The slate of Big Monday games ESPN unveiled for the Big 12 next season is proof of one of the most time-honored adages in sports.
To the victor goes the spoils.
Kansas will appear on Big Monday a league-high four times next season, a well-deserved reward for a program that has won or shared the league title each of the past 10 years.
Oklahoma and Iowa State, two of the top challengers for the Jayhawks next season, could also make four appearances apiece depending on if their March 2 matchup in Ames is chosen. ESPN will decide closer to the date whether that matchup or Baylor's visit to Texas is more appealing.
Texas is the only other Big 12 team that will make multiple Big Monday appearances, while Kansas State, West Virginia and possibly Baylor will make one apiece. In a sign of how far Oklahoma State is expected to fall without Marcus Smart and Markel Brown, the Cowboys will not appear on Big Monday next season, nor will Big 12 bottom feeders Texas Tech and TCU.
It's always hard to judge how well ESPN did selecting the most enticing matchups for national TV, but the early returns on this slate seem encouraging.
Including so many games involving Kansas, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Texas seems like a wise choice since those figure to be four of the strongest programs in the league. It's a bit disappointing Kansas State is only making one appearance, but at least that game is the best possible option — the Wildcats' home game against the rival Jayhawks.
For those wondering why there's no Big Monday game on Jan. 12, the answer is simple: That is the night of college football's national championship game next season.
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