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Big 12 May Not Be The Best BCS Conference, But Only The SEC Was Better In 2011

The SEC was undeniably the seat of power in college football again this past season, but the Sporting News ranks the Big 12 as the next best conference.

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Bowl Championship Series logo
Bowl Championship Series logo

Every season, it seems, we hear the in-your-face boasts and constant reminders about how much better the Southeastern Conference is than any other league in the college football universe. And with the last six BCS national championships going to schools who make their home in the SEC, who is about to challenge that claim?

Alabama's surprising 21-0 shutout over previously No. 1-rated LSU in this year's national championship not only extended to six the number of consecutive years a team from the SEC has gone home with college football's coveted top prize, but also marked the first time in the same number of years that an SEC team has lost in the BCS title game. It also marked the first time in the 14-year history of the Bowl Championship Series that two teams from the same conference have been paired against each other in the championship game. (Florida State played Virginia Tech in January 2000. Both are now Atlantic Coast Conference teams, but at the time Virginia Tech was in the Big East.)

So, suffice to say, the SEC stands alone, way ahead of the rest, based on the number of championship banners earned in the BCS era. No other league even comes close. The SEC has won eight of the 14 BCS title games that have been played since 1999. No other conference has won more than two BCS championships, and that conference is the Big 12 (Oklahoma in 2001 and Texas in 2006).

Teams from the SEC also lead the pack in terms of BCS bowl games won among leagues that have appeared in at least five BCS games. As a conference, the SEC has a .700 winning percentage in BCS games, winning 16 out of 23 total BCS games in which an SEC team has appeared. Big 12 teams have appeared in 19 BCS bowl games (led by Oklahoma with eight, including four national championship games), coming out on top in nine of them, including Oklahoma State's dramatic comeback win in the Fiesta Bowl over Stanford this past season. The Pac-12 has a 11-6 BCS record (.650 winning percentage) and ranks behind the SEC among the other BCS conferences.

If you break down the numbers based on winning percentage in all games among teams in BCS conferences over the 14-year history of the BCS, three of the top six teams will be from the Big 12 next season. Oklahoma, 144-40 (.780), ranks second; Texas, with a record of 141-39 (.770), is third; and TCU, which joins the Big 12 for the 2012 season, was 134-40 (.770) and stands sixth for the same period, according to an analysis by Sporting News. Boise State, which becomes part of the Big East in 2012) has the best overall winning percentage in the BCS era with a record of 151-27 (.850).

In ranking the major conferences for the 2011 football season, Roger Kuznia of Sporting News has the Big 12 second behind the SEC.

"LSU and Alabama (faced) each other for the national title, and three others (Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina) had 10-win seasons," Kuzina wrote about the SEC in ranking that conference the best in the land again this past season.

About the Big 12, he wrote: "It had two fewer teams this season, but no league boasted better depth. Texas Tech and Iowa State pulled off upsets against the former No. 1 (Oklahoma) and the No. 2 (Oklahoma State) teams, Kansas State exceeded expectations and Baylor excelled with the game's most exciting player (Robert Griffin III)."

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