Big 12 Conference Realignment: A Proposal To Replace the Championship Game

Larry KalmusCorrespondent IJune 16, 2010

Here's the "Kalmus Plan To Save the Big 12’s Reputation."

As a Big 12 fan, I have been on pins and needles over the last week. 

First, it was Texas to the Big Ten.  Then Missouri and Nebraska to the Big Ten.  Then Colorado, Texas, A&M, Tech, Okie St, and OU to the Pac-10.  Then swap Colorado with Baylor—no wait, A&M to the SEC.

It was enough to make one’s head explode. 

Finally, Colorado really did go to the Pac-10 and Nebraska went to the Big Ten.  Now, the remaining 10 teams in the Diet Big 12 will schedule round-robin play and forgo the conference championship game.   

While this game has been a thorn in the side of most football coaches, it also has provided an extra game that vaulted the champion into the national spotlight.

This game has had plenty of upsets.  In 1996, unranked Texas upsets No. 3 Nebraska.  In 1998, No. 10 Texas A&M upsets No. 2 Kansas State.  In 2001, No. 9 Colorado upsets No. 3 Texas.  In 2003, No. 15 Kansas State upsets No. 1 Oklahoma.  In 2007, No. 9 Oklahoma upsets No. 1 Missouri.  Most recently, No. 21 Nebraska was a second away from upsetting No. 3 Texas. 

With the exception of the 2003 upset of Oklahoma, these upsets have caused much harm to the favored teams after the losses. 

For example, Texas in 2001 had already beated Colorado, but had to play the Buffaloes again to win the conference, causing the Longhorns to lose a BCS berth. 

In 2007, Kansas—not Missouri —was selected for a BCS game after Mizzou lost to Oklahoma, even though they had just beaten Kansas one week prior. 

However, it is hard to deny that this game does provide a bump in the polls to the winner when there are not two clear-cut teams that should go to the national championship game. 

The conferences with a CCG would ultimately get an advantage over similarly ranked teams in a conference without one. 

For example, the undefeated Texas and Alabama, which both played in a CCG were selected for the NC game in 2009 over Boise State, Cincinnati, and TCU, which were also undefeated—but their conferences did not have a CCG.

This illustrates that the pollsters perceive the lack of the CCG as a weakness, so while the Big 12 coaches may like the loss of the CCG, it may come back to haunt them. 

That is unless the Big 12 Lite did something radical. 

The only other Big Six conference now without a conference championship game is the Big East.  Why couldn’t the two conferences team up and have a cross-conference championship game? 

Take the winner of the Big 12 Lite and the winner of the Big East and have them play on the first week of December.  This would provoke national interest in these teams and could help the winner make it into the national championship game. 

And here’s the kicker: The two teams that would be playing in this game would both still be guaranteed a spot in a BCS bowl, since this game will not affect their conference standings, because it would be classified as an out-of-conference game. 

Since they have already been crowned champions of their respective conferences, they cannot lose their BCS bid.  This also allows for the winner to make a stronger case for inclusion in the NC, because they would technically be the champion of two conferences. 

Both of these conferences are (will be) looked down upon as weak, however, their champion could be seen as more deserving than the other conference champs, because they would have beaten the best of 18 teams, instead of just 12. 

This would also eliminate the chance of these two conferences playing each other in a BCS bowl.  Since these conferences are perceived as weak, they may be consistently paired together like the ACC-Big East have been or like Boise State and TCU were in 2009. 

The selection committee would not dare put on a rematch of a game that had just occurred a few weeks earlier. 

If this had happened this year, Cincy and Texas could have played for the Big 12-Big East title, and thus, eliminated one of those teams from an attempted BCS Championship game bid. 

This could also catch on in other conferences.  For example, there could be a Mountain West-WAC title that could have eliminated either TCU or Boise State from the bid for the MNC. 

This consolidation allows these conferences to be separate from each other, but still gives them a national stage to make their case to play for a national championship.   The winner of this game would most probably have the only win against another top-10 team in the final weeks before the bowl selections. 

This also would offset or eliminate any perceived weakness in their strength of schedule. 

The addition of this game also reduces the chance of the conference champions sitting idle before bowl season, while the other BCS bound teams are playing in their CCG and getting in extra playing time.   This not only gives teams in other conferences more experience but also helps them in the polls.

So, these conferences have everything to gain and nothing to lose. 

Why wouldn’t they do it?  This gives these conferences a better chance to place their champion in the NC, while also eliminating the risks associated with conference championship games.  If you win, you increase you chance of making the title game, and if you lose, it was to a BCS-quality opponent, and your consolidation prize is still going to a BCS bowl game.

So, what do you think? 

Is there any way the NCAA/BCS could stop this?  Why wouldn’t these conferences want to do this?  Let me know what you think, and if you can get this to a one of these conference commissioners, I would be much obliged.


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