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Big 12 coaches express support for current conference format

Big 12 coaches express support for current conference format

2:26 PM ET

  • Jake TrotterESPN Staff Writer

    • Covers the Big 12
    • Joined ESPN.com in 2011
    • Graduate of Washington & Lee University

Over the next month, the possibilities of expansion and adding a championship game figure to be hot topics in the Big 12. The league’s football coaches and athletic directors will be meeting in Phoenix in early May. Then later in the month, the conference’s ADs and presidents will congregate in Irving, Texas.

Tuesday, the Big 12 held its annual spring teleconference between its football coaches and reporters, giving ESPN.com the opportunity to take the temperature of where the league’s coaches stand on these looming issues going into May.

And the majority of head coaches expressed support for the current model the Big 12 uses, which includes a round-robin schedule and no championship game.

“I like the way the system is set up right now,” said Texas coach Charlie Strong, who pointed out that Oklahoma made the CFP out of the current Big 12 format last season. “I’m comfortable with where it is.”

Strong was not alone among Big 12 coaches.

TCU’s Gary Patterson and West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen agreed.

“I like the model we have now,” Patterson said. “I have no problems with the way we do things.”

“Right now, every one is comfortable with 10,” said Holgorsen, who added the only negative is that the Big 12’s champion doesn’t always play on the final weekend to give the CFP selection committee a final impression. Last season, the Sooners still made the playoff despite not playing on the final weekend but did drop from No. 3 to No. 4 in the rankings.

Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops didn’t weigh in on the merits of expansion but each indicated they’d be against a championship game if the conference stayed at 10. Had the Big 12 had a title game last season, the Sooners and Cowboys would’ve met in a rematch one week later.

“Everybody gets to play everybody else in league,” Gundy said. “I don’t see how that creates the need for a title game.”

Said Stoops, “I don’t know how a championship game with 10 teams would really be that positive.”

Kansas State’s Bill Snyder didn’t participate in the teleconference due to a personal matter, while Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury and Kansas’ David Beaty didn’t voice strong opinions. Kingsbury said he’d “trust the judgment of the Big 12 leadership.”

Added Beaty, “I’ve got enough to say grace over.”

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