When it was announced months ago that the Big 12 would look at adding a conference championship game in 2017, it was thought that the league would split into two 5-team divisions (especially since the Big 12 chose not to expand). Today we’ve learned that while we are getting a Big 12 title game, there won’t be divisions.
#Big12FB: When the championship game returns in 2017, it will be No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the conference standings - https://t.co/F8uuSbORCV pic.twitter.com/ZFnmWSb9Np— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) October 28, 2016
So that means that in 2017, the top two teams in the standings will meet in the Conference Championship. Here’s what Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby had to say about today’s announcement.
On the plus side; It’s good that the two best teams are guaranteed to meet, that way you don’t get a 10-1 team versus a 7-5 team in the title game. On the down side...
If new Big 12 rule would've been in place last year, we would've had that Bedlam blowout in Stillwater, followed by a rematch 7 days later.— Curtis Fitzpatrick (@cfitzfox) October 28, 2016
No divisions means the (real) possibility of two teams meeting two weeks in a row. Without expansion, we knew the Big 12 title game would end up being a rematch. At least with divisions, you could make sure everyone played a “division” game the last week of the regular season to avoid the situation we now have.
On the flip side; since the Big 12 went to 10 teams, with the current teams in the league, 2015 is the only time the two title contenders would have played the week before. That’s one time out of five. So while it is a possibility, it’s not a strong one. Of course, knowing the way the Big 12 is handling things lately doesn’t mean they won’t overreact to the possibility.
So what happens now - the @Big12Conference schedules marquee games early in the season to prevent possible rematches in back-to-back weeks?— Mike Harris (@TheMikeHarris) October 28, 2016
The only thing we do know, this story isn’t over yet, and won’t be until the first championship game in 2017. The league still has one decision to make; where to host the championship game. As of now, Kansas City, San Antonio, and Arlington are all in the running. No word on when that decision will be made.