It makes for an interesting debate. Which is the best college football conference, the SEC or the Big 12. Both have five teams in the top 13 the latest AP college football poll.
Big 12: 3. Oklahoma, 6. Missouri, 8. Texas, 12. Texas Tech, 13. Kansas.
This week, I asked several network analysts for their thoughts on the question. Colin Cowherd, talk show host for ESPN Radio, was the only to pick the Big 12 as the best conference.
Colin Cowherd: I think the Big 12 is the best conference this year. I think the SEC, because they lost some good quarterbacks, has been knocked down a couple of pegs. For the record, I think the Big Ten is going to be better than expected.
Todd Blackledge: I would still say the SEC is the best. I saw it up close for seven years (while at CBS). I think the overall team speed and the strength defensively to go with the speed on offense is what kind of sets them over the top, plus how difficult all the places are to play at. There is no easy venues to play at. This year, the Big 12 is the second best. Team in and team out, I don’t think the defenses are at the same level as the SEC, but offensively, they are very, very explosive. They have some excellent quarterbacks, and offensively, maybe a notch ahead of the SEC right now. The SEC only has two or three returning quarterbacks. It’s more of a defensive-oriented conference.
Spencer Tillman: The SEC is probably the strongest, but I don’t think anyone can refute the strength of the quarterback play of the Big 12 across the board. By far and away as a conference, it has the strongest set of quarterbacks. Period. If you think the college game is very much a coaches’ game and a quarterbacks’ game, then I think you really have to listen and give pause to any notion that the Big 12 isn’t neck-and-neck with the SEC in that regard.
Tim Brando: I agree totally with Spencer. The Big 12 is the only conference out there this year that really offers a legimiate, from top to bottom, a bit of competition to the SEC. I don’t think there is balance in the Pac 10, Big 10 and certainly not in the ACC. The Big East may be balanced, but it’s struggling a little bit out of the gate. The Big 12 might be right on the SEC’s heels largely because of experience at quarterback. You can name a half-dzen guys who might be in the top 25 in passing by midseason this year.