Big 12 Championship Game Or Not?

I know it is a popular opinion that not having a conference championship game cost the Big 12 a participant in the first ever College Football Playoff. On the same Saturday that TCU was drubbing Iowa State and Baylor was handling Kansas State in more of a showdown type of game, Ohio State was crushing Wisconsin and Alabama was cruising by Missouri in Atlanta.

The night before Oregon had won the Pac-12 Championship and on Saturday night Florida State stayed unbeaten in the ACC title contest. The common thought is the Big 12 missed out because they played one less game and they failed to top the marquee or even make it somewhere relevant on Championship Saturday.

I disagree. The Big 12 missed out because they failed to live up to their own motto and have one true champion. The round-robin schedule where every Big 12 team plays every other is the best. There is no need, even if the NCAA deregulates conference championship games, to allow conferences with fewer than 12 teams to play one. It is not fair to let a team that has lost have a second chance.

Besides, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy has a great point. What if the Big 12, as it might often have, has an unbeaten conference champion? Playing that second-place team for the second time is no reward for going through unbeaten.

Baylor head coach Art Briles has a point too. "If the Big 12 has an unbeaten champion then they are going to be in the four-team playoff," Briles said. "I know that will be the case."

"I don't know what direction to go with that," Gundy answered a question on his support for a Big 12 title game. "With the teams that we have in our league and we identify one champion with nine conference games and most of us in this league are playing a school in a non-conference that are playing a team in non-conference from a power five conference. There are only two this year that aren't, us being one of them.

Over the last few years we all have 10 games that the committee would look to for support to go to the playoffs. I still think if you win our league then you are going to have a really good chance to go into the final four. In my opinion, if we would have labeled one team conference champion we would have got a team in this season.

"I'm not sure what to do right now," Gundy added. "I think this thing is going to go to eight teams pretty soon. I know people are saying it is not going to but I think it will. I think we will go to eight before long. I think we have to be very cautious of having a team run through this unbeaten and then have them have to play a team that might have two losses."

Asking an unbeaten team to beat a team they have already won against to confirm their championship is not fair.

That said the majority of Big 12 coaches sat on the fence and showed concern that the league wasn't represented last season. Gary Patterson of TCU had a simple answer.

"If it will get us a team in the four-team playoff then we should play it," Patterson said. "I would be for it."

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