One of the biggest talking points in college football continues to be the state of the Big 12.
Despite seeing Oklahoma make the college football playoff last year, many still believe the league should expand to at least 12 teams. With just 10 right now, the Big 12 is missing out on a lucrative conference championship game, but even more concerning is that it could miss out on future playoff berths as well. Baylor and TCU seemingly were penalized two years ago when both finished with 11-1 records and were left out of the playoff after playing one fewer game than their completion in the other Power 5 conferences.
Though it’s easy to see why many in the league want to get to at least 12 teams there are a few people who are still against it — mainly, the head coaches.
On a conference call Monday, a handful were asked about expansion and several stated their concerns.
Here are their responses, via USA Today:
Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops: “I don’t know how a championship game with 10 teams when you’re playing everybody already would really be that positive. With 12 teams of course it would be, but now you have to expand, and we’ll see where that goes.”
TCU’s Gary Patterson:“It’s tough to have a round-robin. Everybody wants to say you have to have expansion so you have a better chance of playing for a national title. They should try to play everybody every year. I like the model that we have now, even though it’s tougher.”
West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen: “I think the Big 12 got it right last year. Based on the results of what happened, I think we’re in pretty good shape moving forward.”
On the one hand, these guys are coaches; their livelihoods are based on how many wins they get in the regular season, what kind of bowl games they make, and, for a few, whether they make the playoff. Anything — like adding a conference championship game — that makes those goals harder, is obviously a deterrent for them.
At the same time, they really do have a point.
The great thing about having only 10 teams in the conference is that it creates a true “round-robin” format, where everyone does play everyone else. If one team goes through that gauntlet and proves that they are clearly the best team in the conference — as Oklahoma did last year — why penalize it?
It’s a fair question, but one that — as we know — is ultimately out of their hands.
As for the expansion talk, we should get a better understanding of what the conference’s future is at league meetings next month.