Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 1/4/12
Kansas State and SMU have enough to worry about in their bowl games without thinking about conference and state pride. But in case neither school knew, both the Big 12 and the state of Texas are in the business of kicking bowl tail. And business is very good. The Big 12 sent eight of its 10 teams to bowl games, and so far the Big 12 is 6-1. That's great, but it's not on the level of the state of Texas. Texas teams are 5-0 in bowl games. SMU has a chance to cap a perfect bowl season for the state Sunday against Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl. The Big 12 isn't going to talk about its bowl prowess until after Kansas State plays Arkansas in Friday's AT&T Cotton Bowl. The statement should read something like "Ha ha." It's been a rough stretch for the Big 12 on the national front. The conference is losing both Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC next year. There were concerns about the viability of the conference when the realignment land grab hit full steam last year. But there's no denying that on the football field, the Big 12 has flexed its muscles. Sure it won't have a say in the national championship picture, but the conference has done all it can in the bowls its teams have played in. Not even the mighty SEC can match the success of the Big 12. The six wins by the Big 12 are the most of any conference. In the six bowl games involving the SEC so far, the conference is 4-2. The other power conferences have fallen on their faces in bowl games. The Pac 12 is 2-5. The Big 10 is 4-6. The ACC is 2-5. What the Big 12 is doing this bowl season is historic. It's already set a record for bowl victories by the conference with its six. Arkansas has a chance to make it seven, which is remarkable considering there are just 10 teams in the Big 12. The success should take away some of the sting of a history of underperforming by the Big 12 in bowl games. Coming into this bowl season, the Big 12 has had winning bowl seasons only six times in 15 years. Getting eight teams into bowls is nothing new for the conference. This marks the eighth time it's happened. The record for bowl wins by the conference had been five, which has happened three times. The last time it happened was following the regular season in 2007. That season was a lot like this year in that the Big 12 didn't have a stake in the national championship, but still got postseason wins from Kansas, Missouri, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Texas. This year has been special because not only can the Big 12 boast of one of its teams winning the most entertaining games (Baylor over Washington in the Alamo Bowl), but the Big 12 has also fared well against the other power conference. Big 12 teams are 3-0 against teams in the Pac 12 (Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma State) and 2-0 against the Big 10 (Oklahoma, Texas A&M). The one loss the Big 12 has is Iowa State's loss 27-13 loss to Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl. Well nobody's perfect, unless you are the state of Texas. A victory by SMU would push the state's win total to 6-0. That would do a lot to boost state pride for Texas, which already believes it's where the best football is played. The last time the state went undefeated in the bowl season was 2002, when North Texas, Texas Tech, TCU and Texas won their bowl games to give the state a 4-0 mark. It's been downhill since then, as Texas teams have lost four times in each of the last two bowl seasons. As good as the state likes to think it is, it's struggled in bowls. Texas went 0-5 in 2000 and was also winless in the 1996 and 1997 bowl seasons. The five wins by the state are already the most it's ever had. The two other states that claim to be football powers California and Florida are taking a backseat to Texas this year. Florida schools are 2-1 and California colleges are 0-4. Even if SMU loses, Texas has been the dominant bowl state this season. Just don't expect that to happen.
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