Big 12 a danger to future recruiting for Oklahoma (Part Two)


As we discussed in the previous article, Oklahoma doesn’t appear to be in serious danger from the lack of NFL first round selections in this year’s previous draft in terms of recruiting. The program does produce Pro Bowl caliber players who were not first round draft picks.

Oklahoma consistently produces great football players. One year of zero first round picks is not going to kill them. Next year, OU could very well have multiple first rounders. However, a question I wanted to address: Could Oklahoma be hurting themselves as a member of the Big 12 over the coming years?

Jan 2, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron (10) is sacked by Oklahoma Sooners defensive tackles Jordan Wade (93) and Chuka Ndulue (98) during the second half of the Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Depends. That’s right, I used a cop out answer. Deal with it. I’ll explain why; The Big 12 at this time is a conference that is not looked at as “stable”. Let’s take a look at what we lost over the past few years.

The Big 12 lost the Nebraska Cornhuskers, a traditional power who hasn’t had the same level of success in the Big Ten Conference. They also lost Colorado Buffaloes, a team on the decline when they were in the Big 12 but their misfortunes have carried over in the Pacific 12 Conference. Those two teams did not appear to have quite as much success as they had hoped, but both teams have been powers in the Big 12.

The surprises were the Big 12 teams that jumped shipped to the SEC. The Aggies of Texas A&M lit the SEC on fire, taking down the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in its inaugural SEC season and beating Oklahoma pretty soundly in the 2013 Cotton Bowl Classic. The Mizzou Tigers were somewhat down the year before and after they joined the SEC. Fast forward to year two in the SEC, and the Tigers earned a bid to the 2013 SEC Conference Championship Game, facing the Auburn Tigers in one heck of a game.

Say what you will, those two Big 12 schools found success in their new SEC home. Either having that brand name helped these teams, or what Bob Stoops said about the lower tier teams is pretty much true. I am pretty much leaning towards what Stoops said being true. Texas A&M played Big 12 style football with Big 12 athletes and has been successful in their first two years in the SEC. Mizzou, did pretty much the same in its second year.

Losing Texas A&M and Missouri appeared to be a major loss of power. The Big 12 picked up a TCU Horned Frogs team that wasn’t that far out from winning a Rose Bowl. They also picked up a solid West Virginia Mountaineers program from the Big East. However, both teams have been on the downward slide.

Teams using that in the recruiting war, could very well use that against teams in the Big 12, including Oklahoma. This conference doesn’t have much in the ways of showcasing your ability. The conference is unstable, multiple good teams have left and joined other conferences. Why would you want to play a down for those schools? Thankfully Oklahoma has the pedigree of a champion, and the history to stave off such talk.

Oklahoma bounced back in 2013. The Sooners went from being a record setting defense for all the wrong reasons against Johnny Football to thrashing the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide. That thrashing of Bama gained several players attention that might not have joined the team had Oklahoma lost like they was supposed to according to the national “experts.” On the flip side, OU already had several verbal decommitments. It’s over a year out, though, and I don’t worry about it unless someone decommits just before National Signing Day.

That explains the cop out answer: depends. Should Oklahoma, and other Big 12 school have success during the regular season and the post season, the winning will help the Big 12 take care of itself. Should the conference struggle, even with a successful Oklahoma, that could pose problems in regards of strength of schedule, making it more difficult to get into the new College Football Playoff. A successful non-conference campaign against top talent, would alleviate that, which Oklahoma generally schedules tougher non-conference games than other schools. Every conference will struggle. The SEC has seen dark days too you know. They will see dark days again.

Oklahoma at the end of the day, regardless if they are members of the Big 12, Pac 12, SEC, have to win to continue to be successful. Not only during the regular season, but in the postseason against the best programs the other power conferences have to offer. What ever conference that might happen to be in the next 5-10 years.