As some of you may have noticed, Matt and I tend to fall on opposite sides of an argument on a pretty regular basis. If you're already familiar with that, you're very likely also familiar with the fact that I've built myself a bit of a reputation here as our resident pessimist while Matt frequently tends to take a more positive outlook on things. Certainly not a bad thing, in fact it's one of the things that makes this site (and others like it) such an enjoyable place to hang out. We can argue different sides of things while keeping it respectful, but at the end of the day we're all still OU fans and we all still share that common allegiance.
Building off of those facts, we decided it might be a good idea for us to take our opposing view points and debate particular subjects to help pass the time this offseason. With several relevant topics in the news as of late, we chose to kick this off with last week's news of the Big 12 and SEC partnership. But we'll also be addressing specific areas of this Oklahoma football team in coming editions (assuming you all don't boo us off the stage with this new "experiment") as well.
So without further adieu . . .
In our first foray into this new series of posts, Matt will be arguing against the excitement of last week's Big 12/SEC agreement while I will be arguing in favor. Here we go.
Matt: On the Big XII/SEC bowl agreement I'm not as excited as everyone else seems to be. I think its good for the conference in terms of revenue and exposure but for the college football fans its not going to give us the marquee match-ups as advertised.
Jordan: I'm not sure why you wouldn't be excited??? The Big 12 is doing something progressive, which in and of itself is a major development based on the prior leadership within the conference. It's also aligning itself with what is easily, from a public perspective, the best conference in the country. So affiliating yourself with that level of success is a borderline coup for the Big 12 in my opinion. It's about so much more than just this game, it's about the relationship between the two conferences and all the exciting things that could develop from it.
I guess I also disagree with your take on it not providing marquee matchups. At worst, it's going to pair the respective conference's second best teams (barring an instance where either lands two in the four team playoff we seem destined for). The Cotton Bowl, which is the most frequent reference for this game at the moment, never featured the SEC's second best team in the past. I think it's prety easy to envision a scenario where say someone other than OU and Alabama win the Big 12/SEC, but both finish second in their respective conference. Then say, the Pac 12 and B1G take the other two playoff spots. Well now, based on how I understand this works, you've got your "marquee matchup" featuring two of the most historic programs in the country.
Who isn't watching that game?
Matt: Oh, I'd definitely be watching it...just not very often. The playoff format is going to take the top four teams, regardless of conference, and honestly there won't be very many times the marquee schools of the conferences won't make that.
Take last season for example. LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State and Stanford all would have made the playoffs which would have given us Kansas State and Arkansas in the Champions Bowl. The 2010 season would have worked out alright, but still not champions playing each other though with Oklahoma and South Carolina, and 2009 would have included Alabama and Texas in the playoffs so you'd get Nebraska vs. Florida in the bowl game. In my opinion that's one marquee match-up out of three.
I get the other factors that are involved here and I agree that they are good for the conference and am honestly excited about those intangibles. I'm just not excited about the game itself because it will seldom be better than anything that we currently have between the two conferences.
Jordan: I think you're getting hung up on the word "champion." You're right in that the chances are minuscule at best that the champ in the Big 12 and the champ in the SEC will ever meet in this game, but that wouldn't prevent it from still being a great game. To your point, while OU vs. South Carolina might not have been a "marquee" game wouldn't it have been better than OU vs. UConn? Me thinks so.
Also to your point, last year w/ Bama and LSU both in the top four certainly doesn't happen every year. So while you're again correct in that your example from last year isn't a great one in terms of matchups, it was also a rarity in that fact it played out like that.
Matt: I get hung up on the word "champion" because that's how they're promoting this deal and we're only going to see the actual champions play each other on an average of once every eight years.
I'm completely on board with all the behind the scenes benefits of a game like this. I think its great for the conference and sends a clear message to the rest of the college football world. However, the game itself doesn't excite me anymore than the Cotton Bowl already did.
Honestly, let's call it what it is, if the two conference champions are actually playing in this bowl game after the four team playoff starts the it was a bad season for both the S.E.C. and the Big XII.
Jordan: No question it would be a bad year, I think horrible would even be more than fair. Believe me, I understand where you're coming from with the "champion" talk but that was just to get the headlines and to get people talking (which, by the way, it was an unquestioned success). I guess we just have a different definition of what a "marquee" game is then.
For me, OU vs. S.Carolina falls under that category when you compare it to OU vs. UConn. And I think the odds of it being a "marquee" game more years than it won't are much higher, which again can only be a good thing for the Big 12.
Odds are it's going to be the most talked about non-playoff bowl game, which you can all but guarantee because it will involve the SEC and we're all painfully aware of the love affair between them and the national media. So again, good for the Big 12.
I guess I understand if you simply can't get past the "champion" part of this, but I really think that is just a short sided approach to this. Who cares if it's never champion vs. champion, as they initially billed it, if the end result is better bowl games, bigger exposure, and a power seat at the negotiating table?
We'll leave it up to you all to decide a "winner" if you want to take it there, but as with most of what we do here this is as much about you voicing your opinions on the subject. So let your voice be heard in the comments. Let the arguing commence!