Big 12 links: After early bowl woes, was the Big 12 overrated?

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Texas' gritty comeback victory over Ohio State in last night's Tostitos Fiesta Bowl pushed the Big 12's bowl record to 4-2. But already, some critics are saying that disappointing losses by bowl favorites Oklahoma State and Texas Tech have tarnished the conference's national reputation.

Oklahoma's matchup with Florida in Thursday's FedEx BCS National Championship Game will be huge in order to reclaim some of that national respect. And it won't be easy considering the Sooners are the biggest underdog in a bowl game under Bob Stoops since their 2001 Orange Bowl triumph over Florida State that propelled them to Stoops' first national championship.

Until then, here are some lunchtime links to get you ready for that game.

  • Pete Thamel of the New York Times wonders if the Big 12's bowl struggles will be a crystal ball for Thursday's BCS National Championship Game.

  • Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes isn't buying reports of the explosive Big 12 offenses. Spikes tells the Dallas Morning News' Kate Hairopoulos that Oklahoma's defense" is a joke" because of its inability to consistently stop opposing teams.

  • Dirk Chatelain of the Omaha World-Herald writes about some potential roadblocks that might keep Nebraska from contending for the 2009 Big 12 North title.

  • Texas won the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, but their gritty comeback over Ohio State likely didn't do much for their hopes of winning a split national championship, according to Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls.

  • San Antonio Express-News columnist Buck Harvey compares Texas to the New York Giants because of their clutch abilities to make plays in key situations. And like the Giants, Harvey believes that the Longhorns would thrive if their sport featured a true playoff system.

  • USA Today compares and contrasts the Big 12 and the Southeastern conference.