Big 12 readies for return of football title game

Commissioner Bob Bowlsby says the Big 12's decision to restore a football championship game was based only on the league wanting to optimize its chances of getting a team into the College Football Playoff.

The Big 12 commissioner spoke of it being the culmination of a true round-robin regular season, a critical so-called 13th data point on a team's resume. And he underscored the game's heightened visibility - to be played on the grand stage of AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

But those conferences don't have as much as stake as the Big 12, and Bowlsby doesn't want to stop at one of his teams reaching the bracket.

Most glaringly, the Big 12 must fare much better in non-league play to increase the likelihood that its title game matches teams with playoff-worthy resumes.

In the inaugural season of the playoff era, the Big 12's top two teams, TCU and Baylor, were left out of the equation, and previous year, no team had a strong enough regular season record to merit legitimate consideration, even though Oklahoma produced an undefeated record in conference play and routed Auburn, 35-19, in the Sugar Bowl.

Patterson said you have to have your last two teams playing.

Bob Bowlsby took time during his state of the Big 12 Conference address to recognize former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops on Monday morning. "We had the highest ranked matchup on Championship Saturday with Baylor and Kansas State".

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"We intentionally wanted to strengthen it", Bowlsby told CNHI Sports Oklahoma inside The Ford Center at The Star following his press conference. "We've got to get back to kids going to our campus and see if they like the coaches", said Patterson. Scheduling them is easy.

Another scenario the Big 12 needs to confront is that its competitive balance could backfire. So I don't - I really - it gets a little tiresome because I know we play at a very high level, and I know that top to bottom we're the best in the country in terms of balance.

He was then asked if the perception of the league differs from the quality of the Big 12.

Still, Bowlsby is committed to the league's approach, saying that matching up the two best teams "gives us the best springboard" to ultimately emerge with a playoff berth. So the league added one.

TCU head coach Gary Patterson is among those that thinks the new title game will help. The SEC, ACC and Big Ten are three-for-three in appearances. "Although I don't think that's a negative", Bowlsby noted, adding that 33 of the conference championship games played so far have been rematches.

"What you may not remember is that the Big 12 was first in scoring defense in the postseason past year, first among all conferences in scoring defense", he said Monday.

This is a critical point for the Big 12.

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