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Big 12 title games produced outright champions, but could create ugly match-ups

by Jason Kersey Published: November 29, 2012
Oklahoma, led by quarterback Jason White, routed Colorado 42-3 in the 2004 Big 12 championship game. PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE
Oklahoma, led by quarterback Jason White, routed Colorado 42-3 in the 2004 Big 12 championship game. PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE
NORMAN — The Big 12 Conference lost its annual North-South championship game after the 2010 season, when it became a 10-team league.

Oklahoma won seven conference titles between 2000 and 2010, and played for an eighth when it lost the 2003 Big 12 title game to Kansas State.

Even without an official “championship game,” though, Oklahoma’s last two regular-season finales have been played with conference supremacy on the line.

Oklahoma lost 44-10 to Oklahoma State in the final week of last season, but could’ve earned a shared Big 12 title and Fiesta Bowl berth if it had won.

Saturday, the Sooners play at TCU and will claim at least a share of the conference championship with a victory.

All will have to await the Texas-Kansas State result Saturday night before knowing the full Big 12 picture; if KSU and OU both win — or both lose — the two will share the conference title, with the Wildcats heading to the Fiesta Bowl because of their head-to-head win.

If the Sooners win and Kansas State loses, Oklahoma is the outright conference champion.

Things were a lot less confusing when there was a conference title game.

“It’s tough,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “It’s difficult and challenging with all the different teams.”

Even though the two-division format avoided shared championships, it could sometimes create very uneven title games.

For example, unranked — but North Division champion — Colorado lost the 2004 and 2005 title games to Oklahoma, 42-3, and Texas, 70-3, respectively.

Oklahoma beat Missouri in the 2007 title game 62-21.

“In some cases, it didn’t really equate the right way either,” Stoops said of uneven title-game match-ups.

“In the end, this is what we’ve got. In the end, you still have to play everybody. It’s just the situation we’re in right now.”

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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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