Oklahoma is vying for a three-peat in terms of winning the Big 12 championship. If the Sooners are to do it once again in 2017, however, the circumstances will be a lot different.
The season marks the return of the conference championship game, the first one since OU defeated Nebraska in 2010.
OU head coach Bob Stoops appears to be fired up about the game returning once again.
“I think it’s great. It’s another opportunity to be out there on championship week with a big game, with a very important game. I voted to play the second-best team because I thought it would have the biggest impact as opposed to being in divisions where you might play a team that has three or four losses.
“To me that’s your opportunity to have your biggest bang. You’ve gotta beat someone again that’s a really good football team. I thought it was a positive move.”
A positive move that no doubt has some issues. If you take the last two years, OU defeated Bedlam rival Oklahoma State in the final game of the season both times to earn the conference crown.
With the Big 12 playing a round robin schedule, you’re guaranteed a rematch in the title game. Big 12 schedule organizers might be sensing another round of Bedlam, which could be why OU-OSU in Stillwater this year has been moved to the first week of November instead of the final game of the season.
It's a guessing game as to who the conference might believe the two best teams are and the schedule is going to reflect that. There might be some years where it gets it right and some where it’s off and ends up being an immediate rematch. No way of knowing.
One criticism of the rematch is it becoming a no-win situation. If you beat a team again, big deal, nobody cares. If you’re undefeated and then lose to that team, well, now you’ve lost a chance at a conference championship and a berth in the college football playoff.
Stoops, though, still see the conference championship game a good thing for the Big 12, having exposure on that final weekend. And beating a good team? Never a bad thing.
“Hey, I guess it can be depending on who that second team is,” Stoops said. “I believe more often than not it will be a positive though, to be able to beat another really good team again.”