After the College Football Playoff Committee stated this week that they value a 13-game season over a 12-game season (which seems like common sense to me), Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced that the conference would likely add a play-off game sometime in the near future.
Since the Big 12 dropped to 10 teams, they’ve been at a disadvantage; while other teams are participating in conference championship games the last weekend of the season, Big 12 teams are sitting at home, out of the spotlight.
After attending the committee meetings, Bowlsby admitted:
"What we heard was that if we don’t go to a championship game, we’re at a disadvantage. If we don’t make changes, we’re potentially going into the season with a short stick in our hand."
The Big 12 is the only power conference without a championship game. Under the current NCAA rules, conferences that are not broken into separate divisions cannot hold a title game; however, that is likely to change in 2016 when conference games are deregulated. The commissioner stated that when that happens, the conference will likely make a change:
"Going into the playoff era, it was our understanding we weren’t put at a disadvantage by not having a conference championship game. In the end, I think we are disadvantaged. Now it’s incumbent upon us to make the necessary changes that minimize that disadvantage."
Again, I don’t understand how this is a new revelation. It seems obvious to any one who has been paying attention, and was so from the very beginning, that any team not playing an additional game (especially at the season’s end) would indeed be at a disadvantage.
Nevertheless, while I agree with Commissioner Bowlsby that the Big 12 must find a way to add an additional game, a conference championship game with a 10-team conference is simply not the way to do it.
Due to the fact that all ten Big 12 teams play one another over the course of the season, the conference has touted itself as the only conference to have “One True Champion.”
While that’s true now, the problem is, if you were to add a title game with the current alignment of Big 12 teams, two teams would be forced to play a rematch at the end of the season. If the teams split the wins, what kind of “champion” is that?
Forcing a team to defeat someone they’ve already defeated that season seems meaningless, and could end up damaging their BCS hopes more than not adding a game at all.
The only way to make this work is for the Big 12 to add two additional teams.
There are many programs that would jump at the chance to join a Power Conference, and many of them could have success in the move (look no further than TCU).
The only way for the Big 12 to compete with the other Power Conferences is to add two teams, break into two divisions of six (much like before but with a bit more levity), and then having the two divisional winners meet in the title game in the final week of the season.
Adding a title game without adding teams to justify it is simply meaningless.