On Sunday, the College Playoff Committee revealed which four teams would be playing for the national championship. In a bit of a twist, the Big XII found themselves on the outside looking in. Clearly, the conference has a problem that requires immediate attention.
First and foremost, fans must rid themselves of the notion that a holding conference title game would have solved the riddle. Strength of schedule quickly became the most decisive factor in determining each teams rankings instead of overall record. But, that's for another time... So, for now, let me say it this way, THE LEAGUE WAS NOT LEFT OUT OF THE PLAYOFF DUE TO THE LACK OF A CONFERENCE TITLE GAME! Hear this simple truth. While every other power five conference submitted a single champion to the committee, the Big XII submitted two names as "co-champions." Although Commissioner Bob Bowlsby offered nearly every excuse under the sun to Baylor and TCU, the league should not expect the Playoff Committee to do something the commissioner wouldn't...declare "One True Champion."
What happened next could easily be predicted as the B10 Champion, the Ohio St. Buckeyes, made the cut rounding out the final four.
Unfortunately, the scenario that played out on Sunday is exactly what the coaches of the Big XII asked for by agreeing to allow multiple teams to receive championships.
"This was discussed yesterday with a few of us on the phone," Zenger said. "What's getting overlooked is -- and people talk about our commissioner -- our football coaches distinctly said several years ago, this is how we want it.
"[Bowlsby] was carrying out the will of the people. For kids, you want to give out as many championship opportunities as possible. Maybe five or six months from now when there's only one team standing, this may fade in people's memories a little bit." - via CBS
Fact remains, the call for change within the conference grows louder by the day. The most popular remedy to the current problem found on the interwebs is undoubtedly conference expansion. However, Bowlsby made it clear on Monday, the Big XII would not entertain the idea of expansion for expansion's sake and I tend to agree with him for one major reason.
That reason? Changes are likely coming to the playoff by way of expansion in order to include six or eight teams. My proposal for an eight team playoff is as follows:
- 5 Automatic Bids to the Power 5 Conference Champions assuming each falls inside the top ten by the conclusion of the season
- 1 Automatic Bid to an Independent or Mid-Major ranked inside the top eight
- 2 At-Large Bids or 3 At-Large Bids if no Independent or Mid-Major falls inside the top eight
If this proposal were the case today, the SEC (Alabama with an automatic & Miss St. with an at-large) along with the Big XII (Baylor with an automatic & TCU with an at-large) and B10 (Ohio St. with an automatic & Michigan St. with an at-large) would secure two bids each. Finally the ACC (Florida St. with an automatic) and the PAC-12 (Oregon with an automatic) would be represented by their conference champions and everyone remains content.
In my humble opinion, it would be considered a knee jerk reaction on the part of the Big XII to alter their course with the sole purpose of satisfying the NCAA mandated 12-team requirement to host a conference championship game. And for what? For being left out of a single playoff? Now, if it becomes a trend, we'd have something to seriously consider.
For now, I say hold off on the expansion talks!
Instead, the league needs to reevaluate how to arrive at a single champion no matter the cost. The most obvious and easiest route in a round-robin format would be to take into account head-to-head match-ups when two programs end the season with identical records.