For the first time since Oklahoma defeated Nebraska 23-20 in 2010, the Big 12 will have a conference championship game in 2017 after a unanimous vote by the leagues board of directors.
The decision came largely due to the widespread belief that the lack of a conference championship provided the Big 12 with a competitive disadvantage - most evident in Baylor and TCU, each top five teams following the regular season, missing the College Football Playoff in 2014. Ironically, the outcomes of previous Big 12 Championships have cost the conference four BCS title appearances during its 15-year history - Nebraska in 1996, Kansas State in 1998, Texas in 2001 and Missouri in 2007.
Additionally, a substantial deciding factor in the consensus decision is seen in the projected revenue earnings, which is expected to be in the $27-$28 million range.
As for what that does for the current conference landscape, which plays a round-robin conference schedule each season, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said there will likely be a split:
Bowlsby: Big 12 will "in all likelihood" go into two five-team divisions.— David Ubben (@davidubben) June 3, 2016
Bowlsby: "We could end up playing just like we're playing now and select our two highest teams."— David Ubben (@davidubben) June 3, 2016
The Big 12 Championship being put back into motion doesn't guarantee the conference will expand, as it simply seems to be a move towards a more competitive national view and revenue generation.