Big 12 commish: Consider new model

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Monday, December 8, 2014

The Big 12 commissioner says the conference will reconsider how to declare its champion after being left out of the four-team college football playoff.

In a phone interview on the College Football Playoff Selection Show, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told ESPN's Rece Davis: "It's clear that we were penalized for not having a postseason championship game. It would have been nice to have been told that ahead of time."

"We have to weigh whether this is substantial enough to add institutions. ... It's certainly a major consideration."

The Big 12 would need to add two teams or have the NCAA approve a waiver to have a conference championship game. The Big 12 has 10 teams, and a conference must have 12 teams to have a conference championship game.

The words of Football Playoff Committee chairman Jeff Long "will cause us to go back to the drawing board a little bit and think about if we need a different model," Bowlsby said, referring to tie-breakers and title-game discussions.

The Big 12 is the only conference in the Power Five without a championship game, but plays a round-robin schedule. Baylor and TCU were co-champions, even with the Bears' head-to-head win over the Horned Frogs.

After Saturday's 38-27 win over Kansas State, Baylor coach Art Briles declared his team to the crowd as the only Big 12 champion. The night ended with Bowlsby and Briles engaged in an animated conversation on the podium about the Big 12 presenting co-champions to the committee.

"If you're going to slogan around and say One True Champion, and all of a sudden you're going to go out the back door instead of the front?" Briles said. "Don't say one thing and do another. That's my whole deal. If they had said from the get-go we've got co-champs, head to head doesn't matter, I'm OK with it. I'm not obligated to him. I'm obligated to Baylor University and our football team. We just happen to be part of the Big 12 and we happen to be the champion two years in a row, so they need to be obligated to us because we're helping the Big 12's image in the nation."

Responded Bowlsby via text message about his interaction with Briles on the podium: "Our rule says they are co-champions. He doesn't want to accept that I cannot change the rule to suit his wishes."

On Big 12 media day in July, Bowlsby said if there was a tie for conference champion, they would go to tiebreakers, meaning head to head. On Sunday, Bowlsby told ESPN: "I went back and looked ... and just plain misspoke."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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