I don’t like the guy, and I’d wager you don’t like him either - but Baker Mayfield marched Oklahoma into The Horseshoe and beat Ohio State. That game could prove pivotal should the Big 12 have a team in the playoff conversation. I know we’re early in the season, but we’ve seen West Virginia go toe to toe with Virginia Tech, TCU whoop Arkansas, Texas play well against USC, and our Red Raiders execute against two notable foes. While Texas Tech fans more/less hate everyone else, we do care about results that better our own interests. So, if Iowa State looking respectable means we might land better recruits in the future - then we can get down with that.
While some might argue that Baylor’s decline is a negative result for the conference, I’d have to strongly disagree. The Big 12 commands the most respect when the large public institutions are rolling. Your Texas’, Texas Tech (can you believe we have 37k students now?), Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and Oklahomas’ need to be relevant. When our flag bearers are TCU and Baylor, we’re in a rough spot. On a public stage, wouldn’t you rather have West Virginia with 60k+ fans in a fan-striped stadium over people seeing Baylor’s rinky dink 40k person stadium that’s about to get a new tarp….?
I’m also sick of the SEC chants. The whole, we put more people into the NFL argument is annoying - well, yeah, you have 14 teams. Meanwhile, the Big 12 has 10 teams. Teams like LSU, Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee are perennial contenders. But, guess what, all of those teams have their downs as well. Remember the times when Urban Meyer had Florida winning back to back National Championships? Or, Tennessee winning titles with Tee Martin (lol Peyton Manning)? Neither of those teams today are much different/greater than Kansas State or West Virginia. Sure, Alabama is rolling, and they’re going to be in the conversation for the foreseeable future. But, they’ll fall to the wayside in the next 4-5 years, that’s how it goes.
Based on the above argument, I’ve also got some bad news for the haters of Texas. Guess what, the Longhorns assuredly will be good again. Money is undefeated over time - if it’s not Tom Herman, it’ll be someone else, and eventually they’ll get UT back. As awkward as this is going to sound to everyone, but this doesn’t hurt Texas Tech one bit. Of course, we’ll occasionally land a Jack Anderson or a Michael Crabtree - but that’s not our typical target. You know who hurts our program more than anyone? Teams like Mississippi State and Missouri. We’re not going to be in regular contention with Texas or Oklahoma for recruits (even though OU does like to go after our commits…). But, we regularly square up with Mississippi State and Missouri for the high end 3-Star talent that you build your programs on. Want some examples? Look at Dylan Cantrell’s offer list, Devin Brumfield’s, or Quan Shorts. We beat out fellow P5 schools for high quality players who are the current/future foundation of this team.
If those guys are going to the SEC, then we’re likely grabbing our Tier 3 options.
So, I know the above rant veered all over the place - from the Big 12 being back, the trickle down impact, and how the nature of college football is cyclical. Our place amongst the contenders is dependent upon the Big 12 rising, the public institutions staking their claim towards the upper echelon of the conference, and then some fortunate breaks on scheduling/talent/coaching - and maybe oh maybe we’ll be in the talk once again. Could the stars be aligning this year? Maybe.