Recently, we had two big happenings concerning Big 12 football.
First, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops upheld his end of the bargain by beating the best SEC team in the last five years - OU over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
Before the season, Stoops defended the Big 12 and claimed propaganda was responsible for the love and respect afforded the SEC over the past years. His intention was to bring to light the fact the lower half of the SEC wasn't the gift of football.
The win also put the Sooners back in the spotlight that may have dimmed over the past few years.
Now, after the victory over Alabama and the emergence of a young quarterback, Trevor Knight, against such a tough defensive unit, OU has been established as a 12 to 1 chance by Vegas odds makers to win next season's National Championship. That puts them 4th, behind Florida State, Auburn and of course, Alabama.
Other prognosticators were falling all over themselves picking Oklahoma to be a top-5 pre-season pick this August. Heady stuff considering one month ago OU was on the verge of finishing 4th in the Big 12 race, and two plays away from being 9-4. Heck, they lost to Texas by plenty.
The second Big 12 occurrence? Texas just hired a new coach. Charlie Strong appears to be a no-nonsense kind of guy, and that is exactly what the Longhorns need.
It has been suggested Texas has gotten soft over the past few years under Mack Brown, and the recruiting had slacked quite bit in the last five years. How else do you explain how the Longhorns didn't have a real star at quarterback, while Manziel, Luck, Griffin and Winston were playing elsewhere? Yes, all are from, or wanted to go to Texas, and were shunned.
From all of this, I ask the question. Which fan base should be more excited about the future of their program?
Is it Oklahoma with a refreshed attitude and plenty of young players returning, including Knight at quarterback?
Or is it Texas, with a new spirit and fresh coaching staff determined to get the Longhorns back on track?
This is a tough question, but I will go with young players who have already performed against the top in the country. That would be the Sooners.
Granted, it has been only one game with Knight, but what a night he had. Something about getting it done against the top team in the country. Confidence should be at a zenith this spring for the Sooners, especially if they get their defense on the right track, and there were signs of that in the Sugar Bowl.
But do not underestimate the power of new blood in Austin. Trust me, there will not be a lack of effort on the part of this team. I am guessing Texas will still be a year away from the complete comeback. Establishing a quarterback is the first priority.
I am already looking forward to Dallas and the Cotton Bowl in October.