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Monday, March 06, 2006

Get To Know: The Big 12 Conference

This is the second in an occasional series here at the M Zone showcasing the great game of college football by shining a spotlight on the lore and traditions of various schools.

Our initial Get to Know segment highlighting the Auburn War Eagles/Tigers sparked a bevy of comments and displayed to our readers - and the college football world at large - the hatred that exists between Barners and Bammers. In fact, we think they're still flaming each other in the comment section of that post.

Today's Get to Know segment takes a look at a major quirk in one of college football's great conferences: The Big 12. The conference was formed in 1994 when the Big Eight merged with four schools from the scandal-ridden Southwest Conference. The first Big 12 college football games were played in the fall of 1996. But that's not what this post is all about. No, the reason for this post is to expose five of the Big 12 schools - all five from the Big Eight - that don't seem to know how abbreviations work. The guilty parties are:

  • The University of Kansas
  • The University of Missouri
  • The University of Nebraska
  • The University of Colorado
  • The University of Oklahoma
All of these bastions of higher education use backward abbreviations when referring to themselves (KU, MU, NU, CU, and OU, respectively). And these abbreviations aren't just used in casual conversations among the students and alumni. Three of them actually have the backward usage on their helmets.

I know of no other Division IA schools that do this, yet five of them that do are all in the same conference. In addition, for most of its history, Missouri was referred to as UM. However, about 15 years ago they were bullied into changing into the dyslexic version, MU. Yet, they still seem hesitant about it. All of their branch campuses use UM (UMSL in St. Louis, UMKC in Kansas City, and UMR in Rolla). Even their official site uses the correct version toward the bottom of the linked page.

Interestingly, the official Big 12 site is very particular about how one is to refer to the conference's name. No using "Big XII" or "Big Twelve." It's only supposed to be "Big 12." If they're so concerned about proper usage, they should start with their member schools. But, keep in mind, this very post you're reading is coming from a blog that specializes in a school from a conference that can't even count.


Sean said...

I never realized that. That is weird that they reverse it around.

I guess it'd be like us using MU or M of U right? I don't think M of U would sound very right. lol

BaggyPantsDevil said...

Bizarre, that the backward abbreviations are all located in one region. I can’t help but wonder about some sort of anthropological implication about the descendents of settlers who didn’t quite make it all the way to California.

Of course, reversing the abbreviations does have some humorous possibilities. “C U” could be an amusing, irreverent chant at a defeated opponents after a game. Or maybe that’s what Gary Barnett told Boulder prostitutes when setting up his recruitment incentive program.

How the Florida Gators haven’t caught on to this, I’ll never know. A hearty, roaring, perfectly synchronized chant of “F U” directed at the likes of Bobby Bowden in the oppressive humidity of the Swamp could easily become one of college footballs great traditions. I’m surprised Steve Spurrier missed this.

Engelbert Humperdinck said...

On a slightly different note, why is Indiana University never referred to as the University of Indiana. Is it because they suck or are they just a bunch of jackasses?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your insightful comments, Engelbert. The school's name is Indiana University. The name has always been Indiana University. It sounds cooler than saying 'University of Indiana', which, frankly, makes the speaker sound pretty much like an ignorant jackass. Like, well, you.

Back to the burning issue of the B12 (12Big?), I'd guess that Kansas didn't want its basketball program identified with Kentucky's, and the neighboring schools succumbed to peer pressure. Very odd, though, isn't it?

Engelbert Humperdinck said...

How dare you call me an ignorant jackass!!! But you are correct.

Anonymous said...


I checked myself, and it really is the University of Colorado, the University of Oklahoma, etc.!

I would have bet the farm that it was Oklahoma University and Colorado University (like Indiana University).

These guys in the "Big Twelve" are crrraaaaaazzzy!

Anonymous said...

Kentucky University goes by UK while the University of Kansas is KU. Gotta love common sense.