Big 12 Hopes To Deregulate Conference Championship Games

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The Big 12 might have missed a chance to have one of its schools participate in the College Football Playoff last season because it did not have a conference championship game. But that would not be a problem if legislation that deregulates conference championship games passes as expected, reported Tuesday.

The Big 12 and the Atlantic Coast Conference developed the legislation, which could be implemented as soon as the 2016 season.

At the moment, conferences are required to have at least 12 members divided into two divisions to have a conference title game. The Big 12 has only 10 members in one large conference, so it cannot have a conference championship game.

Baylor and TCU were ranked No. 4 and No. 6, respectively, in the final regular-season Associated Press polls this past season and finished tied for first in the Big 12. Because the conference did not have a championship game to establish an undisputed champion, it might have affected the ability of Baylor and TCU to get picked for the four-team playoff.

Deregulating the championship game would allow the Big 12 to hold a title game with just 10 teams, presumably divided into two five-team divisions.

It’s unclear what the ACC’s motives were for helping to develop this legislation because it already has a conference title game. It was hinted by Bob Bowlsby, the Big 12 commissioner and chairman of the new NCAA Football Oversight Committee, that the ACC might want to add a 15th team and have three five-team divisions, with the two division winners with the highest rankings meeting in the conference championship game.

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