Goodbye Big 12 Football, It Was Fun Dominating You

Oklahoma made a habit of winning Big 12 Championship Games. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

In the world of athletics there will always be opinions. For example, Texas Longhorn fans still think that Garret Gilbert is a great quarterback and Landry Jones is a bum. That is an opinion, and a very bad one at that I might add. Then there are the facts in athletics that will stand the test of time. The difference? Facts can always be supported by evidence and opinions are usually defended with, "Yeah but..." Fact is, Oklahoma was the most dominant football team of the Big 12 Conference as we knew it.  

When Texas A&M plays LSU in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night it will draw to a close football as we've known it. Beginning in 2011 there will no longer be a conference championship game and age old rivals Colorado and Nebraska are moving on. The changes make the Big 12 inferior to the SEC and the newly revamped Big 10 and Pac 10 conferences. I think you can throw the ACC in there as well. However, what it also does is solidify the Sooners as the team that ruled the Big 12 (when the conference was at its strongest) with an iron fist. 

Of the 12 teams that comprise the conference, five of them (Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech) never made it to the conference championship game. They would get the Big 12 participation award because they played in the conference but didn't really matter. Well, except for Texas Tech. They also get a special award for the temper-tantrum, wet my diaper and cry like a baby fit they gave Texas in 2008. 

There were a total of 15 Big 12 Conference Championship games played from 1996 to 2010. Of the seven teams to play in those games the Missouri Tigers are the only team to have never won (0-2) while Oklahoma and Texas are the only teams to have a winning record in the championship game. Nebraska has the dubious distinction of losing the first ever Big 12 championship game (37-27 to Texas) and losing the final championship game (23-20 to Oklahoma). The Huskers did win the Big 12 in 1997 and in 1999 and made a total of six appearances in the tittle game which is the second most of any school. 

The Texas appeared the third most times in the title game with a record of 3-2. The Longhorns beat Nebraska in `96 and again in 2009 while also beating Colorado in 2005. Those would be the common opponents for Texas in the championship game and would give the Longhorns their two losses (Nebraska in `99 and Colorado in `01).

There was a shift in power in the Big 12 in 1999 when Bob Stoops arrived on the scene as Oklahoma's head coach. He took the Sooners to their first title game in 2000 and beat the 8th ranked Kansas State Wildcats 27-24. Over the next ten years Stoops Troops would appear seven more times in the Big 12 Championship Game, winning six of them.

Oklahoma's Big 12 Football Championship Appearances

Year Opponent Result
2000 Kansas St.  W 27-24
2002 Colorado W 29-7
2003 Kansas St. L 35-7
2004 Colorado W 42-3
2006 Nebraska W 21-7
2007 Missouri W 38-17
2008 Missouri W 62-21
2010 Nebraska W 23-20

The Oklahoma Sooners have appeared in more than half the Big 12 championship games and their seven wins are more than anyone else even has in appearances in the game. They literally averaged winning it just about every other year and when you consider that Oklahoma has won seven of the last eleven championship games you really get a true picture of the dominance.

Everything changes next season as the conference gets watered downs and goes to a round-robin format. What the future has in store for the Big 12 Conference and the teams that comprise is quite uncertain but there is one thing we all can know for sure. When it comes to football this conference belongs to Oklahoma. That, my friends, is a fact!  

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