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The Big 12 Gets Their Conference Championship Option

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The results from the deregulation vote came through on Wednesday. What exactly happened, and where does the Big 12 go from here?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Up until now, the NCAA had rules and regulations governing how the conferences could hold championship games. The official rule was that in order for the conference to hold a title game, there had to be at least 12 members, divided into 2 divisions. After the Big 12 went through the changes and went below 12 teams, the schedule changed to the round robin format and they were excluded from the title game.

After last year, there were many comments and speculation that a title game between co-champs Baylor and TCU would've strengthened their chance at making the college football playoff, so this past season, there was much talk about how difficult it would be to get a Big 12 team in the playoff without the championship game. Then Oklahoma made it in, and there was talk again about how a title game would've actually weakened OU's shot at the CFP.

So yesterday , a vote among the NCAA Division I Council put to vote the option to "deregulate". The vote passed 7-2, with the AAC and ACC voting no, while the PAC-12 didn't vote, but later said they approved of the change. The rule now states

One conference championship football game conducted in either of the following ways:

i)                 A game between division champions of a member conference that is divided into two divisions (as equally balanced as possible), each of which conducts round-robin, regular-season competition among the members of that division; or,

ii)                A game between the top two teams in the conference standings following a full round-robin regular-season schedule of competition among all members of the conference.

All this means is that now the Big 12 has the option to hold a conference championship game for football. Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said that no decision has been made at this time. Most likely a set of conditions will be made that will allow the title game to be played, and then these conditions will be voted upon. However that means teams will no longer be able to schedule games during conference championship week in case they play in the title game.

When the conference uses the round robin format without a championship, everyone knows what's going to happen at the end. Every team knows they need to have the winning record among all 10 teams, not just the top of one division, or one of 2 at the end. For night now, all this vote does is add uncertainty into our conference. Just go 12-0 and you don't have to worry about anything.