Kansas State's Bill Snyder prefers five-team divisions, Big 12 title game

by Berry Tramel Modified: June 21, 2010 at 9:44 am •  Published: June 21, 2010
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Many in the revamped Big 12 celebrate the impending loss of divisions, believing the North/South split built a wall that eventually fractured the conference.

But Bill Snyder doesn't want to write off divisions just yet. The Kansas State football coach is clear on what's best for his Wildcats.

Divisional play, preferably North divisional play, leading to a Big 12 championship game.

And maybe he's on to something.

As I've been saying, the Big 12 will profoundly miss its championship game and the stage it provides.

Some have speculated that the conference could petition the NCAA for an exemption to the rule requiring at least 12 teams, split into two divisions, to stage a title game. Most observers, including commissioner Dan Beebe, have said other leagues would support such a waiver.

But that would lead, most foreseeable years, to an Oklahoma-Texas rematch. Can't see Sooners or Longhorns signing off on that. The Cotton Bowl winner in October would be asked to return to the other side of Dallas two months later and beat the hated foe again. OU-Texas, one of college football's greatest spectacles, would be reduced to an opening act.

But Snyder, thinking out loud the other night while we chatted about the new Big 12 order, trotted out an alternative.

Two five-team divisions, then petition the NCAA to allow a championship game.

Interesting. I think it could work. It would produce a championship game and preserve the sanctity of OU-Texas.

Snyder hasn't produced particulars, but here's one way divisions could work in Big 12 football.

Move Oklahoma State to the North. Play eight conference games. Give every school a crossover opponent that it would play every season. Bedlam. Texas-Missouri, to keep things as impartial as possible. Baylor-Iowa State. Kansas-Texas A&M. KSU-Texas Tech.

Every year, teams would play every other Big 12 member except one. That would mean a rematch almost every year in the Big 12 title game, but why is that a problem? Some of the better Big 12 championships were rematches. OU-KSU in 2000. Colorado-Texas 2001.

Sure, it seems a little squirrelly to have divisions when you're playing every team in the league sans one anyway. But we've got to think outside the box in trying to stabilize the new Big 12.

"I'm a proponent of having a divisional conference,” Snyder said. Blog: Billy Snyder speaks


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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