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Domi-ference (Part the Second)

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This series seeks to settle objectively the question of whether man has a soul which conference, between the SEC and Big 12, can claim dominance over the other thus far in 2008. Part the Second compares the bottom-feeders of the two conferences in a segment I've named Clash of the Tenders. Those tenders are: Mississippi State, Tennessee, Arkansas, Iowa State, Texas A & M, and Baylor.

The question to be determined is what would a match-up be like between, say, Mississippi State, and all the members of the lower class of the Big 12 be like? Well, first of all, it would be totally boring, inconsequential, and uninteresting. Or, perhaps, we should ask which of these six teams would win a hypothetical conference made up only of these six teams. Of course, that would only tell us which of them would be the perennial favorite were that team to join the Big East, it would be a poor measure for deciding which conference is heavier at the bottom (not to be confused with bottom-heavy).

Let's, instead, focus on the particularly impressive and the particularly unimpressive. For example, Baylor's win over Washington State, who certainly would be included in this discussion were the Pac-10 part of our debate, was a 45-17 rout. But, Texas A & M dropped a decision to anonymous Sun Belt team. While, Arkansas tried to do the same against two Sun Belt teams, the SEC should be given credit for taking care of business. With a 3-2 ledger against non-BCS schools that play in Division I-A, the Big 12 trails the SEC's 3-1 record in that category (confining these records, of course, only to wins and losses by the losers here referenced).

Though, it should be noted that four of the six teams - Baylor, Mississippi State, Iowa State, and Arkansas - have played Division I-AA teams. The combined score for SEC teams (Miss. State and Arkansas against SE Louisiana and W. Illinois, respectively) was 62-34, while the Big 12 teams (Iowa State and Baylor) beat their opponents (South Dakota State and Northwestern State) 95-23.

The real saddlebag for the SEC is Arkansas. The real saddlebag for the Big 12 is Texas A & M. So, it's probably instructive for my totally objective decision that I feel pretty confident in the Aggies ability to beat the Hogs. Meanwhile, Tennessee, which should be the greatest among the least, does not inspire in me the confidence that they could handle Baylor, which has shown flashes of respectability. An important factor to note is that, despite the worst things you can say about the Big 12 teams, they have shown some ability to score points. Such kind words might be laid upon Arkansas, but certainly not Mississippi State or Tennessee. And there is nothing impressive about the Vol or Hog defenses.

The SEC may indeed be deep, but at the bottom of the ocean, COWBOY CONFERENCE seems to be the dominant species.