Big 12 Conference reigns supreme in parity

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A little more than two weeks ago, Baylor unveiled their new on-campus palace, McLane Stadium, in a celebration full of pomp, circumstance, and a bronze Robert Griffin III statue. The opening of the $266 million stadium on the Brazos River, and the subsequent, 45-point beatdown of Southern Methodist University, symbolized the new era in Baylor Bears football.

Five years earlier in 2009, the program finished 4-8 with a 1-7 record in the Big 12. When rumors of conference realignment began to circulate in 2010 and 2011, Bayor was one of four Big 12 schools on the outside of any proposed plans (the others being Iowa State, Kansas, and Kansas State). They were unwanted, with little to offer to another conference.

But on the field, head coach Art Briles began to turn the program around, thanks in large part to RG3. The team went 7-6 in 2010 and 10-3 in 2011, with Griffin winning the first Heisman Trophy in school history.

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David Cutcliffe Reimagined Duke Football

Miami v Duke
“We’re going to learn from it, we’ll see some great things, but it’s going to be a great opportunity for us to get better as a team,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said with his smooth, Alabama drawl, one so befitting of a football coach that it seems like he was born for the profession.

His Blue Devils had just won, 52-13, in a romp against an overmatched Elon team that saw star quarterback Anthony Boone throw four touchdown passes and wideout Jamison Crowder pull in seven receptions. But there were no high-fives or hype, because Cutcliffe still had his eyes on improvement.

The Duke coach made major strides in turning the program around in 2012 and 2013, leading the perennial losers to consecutive bowl games for the first time. On the heels of the winningest season in the program’s 92-year history, one filled with winless campaigns and last-place finishes, Cutcliffe looks to continue to change the culture in Durham, N.C.

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