All bowl season long, the Big 12 has performed better than any other conference in the country. Yet it's also clear that they're often overlooked for the sake of other sleeker performers. Yet top to bottom, for those who were paying attention, the Big 12 represented the best overall football conference in the country with the toughest in-conference play as teams beat up on each other. The Fiesta Bowl was the latest cherry on top with only the Kansas State Wildcats to go in Friday night's Cotton Bowl.
Last night's Fiesta Bowl win by the Oklahoma State Cowboys over the Stanford Cardinal was one for the ages. It was not only tremendously entertaining as a football game, but it also showed that OSU deserved to be mentioned alongside the final teams like Alabama and LSU. It makes the championship game that much more silly since the two SEC powers have already played one another. For those who questioned whether OSU could win the big game or not, your answer came last night.
The Big 12 has been doing this since the regular season ended. Baylor put on an offensive clinic to take the Alamo Bowl win. Missouri easily handled the Independence Bowl game against North Carolina. Oklahoma killed Iowa in the Insight Bowl. Texas easily took out Cal in the Holiday Bowl. Texas A&M dominated Northwestern in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Only Iowa State lost their bowl appearance in a loss to Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl. Yet the ability for ISU to reach a bowl game in the first place was completely unexpected.
The bottom line is that the Big 12 featured the best football in the country top to bottom in 2011, and the year should be remembered for that. If Kansas State can beat Arkansas, then the bragging rights will truly be complete since the conference will also have beaten one of the few SEC powers in the process. The Cotton Bowl has a chance to provide the last bit of evidence of Big 12 supremacy, but even if K-State loses, the conference has already established itself as the best overall football conference in the NCAA.