Big 12 Conference History

The Big 12 is one of the NCAA’s major sports conferences. The conference was established in 1994, absorbing the previous Big Eight Conference and adding additional teams from the Southwest conference before beginning conference play in 1996. With the shifts in teams, both in and out of the conference, the Big 12 now has ten members, but is not to be confused with the Big Ten, which incidentally has twelve members. The Big 12 fields twenty-one total sports. The conference has been in a recent state of flux, losing charter members Colorado, Nebraska, Texas A&M, and Missouri, while adding TCU and West Virginia. The Big 12 teams have a total of eighteen national titles in football, including three since the start of Big 12 play in 1996. In the short span of Big 12 football, the conference has also had five Heisman Trophy winners, including Rick Williams, Sam Bradford, and Robert Griffin. The Big 12 Conference Champion receives an automatic bid into the Fiesta Bowl, one of major BCS bowl games.

Big 12 Teams and Rivalries

The Big 12 is made up of ten universities: Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas Christian (TCU), Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, and West Virginia. Eight of the current members have been in the conference since its 1996 inception season, while West Virginia and TCU didn’t begin Big 12 play until the 2012 football season. Oklahoma and Texas have historically been the two most dominant Big 12 powers; Oklahoma has compiled seven conference championships to Texas’s three. Other Big 12 schools have not established the football pedigree, with Iowa State and Kansas among the teams that often don’t find themselves in contention. The Big 12 also has many strong rivalries between its members, many dating back to before the Big 12’s organization. The most famous of these rivalries is the “Red River Rivalry,” which has been played between Texas and Oklahoma since 1900. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have long competed in the “Bedlam Series” and Kansas and Kansas State have play each other in the “Sunflower Showdown” among others.

Big 12 Champion and Bowls

Prior to 20011, the Big 12 had used a two division structure in which the North and South division winners would play in the Big 12 Championship Game for the conference title. However, the departure of some of its member led the Big 12 to stop play of its championship game and cease use of the division. The NCAA does not allow championship games in conferences with fewer than twelve teams. The Big 12 champion is now determined by conference record, with the winner awarded a bid in the Fiesta Bowl. There are a total of seven bowl games tied in to the Big 12. The conferences second place team plays against an SEC opponent in the Cotton Bowl, while the third place Big 12 team plays the Pac 12 runner up in the Alamo Bowl.

Big 12 Region

The ten Big 12 teams span five states, with eight of the twelve located in Texas (4), Oklahoma (2), and Kansas (2). The outliers to the Big 12’s geography are Iowa State and West Virginia. The regional proximity of the universities lends itself to many rivalries. The Big 12 is also located in the same region as much of the nation’s top high school talents, with many Texas athletes opting to play in nearby schools.

Big 12 Conference Betting

The Big 12 lends itself to many great bets throughout the college season and can be a highly profitable division for college football bettors. The many rivalry games and conference play offer dozens of regular season bets. With seven Big 12 teams competing annually in bowl games, the postseason is also a great time for Big 12 bettors. The Fiesta Bowl is among the most bet on college football games every season. Track Big 12 recruiting and news on to best understand which teams are the strongest in the Big 12.