Big 12’s sudden decline illustrates college game’s capricious nature

Was it really only a year ago the college football world centered around the Big 12 Conference?

It seemed like every week, another primetime Big 12 shootout carried national implications. Oklahoma-Texas. Texas-Missouri. Texas Tech-Texas. Oklahoma-Texas Tech. Oklahoma State-Oklahoma. Each game involved at least one top five team — not to mention at least one Heisman-contending quarterback. When all was said and done, Oklahoma and Texas wound up in a controversial, computer-decided duel for a spot in both the Big 12 and BCS championship games, and their quarterbacks, Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy, finished 1-2 in the Heisman race.

But if ever there was a textbook example of the cyclical nature of conference strength, it’s this year’s Big 12. With the exception of undefeated Texas, nearly every team in the league is dealing with some sort of crisis.