- Texas :: India. Too many people, too much money, too much madness to throw around. Everything's bigger, everything's louder, and they have a tendency to run over everything and anything through sheer force of will. Have slip-ups and glaring weaknesses, of course. But they still tend to Orakpown through everyone.
- Oklahoma :: China. Neck-and-neck in ascendancy with Texas. Generally speaking, have been seen as more "big time" then India/Texas, but that mostly depends on who you ask. Have had more recognition (BCS Championship appearances) and were noticed as on the up-and-up first, but also have a lot more gaping flaws. While "corrupt" is the wrong term, there is definitely something off about the program's history sometimes.
- Oklahoma State :: Taiwan (ROC). Eerily similar to the bigger, more ascendant, program with the same history, but have been fighting a losing battle against them. While not as bad of a place as you may think, it's biggest problem is lack of recognition. How many people tell you that Barry Sanders was a Sooner? Run by economic voodoo, mostly. Also: weird rivalries you didn't know existed.
- Texas Tech :: Indonesia. Madness. Sheer Madness. Nobody can understand each other, but it works. A dictatorial Big Man ran the place for a while, but it took openness and some very capable aerial organization to get the place cracking. Not on the same level as the big powers, but they have the resources and the leadership to sustain success. Or in-fighting and backstabbing could tear the whole place down. Either way, nobody wants to mess with 'em. All the same, all of your friends who went there told you how awesome (and awesomely weird) it was.
- Texas A&M :: Pakistan. They fervently believe they're Texas/India's rival, and everything they do is to get even with Texas/India. Unfortunately, anyone else can see that ship has sailed, and that they oughtta get their own house in order before they start throwing stones at the others. Have this weird military fetish and do things that appear terrifying, but are actually pretty harmless. Also, some of their best-laid plans tend to blow up in their faces.
- Baylor :: Bangladesh. It may share a history with Texas and A&M, but that's about it. No matter where the other two are, these dudes are third on the pecking order. Pretty much an after-thought. So much so that even their greatest achievements are usually misattributed to their more famous neighbors.
- Nebraska :: Japan. Unstoppable at the end of the 20th Century...so what happened? Aging leadership, troubles with unsavory elements, mostly. New leader has no real knowledge, connections, or experience of the times when they were in big trouble, though. Have been largely passed up by the ones they only vaguely deigned as their rivals. Nobody is sure how they will react to the disappearance of their greatest asset.
- Missouri :: South Korea. Were never a traditional power by any means, but they've made quite the niche for themselves by copying the best parts of China (the Stoops spread) and Japan (defense...based around Witherspoon). Great, meat-heavy, food...if some parts of their cuisine are a bit weird. A couple of your friends may have told you how awesome the place is and how you have to visit them there...but there's not a chance in hell its happening.
- Kansas State :: Cambodia. A pretty awful history full of massacres and bloodshed. Really: anything they bring to the table is a bonus, we're just happy they haven't collapsed into themselves most of the time. Had a king, things didn't work out so well in the interim, so they brought him back. You're goddam right I just compared Pol Pot to Ron Prince.
- Iowa State :: Mongolia. Known for one transcendent moment in history...and that's actually about it. Pretty flat, pretty in love with their livestock, and pretty irrelevant to the current conversation. It's not a bad place to be, though. And they're more up-and-coming (bowl game? really?) than at first glance. Watch this space (if not for the rising power, than for the spectacular collapse).
- Colorado :: Nepal. Mountainous and kind of culturally...off...from their neighbors. At least their neighbors' official brand, because there's plenty of Buddhists (or hippies) in India and China (or Texas/Oklahoma) then their ambassadors would ever admit. All of the kids in dreads and Tevas tell you how chill and rad the place is, but they probably haven't actually been there.
- Kansas :: Thailand. On the surface, it's an awesome place with lots of partying, general fun-kind-of-insanity, and freedom. This picture could have taken place in Lawrence or Bangkok, and I'd believe it either way. I'd also equate King Adulyadej's idea of Lese Majeste with anything from the Mangino era of Kansas. And just because I'm going to miss him:
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Big 12: The Haves and Have-nots
I'm getting really tired of being as creative as I need to be for this, but I'm only 4 conferences in. The Big 12 has been dominated by only a few colleges for a while now. Sure one or another might stick their nose in for a year or two, but you've been talking about Oklahoma and UT for a while now. That's not going to change anytime soon. Baylor isn't going to be come a power no matter what happens. Iowa State isn't going to...wait...they went 7-6? Really? OK, yeah, weird shit may happen. But that's not going to affect the general equilibrium. Just like...EAST ASIA.