Checking Power Five propaganda

The lone victory: Oklahoma State defeated Mississippi State 21-3 in the opener. The rest of the Big 12 went 0-4 against Power Five opponents: Iowa State lost to Iowa, Maryland shut out West Virginia, Ole Miss blasted Texas, and LSU defeated TCU in Arlington, Texas. In fairness, Oklahoma beat Notre Dame (and BYU routed Texas). The round-robin argument doesn't carry weight when you're not beating anybody from outside the Big 12.

The Big 12 made up some ground during bowl season, when Oklahoma upset Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and Texas Tech knocked off Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl. But we're talking about regular-season strength of schedule, which will be one of the biggest factors in whether teams get into the four-team playoff.

Give the Big 12 some credit, though, because its nonconference scheduling is more aggressive this season. The league will play 10 games against foes from the Power Five conferences, including Oklahoma State's opener against Florida State in Arlington and West Virginia's opener against Alabama in Atlanta.

Pac-12: "We play a nine-game schedule, and we're deeper than everybody else."

Fact: The Pac-12 had a lot to crow about at the end of the 2013 season. Five of its teams were ranked in the top 25 of the final BCS standings, and its members went 6-3 in bowl games (Pac-12 teams were favored in all nine bowl games and defeated only one ranked opponent, No. 20 Fresno State).

The league has dramatically upgraded its coaching and facilities under the watch of commissioner Larry Scott. Oregon and Stanford seem to be national championship contenders every season, and Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA appear to be on the upswing. The league has stockpiled many of the game's best coaches, including Stanford's David Shaw and Washington's Chris Petersen.

Propaganda: Sure, the Pac-12 is deeper than it has ever been. Nine of its 12 teams went at least 4-5 in Pac-12 play last season, and even once-woebegone Washington State played in a bowl game in 2013.

But for all the arguments about the Big Ten and SEC being top-heavy, take a closer look at what Oregon and Stanford have done in Pac-12 play since 2010. During the past four seasons, the Cardinal and Ducks went a combined 93-14 overall, 63-9 in Pac-12 games. Only one other team from the Pac-12 North -- Washington -- had a winning record in league play during the past four seasons (going 5-4 against league foes each season since 2010).

While the Pac-12 South is more balanced, after the recent resurgence of Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA, it wasn't too long ago that hardly anyone could defeat USC. Before unranked Stanford upset the No. 2 Trojans 24-23 on Oct. 6, 2007, USC had won 24 consecutive Pac-12 home games and 39 of 43 conference games overall.

SEC: "We're the best -- look at the scoreboard."

Fact: SEC commissioner Mike Slive's office resembles a Tiffany & Co. showroom after SEC teams won an unprecedented seven consecutive BCS national championships from 2006 to 2012. FSU ended the SEC's reign last season, but two of its teams (Alabama and Auburn) probably would have ended up in a four-team playoff. Starting with Florida's 41-14 upset of No. 1 Ohio State in the 2006 title game, no league has flexed its muscle in the postseason as much as the SEC over the past eight seasons.

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