The Big 12's BCS opportunity

Three Week 2 games are key to league getting ahead in national title race

Updated: September 5, 2012, 1:41 PM ET
By Brad Edwards | ESPN Insider
KleinSteve Mitchell/US PresswireA win for Collin Klein and the Wildcats against Miami could benefit more than just KSU.

A quick glance at the Week 2 college football schedule shows that most of the compelling matchups are coming from conference play in the SEC and nonconference games for Pac-12 teams. But strictly within the context of the national championship race, Saturday is a big day for the Big 12.

In the 2011 regular season, the Big 12 went 27-3 in nonconference games, and as a result, most of the BCS computers considered that league to be the strongest in college football. This helped fortify the schedule strength of the Oklahoma State Cowboys as they piled up wins in Big 12 play, and that ultimately gave them a computer edge on the Alabama Crimson Tide -- nearly enough of an edge to get OSU into the BCS National Championship Game despite trailing Bama in both polls.

In other words, a great performance by a conference in nonleague play can give the winner of that conference a valuable boost in the BCS standings. And if all goes according to form this weekend, the Big 12 champion could be getting that boost again this season.

• Analyzes college football and the BCS as part of ESPN's Stats & Information Group
• Analyst for both College GameDay on ESPN Radio and the ESPN College Football app