It looks like cooler heads are prevailing in the desert this week. All of the talk heading into the Big 12 Conference’s spring meetings in Phoenix, Arizona was around the likelihood of the conference bringing back the championship game as early as 2016. Now, after meeting on Tuesday, the conference is putting the brakes on the idea.
Last week conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the Big 12 “will probably move in that direction,” when talking about the return of the conference championship game, but it seems the conference’s athletic directors aren’t as keen on the idea without more data.
“I really have been proud of our athletic directors because they chose to respond to not being in the playoff rather than react,” Bowlsby said following Tuesday’s meeting. “I think they’ve been very thoughtful about it and continue to be thoughtful about it. We all believe that one year is not a long enough window or trial to draw any conclusions.
“We may find ourselves in better shape than some other conferences as a result of our model, not in spite of our model.”
Count Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt as one in favor of waiting.
“I don’t believe it would be wise,” said Hocutt via USA Today.
While it seems the conference is going to take a wait and see approach on whether reinstating the conference championship game is wise, the Big 12 has no plans to stop pushing to change the NCAA rule that currently only allows conferences with at least 12 members and two divisions to host a championship game.
“We want to have that option on the table,” Hocutt said. “We want the waiver.”
The Big 12 is the only power five conference that does not play a conference championship game, and the lack of a 13th game seemingly kept both TCU and Baylor from making the college football playoff last season.
Dennis Dodd with CBS Sports made a compelling case earlier in the week why it might be in the conference’s best interest to not overreact to last season. He did the math, and history shows that the underdog pulls off the upset in power five conference championship games 30.3% of the time. That’s nearly one out of every three years, and 66.1% of the time it’s not even the two best teams in the conference playing each other! Whereas, due to the round-robin schedule, it would be for the Big 12.
Compare those odds to the probability of another perfect storm that was last season happening again – six teams pushing for four spots, a tie in the Big 12, Ohio State obliterating Wisconsin – and you can see why the Big 12 might want to wait to see how this plays out over the next few years.
Surprisingly, even one of the coaches jaded by the Playoff selection committee isn’t ready to bring back the championship game just yet.
“You could have a 9-0 team playing a 6-3 team,” Baylor head coach Art Briles told George Schroeder with USA TODAY Sports. “That could happen. Those are implications that need to be looked at. It’s not always gonna be 8-1 against 8-1.”
Even though the conference isn’t ready to bring back the championship game right now, they are expected to finalize a tiebreaker plans on Wednesday to prevent anymore one true co-champions.
“I’m fairly confident we’ll act to put in place a tiebreaker that will determine our champion,” Bowlsby told ESPN in April.“That will eliminate one of the variables from last year.”
The one thing the Big 12 is adamant about is that they won’t be adding any more members to solve their championship game dilemma. What do you think? Should the Big 12 bring back the championship game? Let us know in the comments!