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Big 12 football: Could the lack of a championship game hurt the league in future playoff discussions?

The Big 12 spent the first of two conference media days politicking to distinguish itself from other leagues. But how much might the lack of a conference championship game hurt the Big 12’s chances of landing a team in future College Football Playoffs?
by Jason Kersey Published: July 21, 2014
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photo - Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby speaks at the opening of the NCAA college Big 12 Conference football media days in  Dallas, Monday, July 21, 2014. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby speaks at the opening of the NCAA college Big 12 Conference football media days in Dallas, Monday, July 21, 2014. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

DALLAS — Between marketing videos, giant graphics and catch phrases, the first of two Big 12 Media Days was largely devoted to distinguishing the conference from others.

No divisions. Everyone plays everyone.

“One True Champion” — or so they say.

Yes, the only major Football Bowl Subdivision conference without a championship game — that crowned “co-champions” only 20 months ago — proudly repeated its catchy, if inaccurate, slogan many times Monday. With the inaugural four-team College Football Playoff looming, public politicking will undoubtedly remain part of the process.

“I think the fact that we play everybody in our league is a nuance that is not going to be lost on the selection committee,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby.

But how much might the lack of a conference championship game hurt the Big 12’s chances of landing a team in future playoffs? No one inside the Omni Dallas Hotel seemed too concerned about it, although Bowlsby did admit the league could find itself wishing it had a title game someday.

“I think there will be a year when we'll say, ‘Gosh, if we could have just played one more good opponent we might have been able to demonstrate that we were good enough,’” Bowlsby said.

The ACC, Big 10, SEC and Pac-12 all play conference championship games, something the Big 12 ditched when it dropped to 10 teams following the 2010 season.

Almost immediately, Oklahoma State dealt with the possible consequences of the Big 12 lacking a championship game. The Cowboys finished the 2011 regular season with an 11-1 record and as the outright Big 12 champions, but they were held out of a national title game that featured an SEC rematch between LSU and Alabama.

OSU coach Mike Gundy said Monday that he thinks the Cowboys’ late-season loss at Iowa State played the biggest factor in their BCS title game snub, though.

Asked if a conference championship game might have helped, Gundy said: “It could have. Because we could have come back, played again, played well, people see us. But we played well against Oklahoma in the end, about as well as we could on a national level.”

TCU coach Gary Patterson said he isn’t worried about the lack of a Big 12 title game because he thinks his squad plays a tough non-conference schedule each year. Last season, the Horned Frogs opened with LSU.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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