NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Reports of the Big 12's death have been greatly exaggerated.I think I'm last person on the planet who hasn't ripped off that Mark Twain line (or some variation of it) in some form of writing. But if there was any occasion to use it, it's now. Big 12 news of late has focused on four distinct story lines. (1) Who's leaving (sayonara Texas A&M), (2) Who's still thinking of leaving (your next Mizzou), (3) Who's coming (howdy TCU), and who caused it all (we're looking at you, Texas)? These story lines have since morphed into other narratives concerning the Big 12's very fabric and the tensions boiling under the surface. Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey probably had the line of the year when asked whether Baylor should continue its rivalry against Texas A&M. "My feeling is this," Mulkey said, according to The Associated Press. "If a man wants to divorce me and says our relationship has no value to him, and then he asks me if he can sleep with me, the answer is, 'No!' " In fact, so much attention has been placed on third-tier cable network deals and television demo markets and the billions at stake, it's easy to forget that there is actual football being played. But after the BCS rankings were released for the first time this week, we can add another story line -- the Big 12 has five teams ranked in the top 25, and two (Oklahoma and Oklahoma State) are ranked in the top four. How can this be? Because despite all the off-field machinations, the schools didn't stop playing football the way they've always played it. Wide-open spread attacks on offense combined with stellar quarterback play make for whack-a-mole style games you won't find in the Big Ten or the SEC. Here's a fun fact. Through the first half of the season, the Big 12 has five quarterbacks clocking in among the nation's top 15 in passing yards per game: Oklahoma's Landry Jones (3), Texas Tech's Seth Doege (4), Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden (6), Baylor's Robert Griffin (7), and A&M's Ryan Tannehill (14).
|Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin|