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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The new faces of Steelers vs Ravens

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The Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) and the Baltimore Ravens (0-1) do not get along. It’s not a new hatred. Before a playoff showdown in 2001, then–Ravens defensive tackle Tony Siragusa joked that Baltimore fans should follow any Pittsburghers visiting M&T Bank Stadium into the bathroom and “take care of business.” When Todd Heap hobbled, too hurt to stand, to the line of scrimmage during a 2004 meeting, Steelers linebacker Joey Porter pushed him to the ground the second the Ravens hiked the ball, literally adding insult to injury.

As the Ravens moved from Cleveland to Baltimore in 1996, they brought a longstanding rivalry for the Steelers with them. Heavy hitters like Siragusa and Porter made sure the other sideline felt their hate — sometimes with a helmet and other times with a microphone. When the 2014 chapter opens Thursday in Baltimore, though, these new stars will take the reins of the rivalry.

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