2012 BCS AQ Conference Profile: Big 12

BCS Know How is taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2012 season. Our easy-to-digest previews continue with the Big 12, the conference of change. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other conferences.

Conference: Big 12 Conference (Big 12)

Active Since: 1996

Current Member Schools: Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas State Wildcats, Kansas Jayhawks, West Virginia Mountaineers, Baylor Bears, Oklahoma State Cowboys, TCU Horned Frogs, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Longhorns. (10)

Bowl Affiliations: Fiesta Bowl (BCS), Holiday Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl, Cotton Bowl. (7)

2011 Results:
Conference Champion — Oklahoma State
Conference Runner-up — Kansas State
BCS Bowl Results: 2012 Fiesta Bowl — Oklahoma State 41 vs. Stanford 38
Overall Bowl Record: 6-2
Heisman Vote Recipients: Baylor QB Robert Griffin III (Heisman Trophy Recipient)

2012 Outlook: If there is one conference that embodies the churn rate of college football conference affiliation these days, it might as well be the Big 12.

After losing two schools before the 2011 season, the conference lost two more this offseason, as Missouri and Texas A&M vacated the conference for the SEC’s greener pastures. In replacement, the Big 12 recruited West Virginia and TCU to replace the two, keeping the league at a solid 10 teams.

But whereas some conference additions around the country have little chance in their first years in town, the Mountaineers and Horned Frogs look able to compete right away. The Mountaineers bring a tradition of Big East dominance, having visited the BCS three times as Big East representatives, and coming away victorious each time. The Horned Frogs, though not of AQ breeding, have two BCS bids of their own in last two years, claiming a Rose Bowl victory in 2011.

The immediate attention might be focused on the newbies, but traditional powers are here to play as well. Oklahoma looks reinvigorated and many have fingered the Sooners as conference favorites. Kansas State, who had a surprising run to the Cotton Bowl last year look to ride quarterback Colin Klein to national prominence once again. And Oklahoma State, who just missed out on a chance at a national title shot, is back to prove it wasn’t all a fluke.

All in all, though it might be difficult to keep track of what teams actually belong to this conference, the Big 12 looks as strong as ever in 2012.

Heisman Hopefuls: Oklahoma QB Landry Jones, West Virginia QB Geno Smith, Oklahoma State RB Joseph Randle, Kansas State QB Colin Klein, Oklahoma WR Kenny Stills

BCS Know How’s 2012 Predictions:
Conference Champion — Oklahoma Sooners
Conference Runner-up — West Virginia Mountaineers
BCS bids: Oklahoma — Fiesta Bowl; West Virginia — Sugar Bowl
Heisman Finalists — West Virginia QB Geno Smith

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2012 BCS AQ Conference Profile: Big Ten

BCS Know How is taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2012 season. Our easy-to-digest previews continue with the B1G Ten. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other conferences.

Conference: Big Ten Conference (Big Ten, B1G)

Active Since: 1896

Current Member Schools:

Leaders Division: Nebraska Cornhuskers, Michigan Wolverines, Iowa Hawkeyes, Northwestern Wildcats, Michigan State Spartans, Minnesota Golden Gophers
Legends Division: Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Ohio State Buckeyes, Penn State Nittany Lions, Purdue Boilermakers, Wisconsin Badgers (12)

Bowl Affiliations: Rose Bowl (BCS), Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, TicketCity Bowl, Outback Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Gator Bowl (8)

2011 Results:
Conference Champion — Wisconsin Badgers
Conference Runner-up — Michigan State Spartans
BCS Bowl Results: 2012 Rose Bowl — Oregon 45 vs. Wisconsin 38; 2012 Sugar Bowl — Michigan 23 vs. Virginia Tech 20
Overall Bowl Record: 4-6
Heisman Vote Recipients: Wisconsin RB Montee Ball (Fourth Overall); Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson (Ninth Overall)

2012 Outlook: Variations in power within college football conferences are more than ordinary, they’re expected. It’s just the nature of the game these days. But with two league titles and Rose Bowl bids to match in the last two years, Wisconsin is on the verge of creating a more permanent shift. But Badgers beware, the 2012 Big Ten season is sure to put Wisconsin to the test.

After a victory in the conference’s inaugural conference title game, the Badgers were on their way to the BCS again, this time joined in the by Michigan, a surprising 10-2 squad with power to spare. Michigan State similarly provided fireworks at the end of the season, reaching the conference title game and a New Year’s Day bowl. Both look to build upon successful 2011 campaigns in 2012.

Expect traditional powers Nebraska and Ohio State to again rise to the challenge of this changing landscape. Nebraska will look to put its own fingerprints and smudges on the conference championship trophy. And don’t be too surprised if the bowl-ineligible Buckeyes are still able to make some noise under Urban Meyer.

With skill position players such as Denard Robinson, Montee Ball and Taylor Martinez highlighting the conference, this season might be everything the Big Ten could hope for.

Heisman Hopefuls: Michigan QB Denard Robinson, Wisconsin RB Monte Ball, Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez, Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead, Michigan State RB Le’Veon Bell, Ohio State QB Braxton Miller

BCS Know How’s 2012 Predictions:
Conference Champion — Wisconsin Badgers
Conference Runner-up — Michigan Wolverines
BCS bids: Wisconsin — Rose Bowl; Michigan — Fiesta Bowl
Heisman Finalists — Michigan QB Denard Robinson, Wisconsin RB Monte Ball

2012 BCS AQ Conference Profile: Big East


BCS Know How is taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2012 season. Short and sweet previews continue with the eight-team Big East. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other conferences.

Conference: Big East Conference (Big East)

Active Since: 1979

Current Member Schools: Cincinnati Bearcats, Connecticut Huskies, Louisville Cardinals, Pittsburgh Panthers, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Syracuse Orange, South Florida Bulls, Temple Owls. (8)

Bowl Affiliations: BCS Bowl Bid, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl, Belk Bowl, Russell Athletics Bowl, New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Liberty Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl. (7)

2011 Results:
Conference Co-Champions — West Virginia, Cincinnati and Louisville
Conference Runner-up — Rutgers
BCS Bowl Result — 2012 Orange Bowl: West Virginia 70 vs. Clemson 33
Overall Bowl Record: 3-2

2012 Outlook: Three squads split the Big East crown last year, but the conference’s BCS participant — West Virginia — is long gone to the Big 12. So what next for the unstable and comparatively diminutive eight-team Big East?

With a new member school in Temple and a Louisville team that returns much of its co-champion squad from 2011, there’s plenty to be excited about. Add a USF squad that coach Skip Holtz says was five plays away from 10-2, and you might just have the makings of a conference to watch in the 2012 season.

The pall of the Big East being the butt of BCS jokes is in the offing, as the BCS isn’t long for the college football world, but in the remaining two seasons of BCS reign, could the conference see a reawakening and return to national prominence? It’ll have to start in 2012. Stay tuned.

Heisman Hopefuls: Pittsburgh RB Ray Graham, Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater.

BCS Know How’s 2012 Predictions: 
Conference Champion — Louisville Cardinals
Conference Runner-up — Cincinnati Bearcats
BCS bids — Louisville Cardinals — Orange Bowl
Heisman Finalists – None

West Virginia, TCU officially join Big 12 on Sunday

West Virginia and TCU will officially make the switch to the Big 12 on Sunday, marking the latest official move in the seemingly endless train of conference realignment.

West Virginia joins the conference after severing ties with the Big East, while TCU is leaving the cozy comfort of the Mountain West to join the ranks of the misnomered AQ conference.

The two squads replace SEC-bound Missouri and Texas A&M to once again give the conference just 10 member schools.

Both West Virginia and TCU endured some controversy on their way to the Big 12. TCU was originally scheduled for a move to the Big East, but dropped that plan once a spot in the Big 12, a more logical geographic group, opened up. The Big East is suing TCU for reneging on that agreement.

West Virginia left the Big East in a storm of lawsuits and broken agreements, which ends with the school paying the conference a $10-million exit fee, with the Big 12 reportedly kicking an extra $10 million.

The conference membership is now as follows:

Big 12 Conference

Baylor Bears

Iowa State Cyclones

Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas State Wildcats
Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma State Cowboys
TCU Horned Frogs
Texas Longhorns
Texas Tech Red Raiders
West Virginia Mountaineers

2011 BCS AQ Conference Profiles: Big 12

Welcome to the 2011 college football season! BCS Know How will be taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences and five non-AQ conferences with profiles of each conference. We continue with the Big 12. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other 10 conferences.

Conference: Big 12 Conference (Big 12)

Active Since: 1996

Current Member Schools: Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas State Wildcats, Kansas Jayhawks, Missouri Tigers, Baylor Bears, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Longhorns. (10)

Bowl Affiliations: Fiesta Bowl (BCS), Holiday Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, Insight Bowl, Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl, Cotton Bowl. (7)

2010 Results:
Conference Champion – Oklahoma
Conference Runner-up – Nebraska
BCS Bowl Results: 2011 Fiesta Bowl – Oklahoma 48 vs. Connecticut 20
Overall Bowl Record: 3-5
Heisman Vote Recipients: Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon (Fifth Overall)

2011 Outlook: With conferences adding and shuffling teams left and right, the Big 12 seems to have been left behind and somewhat forgotten.

A conference with just 10 teams (although they kept the ‘Big 12’ moniker) might seem destined to fall back into the second-tier of automatically qualifying BCS conferences, but the Big 12 seems ready to pick up right where they left off as a BCS power conference.

In the process, the Big 12 is now a single-division conference and no longer will hold its traditional conference championship game.

Gone might be Nebraska (to the Big Ten) and Colorado (to the Pac-12) but traditional powers Oklahoma and Texas are ready to lead a stacked 10-team conference into the future.

But who will stand up in 2011? Could it be one of those traditional Big 12 powers, or can Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Missouri show what it takes to make the next step in the smaller conference?

2011 Heisman Hopefuls: Oklahoma QB Landry Jones; Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon, Baylor QB Robert Griffin, Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez.

BCS Know How’s 2011 Predictions:
Conference Champion – Oklahoma Sooners
Conference Runner-up – Oklahoma State Cowboys
BCS bids – One: Oklahoma – BCS National Championship Game
Heisman Finalists – Oklahoma QB Landry Jones

2011 BCS AQ Conference Profiles: Big Ten

Welcome to the 2011 college football season! BCS Know How will be taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences and five non-AQ conferences with profiles of each conference. We continue with the Big Ten. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other 10 conferences.

Conference: Big Ten Conference (Big Ten)

Active Since: 1896

Current Member Schools:

Leaders Division: Nebraska Cornhuskers, Michigan Wolverines, Iowa Hawkeyes, Northwestern Wildcats, Michigan State Spartans, Minnesota Golden Gophers
Legends Division: Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Ohio State Buckeyes, Penn State Nittany Lions, Purdue Boilermakers, Wisconsin Badgers.

Bowl Affiliations: Rose Bowl (BCS), Little Caesars Bowl, Insight Bowl, Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl, TicketCity Bowl, Outback Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Gator Bowl. (8)

2010 Results:
Conference Champion – Wisconsin
Conference Runner-up – Ohio State/Michigan State
BCS Bowl Results: 2011 Rose Bowl – TCU 21 vs. Wisconsin 19; 2011 Sugar Bowl – Ohio State 31 vs. Arkansas 26 (Vacated)
Overall Bowl Record: 3-5 (Ohio State’s victory was later vacated)
Heisman Vote Recipients: Michigan QB Denard Robinson (Sixth Overall)

2011 Outlook: If you were to ask a college football pundit to describe the Big Ten’s offseason in a single word, some variation of the word “tumultuous” would likely come up.

That’s what conference realignment, NCAA violations and coaching changes will bring you.

But with a newly redesigned conference (and logo) the 12-team Big Ten seems ready to move on, and move on with what they know how to do best — play some hard-nosed football.

Wisconsin, who surprised some with their Rose Bowl run last season, returns with an opportunity to stake their claim as a true power in the new conference, while teams like Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Penn State look to return to BCS glory of the past.

Ohio State will look to move past the off-season turmoil, and work toward the new Big Ten Conference Championship Game — possible because of the conference’s expansion to 12 teams.

The conference’s new power, Nebraska, will look to make a big statement in its first year in the conference while trying to fight off the best the “Leaders” and “Legends” have to offer to the Huskers.

2011 Heisman Hopefuls: Michigan QB Denard Robinson, Wisconsin RB James White, Wisconsin RB Monte Ball, Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins

BCS Know How’s 2011 Predictions:
Conference Champion – Wisconsin Badgers
Conference Runner-up – Michigan State Spartans
BCS bids – One: Wisconsin – Rose Bowl
Heisman Finalists – None

2011 BCS AQ Conference Profiles: Big East

Welcome to the 2011 college football season! BCS Know How will be taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences and five non-AQ conferences with profiles of each conference. We continue with the Big East. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other 10 conferences.

Conference: Big East Conference (Big East)

Active Since: 1979

Current Member Schools: Cincinnati Bearcats, Connecticut Huskies, Louisville Cardinals, Pittsburgh Panthers, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Syracuse Orange, South Florida Bulls, West Virginia Mountaineers. (8)

Bowl Affiliations: BCS Bowl Bid, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl, Belk Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl, New Era Pinstripe Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl. (7)

2010 Results:
Conference Champion – Connecticut
Conference Runner-up – West Virginia
BCS Bowl Result – 2010 Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma 48 vs. Connecticut 20
Overall Bowl Record: 4-2

2011 Outlook: The Big East has taken a back seat to many of the other automatic qualifying conferences these past few years, and with turmoil, overhaul and unpredictability characterizing the Big East’s off-season, we might see more of the same this year.

Last year’s surprise Big East BCS bid went to Connecticut, but after losing their coach and their star players, nothing is guaranteed to the Huskies.

West Virginia saw turmoil matched only by that of Ohio State’s this off-season, and the traditional Big East power might have trouble re-acclimating themselves to the football landscape.

Could all of that open the doors for recently dormant Pittsburgh or Cincinnati? Or could unheralded USF or Syracuse take advantage?

2011 Heisman Hopefuls: West Virginia QB Geno Smith

BCS Know How’s 2011 Predictions:
Conference Champion – South Florida Bulls
Conference Runner-up – West Virginia Mountaineers
BCS bids – One: South Florida Bulls – Orange Bowl
Heisman Finalists – None