Tramel's ScissorTales: Big Ten gets the jump on the SEC in new superpower war

The Big Ten has the Southeastern Conference on the run.

Not that you’d get the SEC to admit it. Ten to 15 years ago, the SEC rode the hype train to college football supremacy and now indeed is supreme in the conference pecking order.

But here comes the Big Ten, which in the last six months has not only taken aim at the SEC’s exalted status, but landed some bulls-eyes.

Three direct hits for the SEC since early summer:

1. Expansion: The Big Ten countered the SEC’s luring of OU and Texas by enticing Southern Cal and UCLA to join a league that had extended no farther west than Lincoln, Nebraska.

And even better for the Big Ten, USC and UCLA produced far better seasons collectively in the Pac-12 than OU and Texas produced in the Big 12.

The Trojans and Bruins were College Football Playoff contenders for much of the season, USC held that status until the end and the USC-UCLA showdown on Nov. 26 was must-see television, won 48-45 by the Trojans.

More:Five things to know about the Florida State Seminoles, who will face OU in Cheez-It Bowl

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh holds the trophy after defeating Purdue in the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, early Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Indianapolis. Michigan won, 43-22. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh holds the trophy after defeating Purdue in the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, early Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Indianapolis. Michigan won, 43-22. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

USC lost to Utah in the Pac-12 title game, but the Trojans and Bruins finished a combined 20-5, with USC finishing No. 10 and UCLA No. 18 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

Texas is 8-4 and ranked 20th by the committee. OU is 6-6 and never drew a sniff from being ranked by the committee all season.

And it’s not like the Sooners and Longhorns produced a windfall from pledging to the SEC in 2021. OU went 11-2 and finished No. 10, a fine season but not up to its usual standards, while Texas was 5-7.

2. Television: The Big Ten cashed in big-time with its new TV contract with Fox, CBS and NBC. The seven-year, $7-billion deal trumps the SEC’s contract with ESPN.

Some of the emerging details show that the Big Ten deal is not as lucrative as first reported, but it’s still ahead of the SEC.

Some of that is the Big Ten’s population base. But some of that is the Big Ten’s ability to produce a four-window Saturday — games starting at 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The SEC can’t do that, unless the newcomers are strong-armed into playing 9 p.m. kickoffs in Norman and Austin.

Anything is possible.

Add in the fact that the new College Football Playoff format will almost surely be stretched across multiple networks, negating ESPN’s dominance, and the SEC’s hype will have to share the spotlight going forward.

More:Oklahoma State football losing QB Spencer Sanders, WR Braylin Presley to transfer portal

Alabama coach Nick Saban politicked for inclusion into the College Football Playoff. RANDY SARTIN/USA Today Sports
Alabama coach Nick Saban politicked for inclusion into the College Football Playoff. RANDY SARTIN/USA Today Sports

3. Playoff: The 2022 four-team playoff will include two Big Ten teams, Michigan and Ohio State. The selection committee ranked Ohio State No. 4 and Alabama No. 5.

Nick Saban’s campaigning — including an extended platform at halftime Saturday night of the Big Ten Championship Game on Fox, a network that does not hold SEC rights — didn't sway the committee.

The SEC placed two teams in the field in both 2017 and 2021 (Georgia and Alabama each time). It had come to consider the playoff its own private little playground.

But now the Big Ten has matched that accomplishment.

Georgia can restore the SEC’s natural order by winning the national championship. SEC teams have won five of the last seven titles, with only Clemson (2016, 2018) invading the SEC monopoly.

Big Ten football is not as strong as SEC football. The Big Ten West is a mess, and scrapping divisions isn’t going to change the prowess of those programs.

But a league with Michigan, Ohio State and a Lincoln Riley-rejuvenated USC is potent and a solid match for Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana State. It’s been a strong six months for Big Ten football. The stodgy league has served notice that it plans to stand equal with the SEC moving forward.

More:Five things to know about the Wisconsin Badgers, who will face OSU in Guaranteed Rate Bowl

2022 Big 12 would fare well with 12-team bracket

Southern Cal at Alabama. Kansas State at Tennessee. Tulane at Texas Christian.

Post-season December games that traditionally would range from interesting to mildly acceptable.

But come 2024, they would be showdown games with all of America watching.

The penultimate four-team College Football Playoff field is set — Georgia-Ohio State and TCU-Michigan. Another four-team tournament will be staged next season, then it’s on to the 12-team format that has been approved starting with 2024.

And if that format was in place this season, here’s how the schedule would play out.

1-Georgia in Sugar Bowl vs. winner of...

9-Kansas State at 8-Tennessee

KSU-Tennessee would be a big-time game, and since Volunteer quarterback Hendon Hooker is unavailable, K-State might even be favored on Rocky Top.

But a playoff game at Neyland Stadium would be spectacular.

KSU would have drawn the short straw this year. With the top four seeds getting first-round byes, and the top four seeds coming from the four highest-ranked conference champion, K-State came in behind Georgia, Michigan, Clemson and Utah. Then the Wildcats came in behind TCU, Ohio State, Alabama and Tennessee. So the Wildcats, on the verge of a first-round bye, wouldn’t even host a first-round game.

4-Utah in Rose Bowl vs. winner of...

12-Tulane at 5-TCU

And here’s one of the charms of the 12-team format. A playoff game at Amon G. Carter Stadium. We’ll see postseason football at some of the smaller, quainter venues of the sport. And that’s great. Not every game has to be in Ohio Stadium.

Tulane would go to Fort Worth this year, but it’s not a stretch to see a Penn State or a USC playing in Fort Worth or Manhattan. That’s great for college football.

And the winner is in the Rose Bowl. Sorry, Pasadena.

3-Clemson in Orange Bowl vs. winner of...

11-Penn State at 6-Ohio State

One of the few flaws in the system is the possibility of conference rematches. A Penn State at Ohio State game isn’t nearly as charming as Kansas State at Tennessee. Same with Tennessee playing Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, should the Vols have gotten past KSU.

The NCAA Tournament always has tried to avoid intraconference games, but now those can occur as early as the Sweet 16. And with a 12-team format, you don’t really want to tinker with the seedings. So we live with Ohio State-Penn State, and the television ratings would be huge.

2-Michigan in Cotton Bowl vs. winner of...

10-Southern Cal at 7-Alabama

Assuming USC quarterback Caleb Williams is healthy, this would have been a great showdown. And waiting would be Michigan.

I’m telling you, this is transformational. Great matchups week piled up on week.

The semifinals eventualy will be played the second week of January. This year, that would have meant the Fiesta and Peach bowls, which host the semis this season, only on New Year’s Eve.

The bracket would include three teams each from the Southeastern Conference and Big Ten, two each from the Big 12 and Pac-12, one from the Atlantic Coast Conference and one from the American Conference.

No Notre Dame. Lots of years, the Fighting Irish would take away a spot from one of the conferences.

The Big 12 would be glad to have this kind of bracket every year. Two teams included. Last year, OSU and Baylor would have gotten in. This year, TCU and Kansas State.

That’s all the Big 12 could want, with the advantages enjoyed by the SEC and Big Ten in numbers, resources and hype.

More:Tramel: Max Duggan's anguish dissolves as playoff committee respects Big 12 & TCU

The List: Thunder corner 3s

The corner 3-pointer is considered the best shot in basketball. Well, this side of a dunk or uncontested layup. The corner 3 comes with the bonus of an extra point, but at a reduced distance.

The NBA’s 3-point line is 22 feet from the basket, 21 inches shorter than from the arc.

The Thunder this season is shooting 40.2 percent from the corners.

OKC is not a good shooting team (the Thunder ranks 20th in overall 3-point percentage at .338 and 17th in foul shooting at .784).

The key to any offense is getting more corner 3-pointers. Here are the Thunder’s best corner 3 shooters so far:

1. Lindy Waters III 1.000: Small sample size, 2-of-2. But in Waters’ limited minutes, he needs more corner 3s.

2. Josh Giddey .636: Giddey is 6 of 11 on corner 3s. Remarkable, considering he’s 11 of 51 on all other 3-point shots. But it’s hard to get Giddey in the corner. He’s a driver and facilitator, so the corner isn’t an optimal place for him to light.

3. Eugene Omoyuri .625: Another small sample size, 5 of 8, so I definitely want to see more.

4. Darius Bazley .500: Nobody puts Baby in the corner, but could someone please put Bazley in the corner. His defense has high value, but he’s struggled to find himself offensively, with too many drives and turnovers. However, Baze is shooting like it’s 2020. He made 34.8 percent of his 3-pointers as a rookie three years ago and has shot below 30 percent each of the last two years. This season, Bazley is up to 36 percent on 3s, including 4 of 8 from the corner.

5. Kenrich Williams .467: Williams has made 7 of 15 from the corner. Just a good ball player.

6. Aleksej Pokusevski .450: Poku has made 9 of 20 from the corners. Just more evidence of his evolution as a player.

7. Mike Muscala .400: Musky is 2 of 5 from the corners and hasn’t played in awhile due to a broken finger. But he can make shots.

8. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl .391: JRE is 9 of 23 from the corners. That’s solid.

9. Aaron Wiggins .375: Wiggins has made 6 of 16 from the corners. Keep that up and he’ll be fine.

10. Isaiah Joe .375: No reason to put Joe in the corner. He’s made 3 of 8 from there, but he’s such a shooter, defenses aren’t going to lag off. Might as well get him out on the wing in the flow of the offense.

11. Luguentz Dort .346: Dort has made 9 of 26 from the corners. He’s such a confounding offensive player. He’s back up to 32.8 percent overall on 3s, so he’s not that much worse from the arc than from the corner.

12. Trae Mann .308: Mann is 4 of 13 from the corners, so small sample size. He’s a penetrator, so having him in the corner doesn’t accomplish much.

13. Ousmane Dieng .273: Dieng is 3 of 11 from the corners. He’s a good passer, so it might not be worth it to put him in the corner.

14. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander .250: Only upon accident should SGA find himself in the corner.

15. Santa Clara Williams .250: Santa Clara is 1 of 4 from the corner, so that means virtually nothing.

16. Arkansas Williams .000: He threw up one from the corner.

More:Instant analysis: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder snap losing streak vs. Timberwolves

Cincinnati hires Scott Satterfield

The Big 12 has a new head football coach, and you don’t know much about Scott Satterfield. Which is fine. You don’t know much about Satterfield’s new school.

Cincinnati announced Satterfield as its football coach Monday, a week after ultra-successful Luke Fickell left the Bearcats for Wisconsin.

Cincinnati joins the Big 12 on June 30. For all we know, OU or OSU could be playing Satterfield’s Cincinnati team before October.

Here’s the quick version of Satterfield’s biography.

He turns 50 in two weeks. Grew up in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and made 27 starts at quarterback for Appalachian State in the 1990s. The 1995 Mountaineers, under coach Jerry Moore, reached the NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinals.

Satterfield graduated from Appalachian State in 1996 and was a Mountaineer assistant coach from 1998-2008. He took jobs at Toledo and Florida International, then returned to his alma mater as offensive coordinator in 2012.

It’s possible that Satterfield was brought back to succeed Moore, who was Appalachian State’s head coach from 1989-2012, with three I-AA national championships and a record of 215-87. Most notably, Appalachian State opened the 2007 season with a 34-32 upset at Michigan. Satterfield was on Moore’s staff for that game.

Moore stepped down after 2012, and Satterfield replaced him. In six years as the Mountaineers’ head coach, Satterfield went 51-24, including 38-10 in the Sun Belt, as he led Appalachian State through the transition of going into Division I-A.

Satterfield jumped to Louisville after the 2018 season, and in four seasons with the Cardinals, his teams went a combined 25-24, including 15-18 in the ACC.

Now Satterfield is Cincy-bound. Ironically, Louisville and Cincinnati play in the Fenway Bowl on Dec. 17.

"He has a calming presence," Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham told ESPN. "He's been through it all. He's also taken a school from the FCS to the FBS, which is a really tough transition. There's time with us going to the Big 12. That's important. He has that calm way about him during these types of moments."

Here are my early thoughts on Satterfield:

• He’s not a home-run hire. UC has a great track record of hiring head coaches, and maybe Satterfield will fill the bill, but he was just so-so at Louisville.

In fact, Satterfield spent much of this season on the hot seat at Louisville. His Cardinals got off to a 2-3 start, including a 34-33 loss at Boston College, the ACC’s worst team.

But from there, the ‘Ville won four straight, beating Virginia, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest and James Madison. The Cardinals finished off a 7-5 season by losing to Clemson, beating North Carolina State and losing to Kentucky.

Satterfield had just two years remaining on his contract and had a minimal buyout, estimated at $4.875 million.

So in some ways, Cincinnati is a parachute for Satterfield.

• Over the years, Cincinnati clearly has had more football success than has Louisville. Still, it’s interesting that a school just making the jump to Power Five Conference status could entice a coach from a school that has been Power Five for almost a decade.

It’s not the Houston-hires-away-Dana-Holgorsen-from-West-Virginia story, but it’s in the neighborhood.

Part of that was Satterfield’s shaky status at the ‘Ville, but still, it’s a feather for UC to pilfer the Louisville coach.

• When hiring a coach these days, it might be better than ever to hire a current head coach, because of the portal ramifications. Will Satterfield bring some guys with him from Louisville to Cincinnati? I don’t know. But that’s happening a lot around the country. It’s a way to fortify a roster when a coaching change occurs.

• There is no great reason for Cincinnati to be a better football job than Louisville. UC has a slight — really slight — geographic edge, but Louisville has many more resources, courtesy of basketball, and a 10-year headstart on Power Five money.

But UC consistently has won more. Louisville is 5-4 vs. Cincinnati since both teams left Conference USA for the Big East in 2005, but they haven’t played since 2013.

Louisville has placed in the final top 10 of the national rankings twice ever — No. 6 in both 2004 and 2006. The Cardinals have finished in the top 20 only twice since then.

Cincinnati has finished in the top 20 five times since 2006, including two top-10 rankings.

UC has been to four major bowls in the last 15 years. Louisville has been to three major bowls in its history, and the 1990 Fiesta trip hardly counts, since many schools boycotted over the state of Arizona’s failure to declare Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a holiday.

So it’s a good move for Satterfield. Was it a good move for Cincinnati?

More:OU football: One year after Brent Venables' arrival, Sooners have plenty of questions

Mailbag: Value of bowls

Sooners Eric Gray, Anton Harrison, Wanya Morris and Jalen Redmond will skip the Cheez-It Bowl, and we assume some Cowboys will do the same for the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. That bothers some fans.

Don: “Why bother with bowl games when due to opt-outs, most teams are mere shadows of their former selves? And in some cases, their former selves weren't much to boast about. I seem to remember a thing called loyalty. I know the answer, it's the money, and it's about ‘me,’ and someone may get hurt, but it's still the money, or more correctly the love of it.”

Tramel: Loyalty is a two-way street. Opting out was not invented by the players. It was invented by coaches. Don’t blame the players.

The bowls will continue as long as people watch them. And so far, the bowls remain ratings gold for ESPN.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at 405-760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today. 

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Big Ten gets the jump on the SEC in college football conference war