Tahlequah Daily Press

College Sports

July 23, 2013

Offenses creating parity in Big 12 football

Big 12 football notebook

DALLAS — Oklahoma State enters the season as the favorite to win the Big 12 Conference, but over half the league seems to have a legitimate shot at winning the title. The days of the Big 12 race seemingly coming down to the winner of the Oklahoma-Texas game in mid-October have evaporated.    

The competitive balance that’s blanketed the league was on full display Monday at the conference’s Media Days.

One of the reasons OSU coach Mike Gundy believes the parity has taken is the up-tempo offenses that most of the conference’s teams use.

“In my opinion, high tempo and spread offenses have been the single thing that's created parity in college football,” he said. “And over the last eight or 10 years, when coaches have essentially started playing basketball on grass is really what we're playing now by spreading the court and getting the ball to young men that years ago wouldn't have an opportunity to play because they weren't maybe as big or as strong or as fast, and maybe even a (OSU receiver) Josh Stewart, if you were in a traditional style of offense, where does he play?  Even though he's a really, really good player, does he get 100 catches, and do we know who he is across the country? I would say no.”

The only league teams that didn’t use an up-tempo offense last season were Kansas State, which shared the conference title with Oklahoma and won the head-to-head matchup, Kansas, TCU and Texas were the only to huddle on a regular basis last season. Although, the Longhorns aren’t expected to this year.

The Big 12 isn’t the only conference where the offense has taken hold. Every major conference has teams running an up-tempo offense.

Gundy believes as long as that trend continues, so will parity. To him any rules that negatively affect the up-tempo offenses will only hurt parity.

Also any notion that up-tempo offenses are causing more injuries is misplaced.

“It would be a huge mistake for somebody to be convinced that that would have in any form or fashion or reason to cause any injury,” he said. “We’re spread out. We're throwing it around and catching it. There's not as many collisions compared to putting everybody together tight and ramming everybody up in there and being a pile. So I certainly don't agree with that.  I think it's great for college football.”

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