It’s as close to a Big 12-SEC challenge as we’re going to get.
Two matchups Saturday on Big 12 turf — Tennessee at Oklahoma and Arkansas at Texas Tech. One already in the books with Alabama’s victory over West Virginia, and next week’s Auburn at Kansas State clash.
It got me wondering, who leads the SEC/Big 12 tale of the tape, head-to-head meetings since the Big 12 formed in 1996?
No surprise, it’s the SEC. The conference that has dominated college football for the past eight years, holds a 35-23 edge, including the Crimson Tide’s victory earlier this season.
The leagues were close through 2006, with the SEC holding a 17-15 lead. That’s when the SEC started dominating national championship. Widening the margin included Florida’s BCS title-game victory over Oklahoma after the 2008 season and Alabama’s over Texas after 2009.
The league kingpins have been competitive against the other side. Texas is 5-4 and Oklahoma 4-4 against the SEC. Alabama is 4-4 against the Big 12. The most victories by one school against the other league belong to Arkansas and Mississippi, with seven each against the Big 12.
When it comes to winning percentage, there this oddity: When it was in the Big 12, Missouri owned the best record against the SEC (4-1). Now that it’s in the SEC, last year’s Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma State makes Mizzou one of four SEC teams that have not lost to the Big 12. Auburn is 2-0. Florida and Texas A&M are 1-0.
The Aggies went winless against the SEC as a Big 12 member (0-6) but beat Oklahoma in the 2013 Cotton Bowl as an SEC member.
Big 12 games
All games Saturday unless noted
▪ Baylor at Buffalo, 7 p.m. Friday on ESPN: Bears’ quarterback Bryce Petty is expected back, but Seth Russell wasn’t bad last week while Petty rested with a back injury. Russell was the Big 12’s co-offensive player of the week after his 438-yard passing game against Northwestern State.
▪ West Virginia at Maryland, 11 a.m. on Big Ten Network: O say can you see … Maryland’s alternative uniform for this game? The Star Spangled Banner will be written on the helmets, shoulders of the jersey and shoes. Saturday’s game marks the 200-year anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. The Mountaineers just hope it’s not the same perilous fight as last year, won by the Terps, 37-0.
▪ Iowa State at Iowa, 2:30 p.m. on ESPN: Opponents now have to game plan for Iowa State’s Jarvis West, who passed for one touchdown, caught another and returned a punt return for a score last week against Kansas State.
▪ Kansas at Duke, 2:30 p.m. on Fox Sports KC plus: When the teams met in 2009 at Lawrence, Kansas was nationally ranked and dominated the Blue Devils. Since then, well, you know what’s happened since then.
▪ Arkansas at Texas Tech, 2:30 p.m. on ABC (Chs. 2, 9): The Razorbacks look to slow the Air Raid offense, but Tech’s been doing a good job of stopping itself, ranking 123rd (out of 124) in penalties. Arkansas had 267 yards of total offense in the first half against Auburn, and the Razorbacks toyed with Nicholls State last week, snapping its 10-game losing streak.
▪ Minnesota at TCU, 3 p.m. on Fox Sports 1: Two of the most successful Kansas-native coaches battle as TCU’s Gary Patterson from Rozel meets the Golden Gophers’ Jerry Kill from Cheney. Minnesota’s David Cobb rushed for 220 yards last week against Middle Tennessee.
▪ Texas-San Antonio at Oklahoma State, 6 p.m. on Fox Sports KC plus: The Cowboys can’t go to sleep on coach Larry Coker’s Roadrunners, who smacked Houston in their opener and gave Arizona all it wanted in a three-point loss. Daxx Garman went 16 for 26 and 244 yards filling in for injured J.W. Walsh (foot) against Missouri State.
▪ UCLA vs. Texas at Arlington, Texas, 7 p.m. on Fox (Ch. 4): Coach Charlie Strong fumed after last week’s embarrassing blowout loss to Brigham Young, but UCLA has been unimpressive in its victories over Virginia and Memphis. This is the programs’ seventh meeting, but they’ve played meaningful games, like the Bruins’ 66-3 victory in 1997 that greased the skids for coach John Mackovic.
▪ Tennessee at Oklahoma, 7 p.m. on ABC (Chs. 2, 9): These teams last met in the Orange Bowl after the 1967 season. Now, the Vols are in rebuilding mode under Butch Jones and have looked sharp against two teams, Utah State and Arkansas State that won bowl games last year. The Sooners have outscored their two opponents 62-3 in the first half.
▪ Central Florida at Missouri, 11 a.m. on SEC Network: Central Florida, the reigning Fiesta Bowl champion, was the second pick in the American Conference preseason poll in a narrow choice behind Cincinnati. The Knights have had an additional week to prepare after its opening week loss on a last-second field goal by Penn State.
▪ Massachusetts at Vanderbilt, 11 a.m., Fox Sports KC: The first two games have been discouraging for Vandy, outscored 78-10 by Temple and Mississippi. The Minutemen pushed Colorado last week before falling by a field goal.
▪ Georgia at South Carolina, 2:30 p.m. on CBS (Ch. 5): The Gamecocks are an unimpressive 1-1 and one of the issues is third-down defense. Opponents are converting at a 62.1 percent rate, and in Todd Gurley, Georgia has the power runner who can pick up third-and-short yardage.
▪ Louisiana-Lafayette at Mississippi, 3 p.m. on SEC Network: A top-notch wide receiver has emerged for the Rebels, just not the one expected. Cody Core has caught eight passes for 195 yards to lead a team that includes Laquon Treadwell, who had 72 receptions as a freshman last season.
▪ Mississippi State at South Alabama, 3 p.m. on ESPNEWS: It’s the first home sellout of a South Alabama game with 40,000 expected at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The Jaguars hadn’t played in front of 20,000 at home since early 2012. Also, no cowbells, which is a Bulldogs custom. Noise makers aren’t allowed in the stadium under Sun Belt Conference rules.
▪ Southern Mississippi at Alabama, 5 p.m. on ESPN2: The Golden Eagles dropped their opener to Mississippi State 49-0. What is Alabama going to do? Jacob Coker could get snaps for the Tide, but it’s looking more like Blake Sims’ team with every game.
▪ Louisiana-Monroe at LSU, 6 p.m. on ESPNU: The Warhawks have defeated power five conference teams in each of the last three years (Wake Forest twice and Arkansas). But this is a different deal. The teams last met in 2010 with LSU winning 51-0.
▪ Kentucky at Florida, 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network: The Wildcats haven’t defeated Florida since 1986, and the 27-game winning streak is the longest by one school over another in SEC history.
▪ Rice at Texas A&M, 8 p.m. on ESPN2: Rice hasn’t played since its 48-17 loss to Notre Dame in the first week, and the Aggies have looked flawless in victory over South Carolina and Lamar.