEC.
As hard as it may be, OSU fans need to put on the rally caps if Washington State starts to run away with Oklahoma's game on Jan. 2.
The only way to stay at the top is to strive for the top.
Break out the Christmas turkey's wishbone, close your eyes, and wish for a very merry Big 12 holiday.
Brandi Ball can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your feedback is welcomed and encouraged.