After-Effects of Realignment: Big 12 Wants a Title Game

By Justine Hendricks
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 is likely going to apply for an NCAA waiver to reinstate its conference title game in football, because with only ten teams, the conference doesn’t meet requirements for holding a championship.

NCAA by-laws state that in order to hold a conference title game, the league must be “divided into two divisions (of six or more institutions each), each of which conducts round-robin, regular-season competition among the members of that division.”

The Big 12 lost Nebraska and Colorado in 2011 and Missouri and Texas A&M in 2012, falling below the twelve team minimum.

In other news, the Big 12 doesn’t have the twelve teams required to have a title game.

Am I the only one still annoyed that the Big Ten has twelve teams and the Big 12 only has ten? Maybe it’s my marketing background showing through, but can a girl get some rebranding? A conference needs twelve teams to have a championship game. If the Big 12 can’t muster up twelve teams, it shouldn’t be allowed to call itself the Big 12. Give them a waiver and give them their championship back, by all means, but only on the condition that they come up with some other name for themselves.

It might not be as easy as switching from the Pac-10 to the Pac-12, since obviously, Big Ten is already taken, but there has to something better than the now-irrelevant Big 12.

Back in 1994, when four Texas schools decided to leave the now-defunct Southwestern Conference and merge with the Big 8, Texas A&M interim president Dean Gage told the Lawrence Journal-World: “I think we’re delighted with the new name and believe that it will clearly reflect a very positive image for what will become a strong conference.”

I never thought I’d say I missed the ’90s, but I do miss conference names that make geographical and/or numerical sense.

Sure, there’s more money involved now, especially with conference TV networks and broadcast contracts and all that jazz, but those ADs in ’94 had the right idea. Add four teams, go from Big 8 to Big 12. They didn’t add four teams and continue calling it the Big 8, and I don’t see why, with all the changes that have occurred around college football in the last few years, the Big 12 can’t seize the moment to rebrand with a name that will withstand whatever changes come up in the future.

If they want a title game, fine, give them one. Conference championship games can be awesome (not always – ahem, Pac-12). It might not be a smart idea to hold title games in leagues with fewer than ten teams, but a major conference with ten teams should be able to crown a champion that way.

It just shouldn’t be able to call them the Big 12 Champions.

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