Beebe Weighs Future Late Season Options

The Sooners won the final Big 12 Championship game, or so most people think.

Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini thought otherwise before last weekend's finale in Arlington, Texas, which OU won in a 23-20 thriller.

"As far as it being the last Big 12 Championship game, I think it's probably the last one maybe for a year or two, but I don't think this will be the last Big 12 Championship," Pelini said. "It just so happens that I think the conference will keep thriving. It will probably add [some teams]—who knows what's going to happen. But I don't think for the foreseeable future [it's necessarily gone], I wouldn't be surprised if you see a Big 12 Championship come back around here pretty quick."

Sooner head coach Bob Stoops was less forward about the possibility of a future championship game in midst of the departure of two Big 12 schools, including Nebraska and Colorado.

"We'll see, hopefully that is the case," Stoops said. "It's hard to speculate on where things will move to and go. But if there are more, that would be great. If there aren't that will be great, too. So, it will pretty much be great one way or the other."

The conversation was something that was brought up to Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe.

"Yeah, I thought, you know, Bo [Pelini] was pretty clear about thinking that we're going to have one in the future," Beebe said before the matchup. "And Bob was more ambivalent about it the way I read his comments. And I haven't had a chance other than just to greet the coaches earlier and tell them good luck to ask them more of what they're thinking."

What's interesting about the discussion is the irony of the past.

"I mean, in the past in our conference, our coaches have been if not unanimous, nearly unanimous against having a championship game," Beebe said. "And it would be interesting if they shifted that view all of a sudden because that's something we haven't heard since I've been here in the eight years I've been here and even prior to that that they've had that interest."

A lot of it, Stoops said, is circumstantial.

"You know, it's funny because I've been asked that a lot," Stoops said. "This game, and I'm saying this in a humble way, we've been fortunate to have been in this position several times looking at the National Championship picture and being in that game. So, this game then is one that you're thinking what in the world are we playing this for when you look at some of these other conferences and they're not. They're in a National Championship right up are there, ready to play for it, too.

"They're home sitting down, eating turkey, watching you. But other years when you're not in that picture, for instance, this year, it's incredibly exciting and it's a game that you're glad you have. So, it's been a little bit of a double-edged sword that way, for us."

For the near future, at least, the conference championship game option is out.

Each team will play each other starting next season, comprising of nine conference games.

"You know, I've said before that there's a high degree of interest of having the opportunity to play everybody, and in fact, somewhat of an excitement about the fact that everybody else has copied with [what] the Big 12 and the SEC did 15 or more years ago and now we're going back to having a conference the way they were set up originally and that we're somewhat innovative in that regard," Beebe said.

That's reason to believe it's not such a viable option right from the current.

"So, I don't see or feel a great amount of momentum to go that direction," Beebe said. "And we'll have to see as we go on and have a few years of playing a round robin and putting some significant games on this date how we'll feel about it."

As for right now, the more pressing decision is how to schedule the end of the regular season.

The Big 12 Conference will have to decide if and if so which games to schedule on the weekend of what has been the conference title game for the past 15 years.

"We're still analyzing that, talking to our television partners and, you know, I fully expect that we'll have a game or two," Beebe said. "I'm not sure if we'll have many more than that."

It, Beebe said, majorly depends on one thing.

"I mean, they'll have to be games that our members know that are going to be televised, I think," Beebe said. "So, we don't want to place teams on this date unless we can think they're going to be televised, and so we'll be talking a lot with our television partners, and I think we've seen in the past with other conferences that sometimes those end of the year games can be of even more significance than the championship game in some other conference."

That means it will more than likely have to be games the caliber of Bedlam (OU-OSU), the Lone Star Showdown (Texas-Texas A&M) and the Border War (KU-Missouri).

"I mean, some of the big rivalry games are being looked at right now," Beebe said. "But I'd hate to get out there without having full involvement of our membership, so to be [fair], we've had discussions about it, so but those are internal right now, and I'm not prepared to really venture out and say which ones we're really zeroing in on."

He was prepared, however, to say it's under heavy discussion.

Dan Beebe Press Conference Part I

Dan Beebe Press Conference Part II

Dan Beebe Press Conference Part III

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