The Big 12 is the only power five conference that does not have a conference championship game. In a time where strength of schedule means more than ever, and when the College Football Playoff Selection Committee has shown to be heavily swayed from week to week, no championship game may have kept the conference out of the first ever four-team playoff.
The Big 12 has made it known that they’d love to have a conference championship game again. There’s just one problem; the NCAA doesn’t allow it. Currently a conference must have at least 12 members to play a title game.
Several schools would be happy to help the Big 12 meet the requirement, but the conference has been determined to stay at 10 members. That determination may be stronger than ever after today’s news.
The Big 12, along with the ACC, developed legislation to deregulate the rules around conference championship games, and as Dennis Dodd with CBS Sports is reporting on Tuesday, the rule change may happen as early as 2016.
Exactly why the ACC, a conference that currently plays a championship game, is helping push for the change is unclear, but there are rumors they may wish to play in some sort of strange three division format.
“I think there’s some belief that ACC would play three divisions, have two highest-ranked play in postseason,” said Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 commissioner and chairman of the new NCAA Football Oversight Committee. “Really, nobody cares how you determine your champion. It should be a conference-level decision.
“But because the ACC has persisted in saying, ‘We’re not sure what we’ll do,’ there’s probably a little bit of a shadow over it. In the end, I don’t think it’ll be able to hold it up. We’ll probably have it in place for ‘16.”
The ACC maintains that they don’t have any specific plans for the rules change, they simply support the conferences right to determine their champion as they see fit.
“The reason the concept was introduced two years ago was because the league believed, much like other topics, leagues should have their own ability in determining how to structure and host conference championships,” an ACC spokesman reiterated. “Our league has been very consistent in that ever since. There’s no movement toward necessarily changing how our league manages its championship game.”
Allowing individual conferences to decide how they determine their champion seems like a no brainer, but it won’t eliminate controversy. Quite often the two best teams in a conference aren’t playing each other in a title game due to division alignments, and as long as there are five power conferences and just four playoff spots, someone’s going to feel left out.