As you probably know, I live in Texas. Now that Lubbock is off the list, I've been to half of the 10 cities in the Big XII to watch USF play, and I've visited two more. So I feel pretty comfortable issuing these power rankings. I put these out on Twitter late Saturday night, but let's expand on that.
1. Austin (Texas) -- not even a contest. The distance between Austin and every other city on the list is staggering. Even with the horrible traffic, no one can touch this place, what with Chuy's and the Alamo Draft House and 6th Street and about a million other things.
2. Norman (Oklahoma) -- Solely on its own merits, Norman is an OK place, though it wouldn't be #2 on the list. But it's close to Oklahoma City, which is actually neat. Also it has casinos with table games, which puts it way ahead in my book. Even with Oklahoma's jacked-up blackjack rules.
3. Fort Worth (TCU) -- plenty of things to do and close to Dallas. Loses points because of traffic. Also loses points because the people aren't as nice as they are other places. Also loses points because I've lived here too long.
4. Lawrence (Kansas) -- it's like this little island of coolness in a giant sea of backwardness. Allen Fieldhouse is amazing. And Kansas City is 40 minutes away, which helps because they have BBQ and casinos.
5. Stillwater (Oklahoma State) -- it's a small place but surprisingly neat. Important note: the best-known bar in town will not make you feel like Wooderson if you're over 30 and you go in it. (See also: #9)
9. Lubbock (Texas Tech) -- I was there for 24 hours and I already feel like I saw the whole city. Every bar I saw is apparently either for college students (Cricket's is the MacDinton's of Lubbock, and that's not a compliment) or bikers. There was a huge dust storm and then it got freezing cold. I don't know what anyone does for fun if it doesn't involve Texas Tech. Collin and I talked about how much salary it would take for us to live there for a year. He said $200,000. I said it didn't matter because my wife would kill me six months in. When I got home, I told her this and she said she would divorce me instead of moving to Lubbock.
10. Waco (Baylor) -- no comment.
NR: Ames (Iowa State), Manhattan (Kansas State), Morgantown (West Virginia). I've heard plenty about all three towns, but I haven't actually been to any of them. Still, I'd be surprised if any of these come in ahead of Stillwater, or behind Waco and Lubbock.