John Hoover

Sporting News: After the Big 12’s big week, is the once-beleaguered conference finally catching up?

Sporting News: After the Big 12’s big week, is the once-beleaguered conference finally catching up?

Les Miles and the Kansas Jayhawks pulled off one of the bigger wins in recent KU history last week, which continued to elevate the profile of the Big 12 Conference. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Gary Patterson certainly has heard the criticisms of the Big 12 Conference.

“Everybody keeps talking about us not being very good,” Patterson said.

Well, maybe not now. Not after the Big 12 had one of its best regular-season weeks ever last week — 5-2 against other Power 5 opponents — and improved its non-conference record so far to 22-5. That winning percentage of .815 is the best among Power 5 conferences.

“I think at times there’s been — with a couple of the major networks and other people out there — there’s been that anointing of other leagues,” said Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley. “I don’t feel it as much now, though. I think the Big 12’s had a lot of great wins the last several years.”

According to Big 12 research, last week’s five victories tied the most by any Power 5 league against peer teams since at least 1996 (the Pac-12 did it twice). Four of those five wins — Oklahoma over UCLA, TCU over Purdue, Kansas over Boston College and Kansas State over Mississippi State — were road wins.

In Week 1, the Big 12 went 10-0 for the first time since 2012.

So far, so good for the Big 12 in 2019.

“I watched a lot of the games,” said Baylor coach Matt Rhule, whose team had an open date last week. “The league looks really strong. Even the games we lost were versus other Power 5 teams and came right down to the wire. I think what you see, especially as you watch other leagues, our league is as strong as any top to bottom.”

So was last week a statement weekend?

To read the rest of John E. Hoover’s report for Sporting News, click here:


Formerly co-host of “Further Review” and “The Franchise Drive,” columnist John E. Hoover is a college football insider on The Franchise in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Hoover co-hosts The Franchise “Inside OU” Podcast with Brady Trantham and Rufus Alexander. He also covers the Big 12 for Sporting News and Lindy’s magazine and is a feature writer for Sooner Spectator magazine. Visit his YouTube channel at, and his personal page at

John Hoover

John Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he was co-host of "Further Review" and "The Franchise Drive." Now he's The Franchise college football insider: Oklahoma's state Heisman rep, a voter in the FWAA Super 16 poll, an FWAA media access liaison, and a Big 12 writer at Sporting News and Lindy's preseason magazine. In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist and won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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