The difference between the two weeks is staggering. Just last week, 818 credentialed members of the media made their way to Birmingham, Alabama to spend the better part of three days watching the Southeastern Conference parade their head coaches and top players off at the SEC Media Days. This week, the Big 12 did the same with the same title in Dallas, Texas. The results weren't even comparable.
Even this week as the Big 12 introduced new members like TCU and West Virginia and new high-profile head coaches like Charlie Weis, the conference still could not make a dent in what the SEC was able to do the week before. Even as the Big 12 was holding press conferences offering new material, quotes and opportunities for the media to check out the most difficult conference in college football top to bottom, ESPN was spending time interviewing SEC coaches one-on-one about the Penn State scandal.
This isn't a slight against the Big 12, but rather a showing that there's really the SEC and nothing else when it comes to media attention in the modern college football scene. The ACC just held their own media days over the weekend and no one blinked. The same will be true of most other conferences, where only regional media will pay much attention unless it's the Big Ten talking about something on the scale of the punishments being doled out to Penn State.
Whether it's fair or not, it's the landscape of college football in today's world. The SEC has a few powers at the top, several middling teams and even some clear bottom-dwellers. The Big 12 by comparison has Kansas at the bottom, but even places last year's BCS contender Kansas State at the preseason No. 6 spot. The reason? The Big 12 is that deep and that good. It's the real grinder of a conference.
For all of the noise being made about the gauntlet of the SEC schedule, the Big 12 can say the same. The only difference is that nobody is listening. The only way to change that is if the SEC is finally upended as the home of the national champion. Until then, every other league -- even one with a new bowl partnership with the SEC -- will live in the shadow of the Southeastern Conference.