The slogan “One True Champion” will have a whole new meaning this season for the Big 12 Conference.
After a brief hiatus, the Big 12 will have a conference championship game, which will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The championship game actually started back in 1996 and ran all the way until 2010 before all of the reshuffling that took place in the college football landscape.
The decision to bring back the glory days of a championship game isn’t just about bragging rights. It also involves the College Football Playoffs and that all-important 13th data point, which the Big 12 didn’t have before.
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“The decision was made 100 percent based upon our ability to compete at the national level,” said commissioner Bob Bowlsby during Monday’s Big 12 Media Day. “We relied in large measure on our intuition and some data that we day that indicated that playing a championship game and having that 13th data point, would, in fact, deliver that advantage.”
The extra money that each school would receive lends some extra motivation. The expected revenue is estimated at two to three million dollars per school.
“I think our board was mindful that there was more revenue available because it was embedded in our contracts,” said Bowlsby. “We had anticipated that we might, at some point, add a championship game back.”
Of course, with only 10 teams in the conference, there will be the rematch factor with teams now possibly facing off twice in the same year. And yes, that does include the possibility of “double the fun” when talking about the Red River Showdown between Texas and Oklahoma. There are also concerns that the rematch could be a quick turnaround with teams facing each other twice within a short period of time.
“For the record, 33 of the championship games have been rematches so the rematch is not aberrational,” said Bowlsby. “It happens very regularly. I think we need to strike a balance in terms of trying to have a fair schedule. I think you could have a great game on the last week of the season and another great game between the same two teams the next week.”
The Big 12 championship game will take centerstage at Jerryworld at the beginning of December. Is it worth worrying about filling up the 100-thousand seat stadium?
“No, actually not,” added Bowlsby. “I think our teams travel very well. We, of course, have four members in the state. We wanted to put it on the biggest stage that we could put it on. DFW is probably the easiest place to travel to, one of the easiest in the whole country.”
In the end, there will be only one true champion with a better chance of playing in the national championship game at the end of the season and Bowlsby appeared to be all for that.
“Playing a full round robin and having our two best teams play each other on the last day of the season is a good thing and a right way to conduct our championship.”