For years, fans of the Big 12 football teams complained about schools like the USC Trojans getting into the national title game, despite never playing a conference championship game. The thought was to either make everyone play one of these postseason games, or no one to play one at all. When the Big 12 dropped to 10 teams, some fans got what they wished for and the Big 12′s best team no longer had to play for a championship, optimistically clearing the way for a national title berth.
That isn’t reality.
At the same time that the Big 12 eliminated their conference championship game, the Big Ten and Pac-12 added one. Now, it is the Big 12 that seems to have an advantage. However, things didn’t work out so well for the schools. In the 2011 season, two SEC teams battled for the national title, one of which wasn’t even involved in the SEC Championship game. The Oklahoma State Cowboys didn’t get the call, despite only having one loss.
Would Oklahoma State have made the title game if they had a chance to beat the Kansas State Wildcats in a Big 12 football title game as well?
The Big 12 is not bringing back a title game anytime soon. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is asking the NCAA for the right to have an option to bring back the Big 12 title game, but this is only a formality. The Big 12 has no plans of actually implementing a Big 12 title game with only 10 teams.
Bowlsby spoke Wednesday at a function for Oklahoma State’s Spears School of Business. He says the television ratings and attendance at other conference championship games would indicate that such an event might not be such a wise idea for the Big 12 at this point. – ESPN
This is smart for now. With only 10 teams, a Big 12 title game really isn’t the best plan. Forget about public perception and the fact that a one-loss Big 12 football champion like Oklahoma State was shut out of a deserving national title opportunity in 2011. The fact is that, right now, the Big 12 plays a round robin styled tournament, where every team plays each other and the winning team is the Big 12 Champion. There are still chances for fluke tie-breakers if three teams are tied and they all beat each other, but that is the only thing stopping the Big 12 from crowing a true champion, and hoping the rest of the nation (ie. voters and BCS computers) takes notice.
It was about a decade ago that the Oklahoma Sooners ran through the entire regular season undefeated, one of the strongest teams in college football. Then, the Kansas State Wildcats thumped them in the Big 12 title game. OU made it to the national championship anyway, but their confidence was shattered and the LSU Tigers beat down a stunned Sooners squad.
There is a reason to have a championship game, and it is money. Don’t make excuses when teams without a title game make it to the big game, and then turn around and complain when teams who do have a title game make it over you. Things have changed in the Big 12, and the same people who complained before are shaking their heads now.
If the Big 12 gains two more teams, then bring back the title game because there will no longer be a round robin season long Big 12 football tournament, like there is now. But, for now, a Big 12 title game is not needed. Kansas State and Oklahoma finished the season with the same record in conference (8-1), and the Wildcats beat the Sooners. That is better than any single-game championship you could ask for.