Greatest Big 12 Champion: Sweet 16 And Elite Eight

Greatest Big 12

With just 16 teams remaining, only one team can claim the title of the greatest Big 12 champion ever. In case you missed it, here is how we reached this point. Is there any way a Cinderella run is possible for any of the lower-ranked seeds remaining? There is only one way to find out as Last Word simulates the sweet 16 and elite eight.

Greatest Big 12 Champion: Sweet 16

1) 2005 Texas Vs. 17) 2016 Oklahoma

In college football, it’s not inconceivable that a less talented team can rise up on any given Saturday and beat anyone. The entire 2007 season demonstrated that. But over the span of multiple games, the talent disparity will eventually show itself. For the one seed in our bracket, the Longhorns handle business easily and move on. 2005 Texas.

8) 2011 Oklahoma State Vs. 9) 2018 Oklahoma

The wide receiver talent in this match-up is next level. Justin Blackmon, Ceedee Lamb, and Marquis Brown headline two offenses that would give secondaries nightmares. And while normally having the better quarterback would set one team above another (tell me, would you rather have Kyler Murray or Brandon Weeden?), this rendition of Bedlam actually breaks the way of the Cowboys.  2011 Oklahoma State

4) 2009 Texas Vs. 13) 2014 TCU

The Colt McCoy-led Longhorns came off a season in which they very easily could have won back-to-back Big 12 titles if not for forgetting to double-team Michael Crabtree in 2008 effectively. And while the 2009 team did play for a national championship, they never played a team ranked in the top 10 leading up to their title matchup with Alabama. Even with the greatest kicker of all time on the roster, Mack Brown and company fall victim in an upset to future special assistant to the Texas head coach Gary Patterson.  2014 TCU

5) 2017 Oklahoma Vs. 12) 2008 Oklahoma

Bob Stoops’ future offensive coordinator assembles offensive talent that the 2008 team doesn’t have an answer for. There is a good chance that the 2008 team could run for about 250 yards on the ground against a Lincoln Riley-coached team, but Riley’s team makes the one-to-two big game-changing plays to push them into the next round. 2017 Oklahoma

2) 2000 Oklahoma Vs. 18) 2019 Oklahoma

This game would be a very interesting contrast in styles. There is no doubt that the 2019 team could find a way to score points on the 2000 squad. In any single-elimination tournament, the favorites will face a scare from a lower seed along the way. This is that scare for the two seed in the tournament to decide the greatest Big 12 champion of all time. However, the 2000 Sooners defeated six ranked teams that year, including the number one, two, three, eighth, and 11th-ranked teams in the country. That pedigree helps them survive and advance.  2000 Oklahoma

7) 2004 Oklahoma Vs. 10) 2015 Oklahoma

It would take a pretty monumental effort to take down one of the greatest college running backs of all time. But in true post-Stoops era Sooner football, Riley would get into a track meet in this showdown. And while it’s very possible Adrian Peterson would break the single-game rushing record, 2015 moves on by a score of 63-60. 2015 Oklahoma

3) 1997 Nebraska Vs. 14) 2014 Baylor

Nebraska fans today can only hope what newly hired head coach Matt Ruhle is doing on the recruiting trail can help bring them back to some sort of national relevance. But in the meantime, they can dream of that triple-option attack that devastated so many teams in the late 90’s. It would also do the same to the 2014 Baylor team as Last Word’s three-seed cruise into the elite eight. 1997 Nebraska

6) 1999 Nebraska Vs. 22) 2006 Oklahoma

Watching Oklahoma linebacker Rufus Alexander try to take on Eric Crouch and their rushing attack would be fun for every college football fan. 1999 Nebraska

Greatest Big 12 Champion: Elite Eight

1) 2005 Texas Vs. 8) 2011 Oklahoma State

2011 Oklahoma State feels like they have just been getting by so far in the tournament. That oblong-shaped ball has just been bouncing the way of the Cowboys. Too bad when they face Vince Young and that 05′ Longhorn team, that bouncing ball never even gets a chance to bounce in favor of Oklahoma State. This game would be over by halftime. The top-ranked team in the bracket advances to the final four and is primed to grab hold of the greatest Big 12 champion ever. 2005 Texas.

5) 2017 Oklahoma Vs. 13) 2014 TCU

Much like the 2011 Oklahoma State team (and for that matter the 2022 TCU team), the Horned Frogs have had everything break their way in this bracket. And just like the 2011 Oklahoma State team, when the luck runs out, it gets really ugly. Would this one be 65-7 ugly? No, but this one would never be in doubt either. 2017 Oklahoma

2) 2000 Oklahoma Vs. 10) 2015 Oklahoma

Deciding on the greatest Big 12 champion is going to have to require splitting hairs at some point. The teams are just too evenly matched. 2015 Oklahoma had to win two of its last three games on the road against the sixth and 11th-ranked teams nationally to secure the conference title that year. Sandwiched between those two games was a home game against the number 18-ranked team. So the ’00 team having a national championship seems pretty clear-cut, but this game would be tightly contested. The downfall of the ’15 team was their offense could be contained. In their two losses that year, they only scored 17 points. The 2000 Sooner defense pitched a shutout in the national championship game that year, so they limit the ’15 team and move into the final four. 2000 Oklahoma

3) 1997 Nebraska Vs. 6) 1999 Nebraska

When the service academies play each other, the games typically are over in about two-and-a-half hours because the option attacks just milk the clock. Watching two peak Nebraska teams line up and let us all enjoy a clinic in the triple option would be a treat. Ultimately, Scott Frost proves that the edge goes to the team that won a national championship. 1997 Nebraska

Greatest Big 12

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