The Big 12 as a conference was left for dead just a short two seasons ago. At that point, Nebraska had left for the Big Ten, Colorado had made a dash for the Pac-12, Mizzou and Texas A&M were moving to the SEC and both Texas and Oklahoma had one foot each out the door.
In the conference meetings this week however, that same Big 12 conference was discussing conference expansion and hosting a league title game — such is life in the topsy-turvy world of college football.
[Related >> Who is going to win the Big 12 championship in 2013?]
Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, simply put, would like the Big 12 to hold a conference championship game. In fact, according to ESPN, Bowlsby has already begun putting the wheels for a request to the NCAA to change the national bylines. Currently, a league must have at least 12 teams to hold a conference championship game, but Bowlsby would like his 10-team league like to be considered for the game.
“At a time when lots of deregulation is taking place, it seems a little bit odd that the NCAA would be describing how we determine our champions,” Bowlsby said Wednesday night.
“I think it’s reasonable to say if you’re going to have a champion that you’re going to have to designate it in one fashion or another. But to say it has to be between 12 schools or that there has to be divisional play or there has to be a round-robin, we’re deregulating lots of things and that certainly is a candidate.”
Obviously, a championship game would prove extremely lucrative for the conference. The Big Ten and the Pac-12 raided the Big 12 specifically in order to move to 12 teams to hold a title game in a neutral, NFL stadium.
However, Big 12 expert David Ubben does not believe holding a title game would be a good idea for the league as it currently stands.
“To win a national title, Big 12 teams would have to beat every [other conference team]. Then on the final week of the season, with the pressure and stakes at their highest point, they’d have to play the league’s No. 2 team, possibly on a neutral field. That’s 10 quality opponents on a 13-game schedule, and maybe 11 or 12, depending on how that team scheduled teams from out of the conference. … A hard road might satisfy the the Big 12’s most macho fans — who will play “anyone! anywhere! any time!” — and might satisfy TV networks looking to write a check for a tantalizing conference schedule. It won’t, however, satisfy the fans who want to see the Big 12 compete for, and win, national titles as often as possible. That’s a shame, and the Big 12 would be well-suited to stick to Bowlsby’s insistence that the league won’t be pursuing a title game, even though it will apply for a waiver to do so.”
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