If a team from the Big 12 is ever going to win a College Football Playoff national championship, the conference as a whole is going to need to get better on the defensive side of the ball.
Oklahoma has been the Big 12's College Football Playoff representative on multiple occasions. However, the Sooners' defense has been incapable of making the necessary stops to advance past the semifinals.
Former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer ripped the Big 12 for its lack of defensive talent on Wednesday night.
Meyer also ripped the idea that there just aren't enough elite defensive recruits in that area of the country.
“There’s two things in recruiting,” Meyer said on Big Noon Kickoff, per 247Sports. “The first is testimony. When you can start showing numbers to young players, for instance, Matt Leinart chose USC because there’s a great tradition of quarterbacks coming out of USC … You go in there and start recruiting in that region — Oklahoma and Texas — and I get a little defensive when they say there’s just not many defensive players. Maybe not defensive linemen, but they are loaded. We pulled Jeffrey Okudah out of there and Baron Browning.
“There are great defensive players, but what happens is when the top 100 aren’t going to your schools, they’re leaving and going to a Bama, Ohio State, Georgia, etc. It’s because they want to play in the NFL. We use those numbers. That’s not negative recruiting to go and say, ‘We’ve had six or seven straight years of first-round corners.”
Meyer made it clear: the Big 12 needs to get much better at producing NFL-caliber defensive players.
“You’re telling me between 2008 and 2020, that’s 12 years, you’ve had two first-rounders on defense?” Meyer asked in disbelief. “Most schools are disappointed if you don’t have two first-rounders per year. To me, I knew it was bad. I didn’t know it was that bad. That’s terrible. That needs to change. I think Chris Ash going to Texas, he’s not a good defensive coach. He’s an elite defensive coach with an elite reputation and can develop players. Alex Grinch, I would anticipate the same. You’re going to see some movement, hopefully, in the Big 12. I’m going to tell you right now, there won’t be a national champion out of the Big 12 as long as that continues."
The Big 12 should have a couple of College Football Playoff contenders in 2020, especially with the Big Ten and Pac-12 not playing.
If one of Texas or Oklahoma was to reach the final four, they'll need to play much better defense than the conference has previously displayed.