TCUs double overtime triumph at West Virginia on Saturday was the first game between teams that embarked on a major conference shift in the past two years, and it seemed like a good occasion to check up on how well everybody is adapting to their new environment.The Big 12 was realignment ground zero, with four out the door and welcoming two. The conference likes its 10-team membership and complete round-robin scheduling enough that expansion is not a front-burner issue. The common idea heard from athletic administrators is if theres not a program that brings great media-rights value, which would be one in another major conference or Notre Dame, then expansion wont happen anytime soon.In realignments revolving door, much TV contract revenue was gained, but historic rivalries were lost. No school is unhappy with its choice or would publically admit to any second thoughts. In their new conference lives, heres a look, in order of how the football programs have adjusted.1.Texas A&M (Big 12 to SEC)The Aggies are one of the nations big surprises. A program in a coaching and quarterback transition year, heading into what appeared to be the more ferocious division of the nations top conference, wasnt expected to open 7-2 overall, 4-2 in league play and take a mid-teen ranking into Saturdays game at Alabama.But coach Kevin Sumlin has a dynamo at quarterback in Johnny Manziel, and an excellent offensive line. With their trouncing of Mississippi State on Saturday, the Aggies are locked in as the divisions third best behind the Crimson Tide and LSU, and few outside of College Station saw that coming.2. Nebraska (Big 12 to Big Ten)A month or so ago, the Cornhuskers wouldnt have been this highly regarded. But Nebraska owns the inside track for the Legends Division title and it would carry the favorites role into the Big Ten title game since Ohio State, which beat the Huskers by 25 earlier this season, is not eligible to participate.Its been a wild season, with Nebraska overcoming double-digit deficits in the second half to beat Wisconsin, Northwestern and Michigan State, and quarterback Taylor Martinez is making an All-Big Ten bid.Where would the Huskers stand in the old Big 12? Somewhere behind Kansas State.Nebraskas Big Ten totals: 16-6 overall, 9-4 in league play.3. TCU (Mountain West to Big 12)At 3-3 in the Big 12, the Horned Frogs have already lost two more conference games than they did in their final four years of the Mountain West. But the tougher road was expected, and things got more difficult when starting quarterback Casey Pachall left the program for treatment after his DWI arrest a month into the season.TCU became bowl eligible with its victory in Morgantown, which is a good thing with games against Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma remaining.The Horned Frogs have a similar first-year profile to former Mountain West rival Utah, which went 8-5 overall and 4-5 in league play in 2011 in the Utes first year in the Pac-12.4.West Virginia (Big East to Big 12)No realigned team flew as close to the sun as the Mountaineers did five weeks into this season. West Virginia and quarterback Geno Smith rang up crazy offensive numbers in starting 5-0 and jumping to No. 4 in the polls.It was a mirage. Once West Virginia started playing teams with a defensive pulse, reality set in and the Mountaineers ride a three-game losing streak into Saturdays game at Oklahoma State. The program that had posted six straight 5-2 records in Big East play stands 2-3 today.The Mountaineers can score like some of the best of recent Big 12 vintage. But the defense must get much stronger to compete for championships.5.Missouri (Big 12 to SEC)The idea going in was with an experienced quarterback in James Franklin and a unique offense that SEC teams havent seen on a regular basis, Mizzou would have some advantages heading into its new home. But Franklins missed time due to injuries adds up to more than three games, and the Tigers happened to catch the East Division on a wave of improvement with Florida and South Carolina joining Georgia among the nations elite teams.Still, Missouris 4-5 record is the same at it stood at this point in last years Big 12 swan song, and if the Tigers can find two victories in a remaining schedule of Tennessee, Syracuse and Texas A&M (think orange), a bowl game will soothe some of the disappointment.6.Colorado (Big 12 to Pac-12)The Buffaloes hit new depths of ineptitude every week. Saturdays 48-0 loss to Stanford marked the first home shutout in 26 years. Earlier this season, Fresno put up 55 in the first half. Colorado is 3-12 in conference games, 4-18 overall in its Pac-12 history, and the Big 12 team that misses the Buffs most is Kansas. The Jayhawks last conference victory came against Colorado, in 2010. KU has lost 18 straight in league play since then.
Posted on Mon, Nov. 05, 2012 12:53 AMShare Email Print Order Reprints
Conference realignment goes well for some, not for others
|2. Kansas State||.9400|
|3. Notre Dame||.9147|
| Complete standings, B5
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