Our Conference Mock Draft: Big 12 Edition

Our Conference Mock Draft: Big 12 Edition

Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska! We're gonna get the band back together!

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Nostalgia doesn’t fix everything. Looking at a photo of your ex won’t bring them back. They’re likely off with Claude, galavanting around the South of France.

However, this is a fantasy draft, so reality has no basis here, and I’m free to think that what worked for the Big 8 for decades and subsequently the Big 12 for a few years will work again.

I don’t care about revenue or sexy matchups. The whole goal of my draft was to reset the Big 12 to its origin, so when I look at the schedule, it’s full of hated-yet-familiar foes.

There’s a price to pay for progress, but what’s going on with realignment isn’t progress. It’s a mad dash to secure the biggest bag, and fuck all that. I want that old thing back.

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1. Texas

1. Texas

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The number that you should keep in mind when reading these blurbs is 3,332. That’s the total number of football games the teams in my OG Big 12 have played against each other. I was able to draft every team (other than Texas Tech) from the expanded Big 12 that broke up after Texas refused to sign a TV rights deal because it wanted to launch the stupid ass Longhorn Network. That channel still exists, but it’ll be interesting to see for how much longer, with Texas’ upcoming move to the SEC, which also has its own network in partnership with ESPN.

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2. Oklahoma

2. Oklahoma

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There’s not really much to expand on why I picked the teams I did. If the school was in the Big 8 or the Big 12 before shit got wonky with the likes of West Virginia and TCU, I drafted them. I was lucky enough to have a perfect draft position because no one was taking Texas in the top 3, and Oklahoma isn’t a sexy enough school to draft without its Red River Rivalry partner.

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3. Texas A&M

3. Texas A&M

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The key to my draft was grabbing Texas A&M before other people realized they didn’t have any Texas representation. While that did happen, it occurred later in the draft when Eric Blum decided his misshapen conference could use the Red Raiders. Whatever, I’m not bitter, and I’m sure this will never come up again.

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4. Nebraska

4. Nebraska

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I overvalued the Huskers because I overvalue Nebraska football. At the time, I didn’t think they should’ve gone to the Big Ten, and I guess I was wrong because now they aren’t left scrambling like the Big 12 programs that weren’t prestigious enough to qualify for the Big Ten. So I guess kudos are in order for grasping at the correct coattails.

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5. Missouri

5. Missouri

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This is where I should’ve drafted Texas Tech and then Baylor, but Blum covered Mizzou athletics so I wasn’t sure where they were on his draft board. Plus, there was this premium put on SEC teams, which is fine if it’s LSU or Tennessee or Florida, but people were going after Ole Miss and Mississippi State, so my hand was forced. Also, I’m pretty sure the Tigers haven’t even received their SEC membership card yet.

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6. Oklahoma State

6. Oklahoma State

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There are teams that should never be separated from each other. The relationship is so reliant on the other that if the symbiotic bond was severed, one or both would wither and die. That’s what’s happening with Bedlam. I’m sure the Sooner-Cowboy rivalry will live on, but the games carry additional weight when there’s more at stake than bragging rights. There have been plenty of times when Oklahoma has rolled into Stillwater with larger aspirations only to have claw and scratch to fend off an onslaught of orange and black. If Bedlam survives, who knows how much juice the Sooners will have to avoid an always-possible upset.

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7. Baylor

7. Baylor

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In retrospect, opting for Baylor instead of Texas Tech was fine. The Bears captured a basketball title a couple of seasons ago, and won the conference last season in football. Had Robert Griffin III not saved the program, Texas Tech would’ve been the easy choice. Yeah, it felt a little greasy reaching my hand into the knapsack to wrangle something associated with Art Briles, but it was a necessary evil.

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8. Kansas

8. Kansas

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I know why Texas and Oklahoma are leaving the conference, I just think it’s a massive mistake. The route those teams have to the playoff — if Texas could ever regain the glancing bit of success it had under Mac Brown — is so unbelievably easy that they should have to be dragged out of Big 12 play. Kansas has been on the receiving end of relatively mundane basketball competition, which has led to 20 Big 12 conference titles, a ton of one spends, and a few national titles. They’re going to be left out, wandering around college basketball like the former Big East juggernauts who are jettisoned into the cold, black abyss.

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9. Colorado

9. Colorado

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The Buffs fled the Big 12 for the Pac 12 and conference stability only to find themselves in a time loop, traversing another catwalk trying to find a conference that’s not already skied off. Colorado feels like a natural fit for a West Coast league, but I want my CU-NU rivalry back. The games those two teams played as non-conference foes in 2018-19 were every bit as wild as when they met the day after Thanksgiving toward the latter stage of the OG Big 12. There’s also the famous fifth down game between CU and Mizzou that played a big part in the Buffs’ lone national title in 1990.

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10. Iowa State

10. Iowa State

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Sorry, Cyclones, you will never be good enough for the Big Ten, and honestly, you’re better for it. After living in Chicago for less than a year it’s already apparent that there’s inherent stuffiness among Big Ten schools. It’s a smug disposition that almost has an Ivy League feel to it, complete with nasally laughs and cracks about other schools’ academics. You know it infuriates Big Ten fans to routinely get discarded by SEC teams. So, Iowa State, you’ll have to settle for one opportunity a year to piss off a Big Ten fanbase, and you have the solace of doing it from a conference that the Big Ten thinks less of than the SEC.

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11. Kansas State

11. Kansas State

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The Wildcats were once more than foils in the Big 12. My dad still curses the mere mention of Bill Snyder’s name. Lincoln Riley had a few missteps against Kansas State during his tenure, and I guarantee Texas never feels comfortable seeing silver and purple across the sidelines. The Longhorns are 7–5 against the Wildcats since 2010, and routinely have to sweat out close calls. But, yeah, go ahead and join the SEC, Texas. I’m sure this will all go great.

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12. North Dakota State

12. North Dakota State

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Sure, I could’ve picked Illinois or Northwestern, which both went undrafted, to keep larger programs in the mix, but if you haven’t noticed, I hate the fucking Big Ten. So I went with a regional football pick and one that feels very Big 12. The conference is made up mostly of flyover states, too besmirched by the general public to have an inflated sense of self. North Dakota definitely qualifies for that, and they have a pretty damn good football program, too. I’m sorry if this conference isn’t cool or hip or full of alternate uniforms. As a Nebraska fan, seeing those traditional Big Eight/Big 12 teams on the schedule is comforting and reassuring. And that’s probably because we’ve seen it before — in some matchup or another — 3,332 times.

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