Gundy Talks Big 12 Title Game, Scheduling

The story about whether the Big 12 coaches favor going back to a Big 12 Championship Game is getting a lot of attention now that it appears the NCAA will likely deregulate the opportunity for conferences with less than 12 teams to stage a championship game. Discussion about whether the Big 12 should have a championship game is a hot topic for fans of schools throughout the conference.

Many Oklahoma State fans seem to favor having two more teams in the league. They seem to lament that Louisville did not get in. It likely didn't help at the time that Louisville's top sponsor to get in the league was OU President David Boren. On second thought, maybe if Boren hadn't been playing politics there would have been more support to take the Cardinals.

It doesn't matter now because until the current television contracts with each league, which all run past 2020, reach their conclusion or sides look to renegotiate then nobody is moving. The Big 12, ACC, and Pac-12 are all locked by agreements where any school moving has their television rights stay with their current conference.

The real important issue is getting teams from the Big 12 into the College Football Playoff. I think the Big 12 gets it now and will declare "one true champion" especially since it is easy to determine with a complete round robin schedule being played. Head to head is the world's best tiebreaker.

As for a conference championship game, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy is not for it.

"We have to be very cautious," Gundy said in answering a follow-up question on the Big 12 Teleconference on Tuesday. "Having a team that could run through this undefeated, and then you play against an opponent that very well could have two losses, and that team beats the team that is undefeated, and then you knock that team out. That could happen, and that's why you have to be careful about bringing a conference championship back into the league."

Gundy said an unbeaten or even a one loss Big 12 champion should make it in the College Football Playoff with one exception, non-conference schedule. Gundy has been careful not to tell others how to schedule and he even cited his own team for this upcoming season for not playing at least one power conference team.

"I think there are just two teams in our league (not playing a non-conference game against a power five conference school), and we are one of them. Everybody else is," Gundy said. "I still think it's best for us to let somebody be the conference champion. There's enough respect for the Big 12 now that you're going to get a team in in most cases.

"Nobody will ever know if TCU or Baylor would have been named the conference champion last year, they very well could have gotten in that fourth spot. If you win this league, you're going to get a lot of respect from the committee."

As for that scheduling of at least one school from a power five conference, Gundy is taking care of that. He's always been adamant about not playing a game that can destroy your team early, either physically or emotionally. The Big 12 and its nine conference games is difficult enough. Gundy's solution is pick and choose carefully.

OSU Non-conference Schedules (2016-2018)
2016
Sept. 3, SE Louisiana
Sept. 10, Central Michigan
Sept. 17, Pittsburgh

2017
Sept. 2, Tulsa
Sept. 9, at South Alabama
Sept. 16 at Pittsburgh

2018
TBA South Alabama
TBA Boise State
TBA Central Michigan

Not only do the Cowboys pick up Pittsburgh from the ACC for a power five non-conference opponent but they will have back-to-back seasons with seven homes games in 2015 and 2016 (with seven home games in 2015 thanks to the five home conference games and then four home conference games in 2016 and all three non-conference games at home).

In 2017, they will have six home and six away and then in 2018 it will be back to seven home games. In 2018 there is no power five opponent but Boise will suffice for the committee as a suitable non-conference challenge.


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