The Big 12 Conference has officially announced that when the Big 12 Championship Game returns next season, it will be as a matchup of the top 2 teams in the conference rather than the winners of two 5-team divisions. This announcement comes after the Conference decided in recent weeks not to expand and to remain at 10 teams playing a 9-game round-robin schedule.
#Big12FB: When the championship game returns in 2017, it will be No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the conference standings - https://t.co/F8uuSbORCV pic.twitter.com/ZFnmWSb9Np— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) October 28, 2016
Reactions to this news appear to be mixed, with some people praising the decision to stay with the round-robin schedule, which has become something of a calling card for the league versus its peers around the country, and others lamenting the fact that it almost definitely forecloses the possibility of ever having two Big 12 teams in the College Football Playoff, since those two teams would necessarily play each other the final week of the year. Oh, and it will necessarily involve a rematch, something else people just absolutely love.
Still others, myself included, think the real problem here isn't with the decision to play 1 vs. 2. If you have to have a conference championship game, that's probably the best way to do it considering your chances of getting two in will never be all that high to begin with. The real problem is with the insistence that a 13th game is necessary at all, particularly since it seems like a gut-punch reaction to what happened in 2014, when Baylor and TCU were both left out after Ohio State bulldozed Wisconsin in the B1G Championship Game. It wasn't necessary for OU last year, clearly, and it probably wouldn't be this year if either West Virginia or Baylor goes undefeated through the rest of the regular season. If they don't, would a rematch win by either of those teams really move the needle considering the Big 12's reputation this season? Probably not.
It's an interesting, if not surprising, decision by the conference, particularly considering their decision to stand pat at 10 teams. And all else aside, it may also just be a money grab considering the conference stands to gain something like $40 million from simply playing the game.
If you're wondering how ties are going to be decided, that's apparently not going to change, either:
As for tiebreakers to determine champ game participants, the Big 12 is going to start by keeping the same procedure, which is outlined here: pic.twitter.com/k0ZgqqjDeP— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) October 28, 2016
I'm curious how our fans feel about this, so I've added a poll below.