Will the Big 12 once again hold a conference championship game if proposed deregulation of title games happens as expected?
Though commissioner Bob Bowlsby "surmised" last week that changes could be coming, his stance is now changing once again, saying that he doesn't sense that the conference will head in the direction of adding a conference championship game.
"We all believe one year is not a long enough trial to draw any conclusions" about a conference championship game, Bowlsby said after meeting with league coaches on Monday in Phoenix.
However, Bowlsby didn't completely rule out the possibility, adding that the conference will continue pushing for deregulation to keep options open, "but you shouldn't draw any conclusions from that."
The problem is that holding a conference championship game after playing a round-robin schedule represents a type of double jeopardy for the regular-season champion. As SB Nation's own Bill Connelly points out, the 15 years of Big 12 championship games paints a compelling picture against holding a 13th league contest for the conference's two best teams -- during that stretch, the Big 12 lost four BCS title spots (27%) and nearly lost two others (20%).
Texas fans should remember two of the contests extremely well, as the Buffaloes knocked the Longhorns out of the national championship picture in 2001 and the Cornhuskers nearly did the same in 2009.
While pursuing deregulation makes sense, what the conference really needs to do is to fix the tiebreaker to ensure that the league doesn't present co-champions to the College Football Playoff committee again, as happened in 2014 to the league's detriment. Those discussions are already underway and should result in a head-to-head tiebreaker to determine one true champion, though the meetings this week will need to determine how to break a multi-team tie.
As long as the conference comes up with a multi-team tiebreaker and implements the head-to-head tiebreaker to present one Big 12 champion to the committee every year, playing a conference championship game would be both unnecessary and unnecessarily risky.