Big 12 Conference to reinstate Football Championship Game in 2017

By Kevin Kelley -

The Big 12 will reinstate their football championship game beginning with the 2017 season, the conference announced Friday at the conclusion of their annual spring meetings.

“The addition of a football championship game allows for a 13th data point for our teams under consideration for the College Football Playoff,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “Work will begin on developing scheduling models and host site options.”

The last Big 12 Football Championship Game was played in 2010. Host sites for the game included Arlington, TX (2), Kansas City, MO (5), San Antonio, TX (3), Houston, TX (2), Dallas, TX (1), and St. Louis, MO (2).

Bowlsby said today that bids will be taken to host the game at neutral-site venues or possibly at campus sites.

In addition to the championship game being reinstated, Bowlsby also stated that the conference will split into two five-team divisions and will retain a full round-robin schedule.

According to Jimmy Burch of the Star-Telegram, the Big 12 Football Championship Game will be televised by FOX in 2017. ABC/ESPN will then televise the 2018 contest and ensuing games in even-numbered seasons through 2024, while FOX will televise in odd-numbered seasons.

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  1. Dave
    June 3, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Just expand to 12 teams. WHat are you afraid of? Are you that greedy? This will be the
    Least interesting of any conference championship and the only guarantee is that it will be a repeat game of the regular season.

    • Kevin
      June 4, 2016 at 10:22 am

      What’s the driver for expanding to 12?

    • Eric
      June 4, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      Dave,

      There are a few issues driving the Big 12 not to expand. The first is money, sure you can go and invite a couple more Texas schools like Houston and SMU to keep the money coming into the conference, but no school in the Big 12 atm is jumping at the idea to add more Texas schools. The second is location and the ability to bring more money to the conference, while limiting travel issues, personally the only team possibly 2 teams that deserve true consideration are Boise State and BYU, but that comes back to the issue of travel (West Virginia) so any expansion atm the Big 12 would do would probably come going East, Cincinnati continues to fonder at 8-4, 8-5 sure they had 2 or 3 BCS bowls with Brian Kelly as their coach but what have they done since? Idc what Memphis fans say, you can’t believe one good year in the AAC should get you into the Big 12 they need to have a decade of excellence at a minimum before being considered.

      So the Big 12 right now is doing this in baby steps in hopes they don’t need to expand. Their initial idea was no conference game, and instead of making Baylor conference champion (sorry TCU fans you did lose head to head) they tried to get cute and make them co-conference champions. The idea here has the potential to backfire because the chances of the divisions being extremely even are slim to none, because each school is going to want the same number of trips to Texas (on a 2 year cycle). Also what happens when you have years that you get an upset in the title game, or possibly in most years where you have the teams finish in a tie for the overall record. (i.e. Say Oklahoma is in the North, and Texas is in the South, Texas beats Oklahoma in the red river rivalry and loses in title game).

      Ultimately the Big 12 is going to be “forced” to expand it’s just matter of when not if they expand.

  2. Day
    June 3, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Ever since Mizz, Nebraska & A&M have left the conference, it has not been that strong as a football conference, adding this championship game will at least give it some merit but truly only Oklahoma & Texas are rich in history when it comes to football. Baylor & TCU are very good teams but without a conference championship or an undefended season, Big-12 is never going to be looking at a playoff berth. Not sure what other 2-4 teams to add to this conference without hurting it, The BIG & SEC just stepped in & took what they wanted that easy. In my opinion the SEC, BIG, ACC & Pac-12 are bigger & better conferences then the Big-12 when it comes to football & if the day ever comes to when Texas & Oklahoma leave, forget about it! The Big-12 will turn into another AAC. Good luck Big-12.

  3. Travis B
    June 3, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Glad the Championship Game is back!

    As fans, how can you not look at it as just one more game we get to watch? Yeah, a rematch might not be as interesting to some, but I think it’ll be great! They are already talking about splitting into divisions and doing games away from division play earlier in the conference schedule to make it so the rematch wouldn’t be back to back. Instead it’ll be a game that took place in September or October.

    B12 fans, I know that some years it might not be the best for the team that finishes with the best overall conference record over everybody. But that year where you have a CCG between two 11-1 teams and your team has a chance to avenge that early season loss to make the playoffs, you’re going to love it! Just saying!

  4. Rodger Salkil
    June 4, 2016 at 12:47 am

    It will suck. They do not need a championship game when you play a round robin schedule. Let’s say that a team goes undefeated and the other team has two or three losses in conference play. The undefeated team already beat that team. Then they have to play again to prove their point. Then the team with three losses upsets the undefeated team. You now have a luck champion not a real champion. They should not have to play. Then your round robin champion loses out on the national championship playoffs. It is not fair to the team that won their games. It will not work. Even if a team ties for the championship with the same records, it still is not fair, because one team beat the other. That should be enough to decide who should go. For example: Baylor should have gone over TCU, because they beat them back in 2014. They share the conference championship by giving them both trophies, but Baylor should have represented the conference in the playoffs that year. It is not hard to figure it out. ESPN though makes out like it is, because they are nothing but idiots anyway.

    • UH Dave
      June 4, 2016 at 2:04 am

      Rodger, your points are right on. They don’t realize that when your scenario happens they will be screwed. The championship game only makes sense if they weren’t playing a round-robin regular season. Now, they really need to add 2 teams.

      Spot on assessment!!

    • Travis B
      June 4, 2016 at 8:16 am

      I do prefer they add 2 teams and the Championship Game would make more sense. But it won’t be as bad as some of you think.

      This whole “our best team could lose” thing is such a whiny and scared mentality IMO. If the team does get upset with the playoffs coming up, they show they most likely aren’t deserving to compete with the best anyways.

      Now I get that can happen and probably will happen at some point so I can understand the frustration. But it’s also going to give you no doubts that you will be left out by sitting at home while others are playing. You get that last chance to impress the committee and win another game over a ranked opponent, which is a huge to the committee incase you haven’t noticed.

      But you won’t be left wondering, “dang we are left out, maybe an extra game would’ve helped?”

      You control your own destiny and that’s actually a GOOD THING. So I guess I disagree with you on some things and that’s okay. I still would rather have the conference expand to 12 as well…

    • Day
      June 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      Roger, I get where you are coming from & you are pretty much correct, please keep in mind though The Big-12 has a better chance of getting a team into the playoffs with a championship then without one. plus you never know what that 2 or 3 loss team can stir up.

    • Eric
      June 6, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      Rodger,

      You do have some valid points, but for the most part teams playing for conference titles, rarely have 3 losses especially in Power 5 conferences, the last power 5 conference that possibly had a 3 loss team would have been the Big 10, but that was more due to Ohio State and Penn State being on probation, idr what the other division had that year.

      Also keep in mind Power 5 teams may have 3 losses but probably 1 if not 2 of those losses are going to come from non conference play (i.e. Clemson for instance could have a scenario where they play South Carolina, and Notre Dame and possibly a third Power 5 team) thus the argument could be made that a strong OOC schedule could trump the losses. Not saying it would happen, but it could be made

  5. GamerTeeTom
    June 4, 2016 at 1:29 am

    I’m happy for the conference championship game, but why continue to do a round-robin schedule when going to split the conference into 2 divisions? That doesn’t make much sense.

    If you going to split the conference into divisions, each team needs to have at least one team, from the other division, that they will not play. An 8-game conference schedule isn’t hard to use, there are at least 2 other conferences that uses it, and they doing just fine. At least with a 8-game schedule, the CCG could possibly NOT be a rematch of two teams.

    I assume the divisions will be as the following:
    Division 1: Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
    Division 2: West Virginia, Baylor, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech

    • Travis B
      June 4, 2016 at 8:11 am

      They can do an 8 game conference schedule if they want but their current TV contract requires 9 so I am guessing that’s why they will stick with it…

    • GamerTeeTom
      June 6, 2016 at 3:38 am

      Well, if they have to keep the 9-game schedule, I guess each team will play all of the opposing division teams first, before any of their own division teams. This would keep the CCG from being a rematch of November.

      (Note: Iowa State and West Virginia may play each other in the last game for 2017, due to ISU has it’s 3 OOC games scheduled and same goes for other teams, but after that I recommend they find a 12th game opponent.

      Ideal 12th Week Game:
      Iowa State .vs. BYU, USC, or Stanford
      West Virginia .vs. Notre Dame (if they would break the contract with USC/Stanford)

    • GamerTeeTom
      June 6, 2016 at 3:44 am

      *Ideal Final Week Game

  6. Kevin
    June 4, 2016 at 10:35 am

    I actually wish the teams that match division champs in a Championship game (like the ACC and the SEC) would revert to a format where the top two teams in the overall standings match up in the championship game… There’s been too many times where teams with two and three losses won their division and were invited to the championship game instead of a clearly superior team in the other division that finished second… One of these years the team with three losses is going to knock off and undefeated SEC champ and then they are going to jump on the bandwagon as well … And who really cares if it’s a rematch anyhow?!? ..that happens in other formats all the time. The important difference in the championship game would be that it would be only neutral sites. The big 12 conference feels like it needs a championship game because Baylor and TCU were ignored for Ohio State… I’ll go ahead and break it to you but that’s going to happen every year whether there’s a championship game or not…

  7. Colin White
    June 4, 2016 at 11:20 am

    If they’re still retaining the round-robin conference schedule, I don’t see the need for divisions. It will fail to produce the two best teams.

  8. Stuart
    June 4, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    The only reason I can see for Divisions is for a scheduling arrangement. You can schedule so the champions of each will not most likely play each other the last month. You can make 4 of each teams last 5 games in division. That reduces the chances of a repeat game (there has to be one crossover each week) 1 in 5, for the last month, and of the last game repeat 1 in 25 (assuming all are equal — your final crossover game can be Kansas vs. Baylor which makes the probability about zero). If the schedule is laid out correctly there is at least an 80% chance the teams will have played in the first four weeks. Logically, you will place the Red River battle the 3rd week in October and leave it there permanently, allowing Texas and Oklahoma to be in separate divisions. You have to put OU and OSU in the same division so bedlam is likely to decides who plays in the CCG. You do the same for other pairings that want each other as a final week rivalry game (e.g., TCU-Texas). This will make the CCG feel fresh, and avoid the “don’t show what you got” final weekend game that you see in the pros (the Pac-12 had one of those a couple years ago with Stanford, and both that game and the CCG sucked)

    The reason for a CCG is obvious, $27-28m in additional revenue, and a 13th game, a ranked opponent. That is an extra $2.5m per school in their pocket, helping to narrow the gap with the SEC and B1G a bit. That is too much to pass up.

    I can’t see ESPN or FOX wanting Bog 12 expansion. All that does is add an overflow game to the already full secondary channels. UConn hosting Iowa State is not going to bump Oklahoma at Texas, and Cincy (or Colorado State) visiting Illinois is not bumping Arkansas visiting TCU or Notre Dame going to Texas. So the networks get almost zero additional content value, lose a few existing compelling match ups (every school has plays one and most two fewer current rivals to instead play less compelling new member from the G5) and pay the conference 20% more money for 2 schools. I suspect the weaker opponents would also impact the SOS the committee looks at when selecting the Playoffs. ESPN’s leverage with Texas is huge on this point – and Texas is taking that lead. FOX has some ,but obviously less leverage with OU. But bottom line I think expansion will be torpedoed by Texas, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

    • Travis B
      June 4, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      http://s33.postimg.org/gm77u9hpr/image.jpg

      ^^ Check out this custom schedule I made with the divisional setup. I made my divisions for the example of Old Big Eight and then SWC/WVU.

      The only problem is if you want everyone to play on rivalry weekend, which is the norm for everybody with no byes, you have to have one non-divisional game on that last weekend. So I went ahead and paired the rivalries and put ISU-WVU as my only non-divisional game for the final weekend cause everybody else matches up and I see that game being an almost complete rarity of ever happening in the CCG.

      Remember this schedule I made isn’t perfect. It was something I quickly put together just to show that you can schedule with divisions and get most all of your non-divisional play out of the way earlier in the season. This way the rematch in the CCG won’t be a game that just took place. There are usually a lot more variables with a conference schedule like earlier conference games. One thing I also made sure of was that each divisions switches off between 4 and 5 home games. So that way everybody in your division plays the same amount of home games as you in conference and inside the division.

  9. Ron
    June 4, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Need to get Chicago Market. Northen Illinois with football tradition and similar school size to many of Big 12 schools is an attractive choice. TV market is crucial in staying competitive .

  10. chipmunk
    June 4, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Until the Big Twelve mans up and goes two at least 12 teams nothing they do well make their attempt at having a championship game even close to what the other conferences have. Why even have a name like Big Twelve with only ten teams. Add two teams and get on with the program.

  11. chipmunk
    June 4, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Why did they ever change the rule to make it mandatory to have 12 teams before you can hold a championship game. Ever time their is a good rule they seem to change to make someone happy.

  12. Andrew Moser
    June 4, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Both BYU and Cincinnati would be fantastic additions to the Big 12 Conference. If both schools elect to join the league, then the divisions would be as follows:

    a) North Division = BYU, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, and West Virginia
    b) South Division = Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Christian, and Texas Tech

    Each team would still play eight or nine conference games per season in football. In addition, each team would have a crossover from the opposite division that it plays every year. The crossover matchups would be as follows: BYU vs. Baylor, Cincinnati vs. Texas Tech, Iowa State vs. Oklahoma, Kansas vs. Oklahoma State, Kansas State vs. Texas Christian, and West Virginia vs. Texas.

    Boom! Just like that, the Big 12 Conference realignment is solved, and no further bullshit is needed. Thank you! #big12mustbe12teamsagain

    • Day
      June 5, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      Wow, that south division would be HELL to get through, I mean TT would be the only team that is easy to beat & they throw up 38 points a game. Not sure what to think of the north division, Toss up between BYU & W.Virginia.

    • Vic
      June 5, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      No need for permanent crossover games if the divisions are setup like that. None of those permanent crossovers you mention are rivalries worth protecting.

      However, I don’t see the divisions being divided like that. You have arguably the best six teams in one division. The Oklahoma schools in all likelihood will be separated from the Texas schools to maintain some sort of balance of power. Also, in that scenario I see Texas-Oklahoma being the only protected crossover.

    • Andrew Moser
      June 6, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      Vic, both the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the Southeastern Conference (SEC) have a setup where everyone has a crossover every year. Although the proposed Big 12 crossovers might not make sense right now, as time progresses, new and/or old rivalries will commence and work out for the better. Moreover, competition over time breeds rivalries and makes it worth every penny. #straightupfacts

  13. Mac
    June 6, 2016 at 8:03 am

    The XII needs to expand to 12 teams. Period. The biggest hurdle is LHN having to split the annual revenue more so with the addition of 2 schools, and I’ve a feeling this would also put pressure on WVU to disband, since they’re the oddball travel school. My premonition feels that a team from the AAC will depart for the XII. This would give way for Army to join the AAC. Then, BYU would muster the nerve to join, which would leave Notre Dame as the only IND school. Notre Dame would have to make the decision to either join a conference full time, or face the reality that they might have to be renegotiated in order to qualify for championship consideration.

    I’ve got a gut feeling that realignment is nigh, and we will see our first super conference in the next decade…*cough, Big Ten, cough*

    EAST: MARYLAND, PENN STATE, RUTGERS, WEST VIRGINIA
    LAKES: MICHIGAN, MICHIGAN STATE, NOTRE DAME, OHIO STATE
    VALLEY: ILLINOIS, INDIANA, NORTHWESTERN, PURDUE
    WEST: IOWA, MINNESOTA, NEBRASKA, WISCONSIN

    • Day
      June 6, 2016 at 3:57 pm

      LAKES: MICHIGAN, MICHIGAN STATE, NOTRE DAME, OHIO STATE

      When I see this, all I can think of is having 4 angry brothers in the same room & they all hate each other. I don’t really think that any of these fans from these schools get a long at all, not even if they are married to one another….lol

  14. Jim
    June 6, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Notre Dame is a proxy-member of the ACC

    • Andrew Moser
      June 7, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      Jim, I have a solution for this matter. Notre Dame must leave the ACC and join the Big Ten in all sports except football. The Fighting Irish would play five B1G opponents every season, with both Michigan and Purdue as its permanent B1G foes that it plays every year. #NDisB1Gready

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