User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
In 1 year, Big 12 goes from turmoil to terrific

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - In the span of a year, the Big 12 has gone from turmoil to terrific on television once again.

Advertisement
A conference whose football future was uncertain with the defections of Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M and Missouri over the past two years has landed squarely on its feet.

The Big 12 has two teams in the top 10 and is the only conference to have eight schools with one or fewer losses. (The Southeastern Conference has seven).

No. 5 West Virginia and No. 6 Kansas State are the early front-runners in the Big 12 standings, with No. 13 Oklahoma and No. 15 Texas trying to keep pace while settling the Red River rivalry in Dallas on Saturday.

``I think the league is stronger now than it has been in a long time,'' Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Monday.

It might have been hard to imagine this a year ago, considering the Big 12 could've gone bust.

``We've gone from possibly not having a league, to having an unstable league, to having a league that wasn't getting along, to having as stable a league as anyone with great football teams in it, great sports programs across the country,'' Texas coach Mack Brown said. ``We're right at the top of conferences right now. This league has got more parity at the top than ever before.''

In September 2011, Texas A&M's announcement that it was leaving the Big 12 to seek SEC membership sparked a new round of positioning. Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech were considering a potential move to the Pac-12 until that league announced it would not expand.

Shortly after that, embattled Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe was dumped and the nine remaining member schools committed to healing.

``Nobody knew what was going to happen,'' Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. ``You kept hearing Pac 12, everybody being independent, form our own league. The uncertainty was just unbelievable. And just the last year has enabled us to be solidified as a conference.''

A year ago Wednesday, TCU pulled an about-face and decided to make the Big 12 - not the Big East - its new home. The Big 12 then mulled over whether West Virginia or Louisville was the proper candidate for expansion before settling on the Mountaineers. In early November, Missouri made it clear it was moving to the SEC.

In May, Bob Bowlsby was named Big 12 commissioner. And last month, the conference announced a new 13-year deal with ESPN and Fox Sports.

``I feel better now than I've ever felt about this conference,'' Tuberville said.

When things got settled after two restless summers, the redrawn Big 12 was essentially the same - high-scoring offenses, questionable defenses and Heisman hype. Four Big 12 offenses are among the top seven passing teams in the FBS. Five are in the top nine in third-down efficiency.

This much is known - West Virginia likes the way it fits in.

The Mountaineers (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) set a lofty goal of winning the conference championship right away, but that's way too far in the distance to contemplate. For starters, West Virginia must get through one of its toughest October schedules after going 28-8 in the month over the previous decade.

After beating ranked teams Baylor and Texas in successive weeks, West Virginia travels to Texas Tech (4-1, 1-1) on Saturday before returning home for an Oct. 20 showdown with co-leader Kansas State (5-0, 2-0).

``I've got some guys that believe,'' said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. ``I like the way this team plays together.''

Tuberville, who lost to West Virginia when he coached at Auburn in 2008, gets another crack at the Mountaineers on Saturday. What he'll see is a much different foe.

Back then, West Virginia relied heavily on the run. Under second-year coach Holgorsen, quarterback Geno Smith is averaging 399 yards passing per game, has thrown 24 touchdown passes and no interceptions.

``They've got a real good one,'' Tuberville said. ``He does a good job of spreading the ball around. He's a cool guy in terms of just under pressure. I've been very impressed.''

There are seven teams with one league loss, but that number will certainly dwindle on Saturday.

Kansas State travels to Iowa State (4-1, 1-1), while it's Texas (4-1, 1-1) against Oklahoma (3-1, 1-1) at the Cotton Bowl, TCU (4-1, 1-1) at Baylor (3-1, 0-1) and Oklahoma State (2-2, 0-1) at Kansas (1-4, 0-2).

``Everybody understands how competitive it is and everybody seems to want to be a part of that,'' said Kansas State coach Bill Snyder. ``I think perhaps that adds to the stability of the conference. I think the people who are in the conference want to be in the conference. That's the important thing.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Edwards: 2014 ACC Predictions
Nelson: September Situations
Edwards: 2014 Big 12 Predictions
Marshall: Team to Watch - Marshall
Edwards: 2014 Pac-12 Predictions
Lawrence: 2014 Sun Belt Preview
Blankenship: Fade Alert - Ohio
Edwards: 2014 SEC Predictions
Marshall: Team to Watch - UNC
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA FB College Football Expert Sports Picks-
2013 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1921
Joe Nelson + 1446
Bruce Marshall + 1350
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last Week  
   
   
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Joe Nelson 60 %
Doc's Sports 57 %
Joe Williams 57 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1312
Brian Edwards + 580
James Manos + 443
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1283
Jimmy Boyd + 966
James Manos + 756
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mike Rose + 1100
Doc's Sports + 1090
Joe Nelson + 940
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!