1. Husker Dynasty (1997)
Nebraska beat Tennessee 42-17 in the Orange Bowl to win the Big 12’s first national championship. For the Cornhuskers, it was their third national title in four years. For the fledgling Big 12, it established a decade of legitimacy among college football’s elite.
2. The Magic is Back (2000)
Oklahoma defeated Florida State 13-2 in the Orange Bowl to win the league’s second title in five years. Upsetting a perennial powerhouse put the Sooners back on the map and made Bob Stoops a household name. It also gave the Big 12 (and OU) the benefit of the doubt in future BCS rankings.
3. VY Wins One for the Ages (2005)
Texas defeated USC 41-38 in the Rose Bowl for the Big 12’s third national championship and possibly the greatest game of all time. QB Vince Young became a Longhorn immortal and ended the Trojans’ 34-game winning streak. The Big 12 joined the SEC as the only leagues with three national titles since its 1996 inception.
4. Run, Ricky, Run (1998)
Beginning with Texas’ big, fast Ricky Williams — who took Tony Dorsett’s place as the NCAA’s all-time rushing king — Big 12 players took up permanent residence in New York City each December during Heisman festivities.
5. Crouch’s Heisman ( 2001)
Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch proved one last time for Nebraska fans everywhere — as well as legions of old-school Big Eight and Southwest Conference fans — that option quarterbacks can still dominate.
6. What Knee Injuries? (2003)
What a story: Local kid Jason White comes back from not one ACL surgery but two to shatter all kinds of passing records and lead his beloved Sooners to the national title game.
7. A New Slingin’ Sammy (2008)
As OU was nearly undefeated and its offense was shattering every scoring record (nine 50-point games, five consecutive 60-point games), sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford was as good as there ever was.
8. RGIII’s Time to Shine (2011)
After 15 years of futility in Waco, enter Robert Griffin III. The new face of Baylor football ran hurdles, wore dreadlocks, made straight A’s and helped redefine college quarterback play.
9. OU takes down ‘Bama (2013)
The Crimson Tide had won three of the previous four national titles and might have won another if not for a fluke loss to Auburn. The Sooners fell behind early, capitalized on Tide mistakes and were fearless in a 45-31 Sugar Bowl victory.
10. (tie) Rashaun for 7 (2003)
Oklahoma State receiver Rashaun Woods scored an NCAA-record seven touchdowns, all on pass receptions, in a game at SMU.
10. (TIE) Optimus Perine (2014)
Oklahoma freshman Samaje Perine shattered Melvin Gordon’s 1-week-old NCAA record by rushing for 427 yards against Kansas.
Big 12 at 20: