Via USA Today’s George Schroeder, the Big 12 athletic directors are meeting in beautiful Phoenix and they met yesterday and discussed the idea of having the option of the a championship game. Last week, the chorus from the coaches was that there *should* be a championship game. Now . . . not so much:
“I don’t believe it would be wise,” said Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt, who is also a newly minted member of the selection committee.
There was time for a few more deep breaths, anyway. The existing NCAA rule, which requires leagues to have at least 12 members and two divisions, must be altered before any change could occur, anyway. Along with the ACC, the Big 12 is pushing for it, but if it happens, it wouldn’t be until sometime next fall. The Big 12 could reassess then, if it wanted.
“We want to have that option on the table,” Hocutt said. “We want the waiver.”
But it’s just as likely that a Big 12 team will work its way into the playoff bracket next fall without a conference championship game.
This is, without question, the smartest move, and it seems incredibly rare for a conference to be all gung-ho on something, like a conference championship game, and then, completely reverse course and tell everyone that we’re just going to be patient. Actually, this is almost stunning. Via CBS’ Dennis Dodds’, this is what Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said last week:
“What we heard is if we don’t go to a championship game, we’re at a disadvantage,” Bowlsby told reporters last week. “All things being equal, 13 games are better than 12 games. That’s what we heard. So that gives us clear enough direction that we’re coming in at least at a modest disadvantage. We need to do whatever we can to mitigate that.”
As mentioned above, the key for all of this is that the Big 12 wants the Power Five to deregulate the scenarios for a conference championship game and if it turns out that it is important, then that’s fine:
“We were so close to being golden,” Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt said.
When asked if he overreacted to Long’s interpretation, Bowlsby said, “Maybe I did. I’m not immune to that.”
It’s good to see this ability to not let one year determine the entire conference moving forward.