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ACC pushing for conference championship game changes; Big 12 listening

Big 12 Championship - Oklahoma v Nebraska Getty Images

Ask anyone who follows ACC football who the best two teams in the conference were in 2013 and the response would likely be Florida State and Clemson. both went on to play in BCS bowl games, Florida State winning the BCS National Championship and Clemson winning the Orange Bowl,but it was Duke that played the Seminoles in the ACC Conference Championship Game in Charlotte last season. Florida State and Clemson were the best two teams in the conference in 2012 as well, but Florida State was paired up with Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game despite the Yellow Jackets actually being the third best option out of their own division (Miami voluntarily sat out of the postseason and North Carolina was on a postseason ban). If the ACC gets its way, the two best teams in the conference regardless of division affiliation will get a chance to compete for the conference championship in the future.

According to a report by Dennis Dodd of, the ACC is asking for a deregulation of football conference championship games. If approved by the NCAA, conferences will be permitted to establish the rules and guidelines for their respective conference championship games instead of following the mandated NCAA blueprint that requires two division champions to face off even if potentially more worthy teams are available. If approved, the Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, Conference USA, MAC and Mountain West Conference could do the same. The American could follow suit when Navy joins the conference and a championship game is introduced in 2015. And yes, even the Big 12 could revisit the idea of a conference championship game.

The Big 12 has had to put their conference championship game on ice in after the previous rounds of realignment reduced the conference to a 12-member league to 10. Texas A&M and Missouri left for the SEC, the pioneer conference of the championship game. Nebraska joined the Big Ten, allowing that conference to form two divisions and create a conference championship game. Colorado left to join the Pac 10 along with Utah from the Mountain West Conference. That allowed the Pac 10 to rebrand to the Pac 12 and start their championship game as well. The Big 12 has since added West Virginia and TCU, but has been sitting on 10 members for the past few years. Although the Big 12 could have applied for a waiver to approve a conference championship game — any conference below 12 members is allowed to ask — the Big 12 has settled on life without a conference championship game. But how long will that last?

“You wouldn’t any longer have to have 12 (teams),” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in Dodd’s report. “You wouldn’t any longer have to play a full round-robin in your subdivision. That would actually afford us the opportunity to have a playoff between two selected teams by whatever process we would want to select.¬†I doubt we’re going to do that but we would likely have the prerogative.”

With conference media rights packages continuing to draw big bucks, the demand for more attractive match-ups is rising and television partners are more than willing to give a nudge when needed. If the Big 12 does not want to be left behind, returning to a conference championship game might be a good idea. The best part is it would help the Big 12 stay at 10 members because the need to expand will no longer be there for the conference. If the NCAA allows for a deregulation of the conference championship games, getting to 12 teams becomes less of a priority. The problem the Big 12 faced once losing Texas A&M, Missouri, Nebraska and Colorado and adding West Virginia and TCU is there was a lack of attractive expansion candidates that would boost the membership to 12 schools. The BYU talk has been sitting in a corner waiting for a reason to pull up a seat to the table, but without a 12th member that made any sense for the Big 12, nothing really developed.

The Big 12 has the perfect setting just waiting for the championship game to make a return in Arlington. The television partners with the conference, ESPN and FOX, surely would jump at the opportunity to add another championship game to the line-up as well. The pieces are just about all in place for the Big 12. Somebody just needs to put them all together.

Potential 2013 Conference Championship Match-ups with Deregulation
(using BCS standings for placement)

So what would the conference championships have looked like in 2013 if there was a deregulation of the championship game rules in 2013? Honestly, perhaps not all that much different. The Big Ten and Pac 12 would have had the same match-ups, but the match-ups may have been different in the ACC and SEC, where an Iron Bowl rematch would have taken place one week after that memorable finish. The Big 12 may have given Oklahoma State a Mulligan for a loss in the Bedlam game to Oklahoma if using BCS standings, but the Sooners finished second in the conference standings. One of them would have faced Baylor, who won the Big 12 title last fall.

ACC: Florida State vs. Clemson

American: UCF vs. Louisville

Big 12: Oklahoma State vs. Baylor

Big Ten: Ohio State vs. Michigan State

Pac 12: Stanford vs. Arizona State

SEC: Auburn vs. Alabama

Conference USA: Marshall vs. Rice (although a Marshall vs. East Carolina rematch may have come in to play if going off expanded BCS standings)

MAC: Northern Illinois vs. Bowling Green

Mountain West: Fresno State vs. Utah State

Sun Belt: Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Arkansas State

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26 Responses to “ACC pushing for conference championship game changes; Big 12 listening”
  1. thefiesty1 says: Mar 21, 2014 10:06 PM

    Now that DeLost Dodds has retired it might be time for the Big 12 to reconsider a Conference Championship Game.

  2. brianincbus says: Mar 21, 2014 10:43 PM

    thefeisty1 – per ncaa regulations they can’t if they don’t have 12 teams as of now… that was kind of the point of the article

  3. cranespy says: Mar 21, 2014 10:52 PM

    No reason why the Big 12 should not go to 12 teams…..grab BYU and possibly poach Ga Tech, Miami or make Ohio State an offer they can’t refuse.

  4. jimmy53 says: Mar 21, 2014 10:53 PM

    NO THANKS. (The ACC could have fixed this with recent realignment and chose to do jack sh*t about it.)

    I am just not in favor of rematch games. Why should Clemson have gotten another crack at FSU after they got owned by Florida State at home in the regular season? Or how would it have been fair to crown Alabama SEC champ a week after they got beat by Auburn?

    I believe this would lead to teams having weaker schedules. Why would FSU schedule Clemson in the regular season if they would then expect to see them again in the championship?


  5. drummerhoff says: Mar 21, 2014 10:55 PM

    This idea has nothing to do with prerogative and EVERYTHING to do with access to the 4 team play off: the ACC & Big12 have poor conference schedules. The real power 3 conference are not advocates and that’s not a coincidence.

  6. donovandancy says: Mar 22, 2014 12:24 AM

    They had a chance when they could have put clemson in another division. Instead they decided to give the pet teams the easy division. The NCAA should say no, and force the ACC to put Clemson in the same division as UM and UNC and their beloved Duke.

  7. manik56 says: Mar 22, 2014 1:42 AM

    Worst idea I have heard since IndyCar opened their mouth on

  8. dmcgrann says: Mar 22, 2014 1:44 AM

    Well, why not? It works so well in basketball. Did you see the way Duke leveled Mercer?

    Oh wait a minute…my bad…

  9. ddaniels11 says: Mar 22, 2014 8:31 AM

    Doesn’t basically every other conference with divisions do this same type of conference championship: the winner of each division plays each other. That just puts more importance on each game to make sure you’re tops in your division, not just in the top 2 in the conference. Sounds like people are just mad they get beat and lose their shot. Well, welcome to sports!

  10. andynormile says: Mar 22, 2014 10:13 AM

    If you can’t win your own division, you don’t deserve to play in the championship game.
    If the Big 12/ 10 want a championship game, add Houston and SMU in the west and UCF and USF in the east.

  11. canetic says: Mar 22, 2014 10:34 AM

    FSU destroyed Clemson in the regular season. Duke deserved their shot at FSU in the Championship game. Any given Saturday…

  12. v2rotate says: Mar 22, 2014 12:09 PM

    The first step would be a rule that would require 9 conference games to be considered for advancement to the CG/NC game. That will force the SEC to add a conference game and drop one FCS game.

    The next step would be a rule to require any given team to play every other conference team at least twice over a four year period.

  13. amosalanzostagg says: Mar 22, 2014 1:22 PM

    The ACC seems to forget that one of the main reasons Notre Dame chose the ACC was to have the best of both worlds, affiliation with a major conference and the capability to be eligible for the ACC football championship with an abbreviated 4 game schedule.

    Hypothetical,You think a lower ranked Notre Dame with an undefeated conference schedule would not be the pick against a higher ranked Clemson team with the same record? Never mind a one loss FSU who could be ranked higher than Notre Dame team with a non conference loss. What would be the reaction by FSU? Clemson?

    What about a Duke team that is undefeated in their conference play? Somebody is going to get screwed
    because Notre Dame will lobby extensively to be in the conference championship game because they’re Notre Dame.

  14. huskerzfan says: Mar 22, 2014 1:55 PM

    @ amosalanzostagg:

    The ACC seems to forget that one of the main reasons Notre Dame chose the ACC was to have the best of both worlds, affiliation with a major conference and the capability to be eligible for the ACC football championship with an abbreviated 4 game schedule.


    Under the current agreement, Notre Dame has zero possibility of ever playing in the ACC Football Championship game.

  15. shaunodame says: Mar 22, 2014 4:41 PM

    I’ve always thought BYU would be a perfect addition to the BIG 12, both geographically and competitively (though I’m sure BYU prefers it’s current independent status). That leaves a minimum of one more team to be added. I’m sure Houston or SMU would absolutely jump at the opportunity. To me SMU makes the most sense because if it’s recent strength on the Hardwood as well.

  16. normtide says: Mar 22, 2014 6:15 PM

    The big 12 is sort of in a quandary. They only have two programs that make their media rights attractive, Texas and Oklahoma. The rest get more from their tv agreements than they offer. If they add another cling on team or two they individual payouts would drop. BYU is probably the only team they could add that would increase value. Boise wouldn’t, neither would the “other” Texas teams. All the other local programs that could are already in aq leagues. Let’s be honest, none of them want to deal with Texas. So they are really stuck with the teams they have. The PAC is too, but for geographic reasons.

    I like this idea really, the SEC pursued it for a minute after the recent expansion. To a prior poster, leagues make their schedule. FSU couldn’t avoid Clemson in the regular season.

  17. axavol says: Mar 22, 2014 7:34 PM

    Just another way to give Alabama a second chance.

  18. amosalanzostagg says: Mar 23, 2014 12:14 AM

    Husker, you need to read your own posting article

    First of all, the article is from March, 2013, not 2014.

    Second of all, Notre Dame does what Notre Dame wants. If Notre Dame is going to be on the outside
    looking in on being one of the four teams, you can bet Notre Dame will swing it massive influence to position themselves to be on of the four teams, even if it means screwing a fellow conference member,

    From your own posting

    “Starting in the 2014 season — and coinciding with the new college football playoff — Notre Dame could step over an ACC team and take its place in one of the non-BCS bowls if its record is better than, equal to or within one win of the ACC team or ranked higher in the BCS standings. Notre Dame would share in the revenues if selected to any of those bowls, and get an expenses allowance. If Notre Dame is picked for a BCS game, it would keep its revenues from that appearance.

    The highest-ranked available team from Notre Dame, the Big Ten team or the SEC will face the ACC champion in the Orange Bowl starting Jan. 1, 2015. The Big Ten and SEC teams must appear at least three times each during the 12-year life of the deal, while Notre Dame can appear in the game a maximum of only two times. There is no minimum number of requirements by Notre Dame.

    In years when the ACC champion or another ACC team qualifies for the four-team national semifinals, then the next highest-ranked ACC team would play in the Orange Bowl.

    When the Orange Bowl hosts the national semifinals, the ACC champion and the highest-ranked available team from Notre Dame, the Big Ten or the SEC will be placed in an access bowl instead. ”

    Notre Dame will always leverage themselves to be in a better position, always.

    Remember, the N on the side of Nebraska stands for Knowledge.


  19. travis2x says: Mar 23, 2014 12:52 AM

    first off, this conference championship idea is TERRIBLE. any idea that can possibly lead to 3 teams tied for first without playing each other is a disaster and creates more controversy. so you want a possibility of FSU, VT, and GT all finishing 1st without playing. what is that saying to the team that gets left out? divisional scenario is better. at least you have to finish with a better record than everyone in your division to play for the CCG. this whole idea is mess and people who really support it must have not thought it through entirely.

    the Big 12 is a bunch of a sissies. they could go out there and add two more teams any time they wanted to. but they refuse because they love not having a CCG and a 13th game. they want to sit back at 12 games and get an extra bye week giving them a competitive advantage. they are afraid that a CCG might expose their best team as a fraud. there are options out there (not the best) but teams that have good potential for your conference.

    ACC and SEC, just go to 9 conference games for crying out loud. you added more teams, getting up to 14. with a 6-1-1 format and 14 teams, you play the same seven teams every year and you play the other 6 teams TWICE EVERY TWELVE YEARS. fix your format. unless you really don’t want to see more WEST-EAST or COASTAL-ATLANTIC matchup’s, which is your loss.

  20. huskerzfan says: Mar 23, 2014 10:08 AM

    @ amosalonzostagg:

    You seriously can’t be this dense…, or can you?

    Please point out for all of us exactly where, and how, Notre Dame can be named the ACC Champion, much less play in the ACC Championship game?

    Sure, they have access to non-BCS bowl games, but nowhere, absolutely nowhere, can they be named or recognized as ACC Champs. Period. End of story.

    As for the ‘N’, it stands for Nebraska. Knowledge starts with a ‘K’ and doesn’t make any sense unless you don’t know how to spell. But, hey, you are from Alabama, thus I can sympathize with your lesser education.

    Looking forward to your next spin of a post in which you try to state you didn’t say Notre Dame could be ACC Champs. This should be interesting.

  21. graygrantham1 says: Mar 25, 2014 12:16 PM

    If there is no current discussion regarding actual conference expansion, it seems there will probably be plenty of conversation regarding expansion scenarios. (Like This)

    The Big 12 currently has 10 members with no indication that anyone in the Big 12 wants or needs to consider expansion options.

    So of course I’m going to do it for them :)

    Expansion scenarios typically revolve around a handful of criteria, most notably; geography, revenue, and attendance.

    To look at what makes a good fit for a conference, it might be helpful to look at what DOES NOT make a good fit for a conference, and towards that the demise of the Southwest Conference is a good example of bad fits. The Southwest Conference failed largely in part due to schools like SMU, TCU, Houston and Rice not being able to generate attendance or revenue.

    To address that the Big 12 has a minimum stadium seating requirement, somewhere around 50,000.

    So many of the available Mid Major programs can be eliminated based on that alone.

    You can immediately forget about any team currently a member of Pac-12, Big-10, ACC or SEC. There simply is no practical scenario that makes this physically or financially possible.

    So who does that leave? Mid Majors with Stadium capacity at or above 50,000, good attendance, an attractive TV market would be helpful. I find only 4 expansion candidates that would pass minimum selection criteria; BYU, Eastern Carolina, UCF and USF.

    It doesn’t matter who the Big 12 adds, the expansion pays for itself adding 2 schools.

    Currently the Big 12 has 90 games (Broadcast inventory) The Sugar Bowl Split and College Football Playoff Revenue Split.

    Expansion would add the following; 2 Schools adds 18 games to broadcast inventory @ $1.4 million ($1.4 is an assumed number) per game that would add about $25 million to the existing media rights revenue stream. A Conference Championship would add another $25 million and that would be break even for adding two schools.

    The actual number for break even, or additional earning for existing members could be adjusted by manipulating a phase in of revenue sharing for new members over a 5 year period (Y1 80%, Y2 85%, Y3 90%, Y4 95% and full revenue sharing in Year 5. This would give each current member and additional $2.5 million and new members would start Y1 with a $20 million share.

    How is this not an obvious WIN WIN for everyone, and an obvious means to more money, which we know everyone loves? Well the answer of course is geography. With only 4 viable candidates (BYU, ECU, UCF and USF) as well as a current geographic misfit (WVU) it would obviously be an acquired taste.

  22. v2the4 says: Mar 26, 2014 11:01 AM

    I think its been said time and time again…Notre Dame, who will only play 5 ACC opponents every year(they are playing four in 2014 and six in 2015) CAN NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES play in the conference title game. Non..Zero..Nada…no chance in h e double hockey sticks.

    the golden domers will not even be in the Atlantic or Coastal division standings either.

    as for the B12….if they are going to expand in the future, just forget about BYU…BYU refuses to play athletic events on Sundays due to their religious affiliation, even though Baylor and SMU, both religious schools in their own right, play athletics on Sunday. In addition, unless they are adding a team out west with them, it makes the travel issue an even bigger problem

    The B12 if they decide to expand, should go after UConn, Cincinnati, USF and UCF….those four schools will give them a northeast, midwest and south florida footprint that doesnt exist right now, and will give West Virginia some east coast schools in the same time zone and schools they were previously aligned with in the big east (except UCF).

    as for tv markets, the could capture Tampa, Orlando and the I-4 corridor, the greater Cincinnati and nothern Kenutcky region, along with a good portion of the northeast and UConn’s nationally ranked and championship basketball teams.

  23. normtide says: Mar 26, 2014 12:29 PM

    Awesome post grey. For some reason I love this discussion. I disagree that adding any two teams adds value though. If product alone was enough, the mac would be flush with money. The fact is, who would want to watch ISU vs ECU? That’s the big 12’s problem now. Only two nationally relevant programs. Even now, people don’t want to watch most big 12 games. KU v ISU v TTU etc. BYU is the only team they could get that would add value, due to the Mormon loyalty. Boise, to me, is close but they have passed their peak. The area between the 12 and the PAC is really a football no man’s land. It restricts both leagues. And to the east, I totally agree that the 12 will never raid the b1g out SEC. I even think the WVU addition will fall apart. They fly over rivals to play Texas Tech? It won’t last. The league will last, only because you they have 7 teams who will be nothing unless they are latched on to Texas and Oklahoma.

  24. graygrantham1 says: Mar 26, 2014 12:48 PM

    v2the4 – BYU would only be considered for membership in the Big 12 for FOOTBALL ONLY, so while BYU would not be a good idea for Big 12 membership in Basketball or other sports, College Football is not played on Sunday (it works). And it is my opinion there is very little support within the Big 12 (once they get past deciding to expand) to give BYU serious consideration, even as a Football Only member.

    It would seem to make more sense from BYU’s perspective to seek a scheduling alliance (Football Only)with the Big 12 without membership, Similar to the ND-ACC relationship.

    I would immediately discount/eliminate UConn as a Big 12 expansion candidate simply for geographical reasons. But beyond that there are more reasons to remove UConn from consideration. Stadium Capacity 40,000, average attendance 2013 – 30,000

    UCF and USF both make sense for all the right reasons, Stadium, Attendance and Market.

    I would eliminate Cincinnati for consideration for Big 12 expansion for the following reasons. Nippert Stadium has a seating capacity of 35,000. It is currently scheduled for an $86 million renovation that will effectively add only 3,000 seats. In 2013 even with a 35,000 capacity the average attendance was only 30,000. If Cincinnati wants to put on its big boy pants and play with the big boys they have to build a bigger stadium and be able to fill it. They have to date been unable (The University) or unwilling (The Fans) to do so.

    Using the same smell test (Stadium Capacity and average attendance – 2013) here is how BYU, ECU, UCF and USF compare:

    BYU – capacity 64,000 – 2013 avg – 61,000 (ranked 28th in FBS) (UT #3, OU #13)

    ECU – capacity 50,000 – 2013 avg – 43,000

    UCF – capacity 45,000 Brighthouse Stadium (on campus) – capacity Citrus Bowl 65,000 (16 miles off campus) – 2013 avg – 42,000

    USF – – capacity Raymond James Stadium 65,000 – 2013 avg – 34,000

    Proponents of UConn or Cincinnati as Big 12 expansion candidates will point to the low attendance for ECU, 43,000 and USF 34,000 as negatives, but both are higher than Cincinnati or UConn and both have capacity, so that when the schedule (hypothetically) changes from AAC to Big 12 the capacity will be instantly maxed (maybe not so much with Raymond James initially), whereas at Cincinnati or UConn a 5 year expansion plan (fund raising, design and construction) would be required to meet Big 12 attendance requirements, therefore the big 12 would not give Cincinnati or UConn serious consideration, while BYU, ECU, UCF and USF are all instantly able to compete financially in Big 12 Football either as full members or as schedule associates.

  25. graygrantham1 says: Mar 26, 2014 1:10 PM

    normtide – I once had similar opinions, but when the Big 12 was able to secure a media rights deal for 12 years that pay even teh University of Kansass $25 million you need to take a serious look at what teh definition of value is.

    If there is a football game on, someone will watch it, it has broadcast value, it has 30 second commerical value, it makes money. 30 second Commercial spots are purchased no matter who is playing, even bad football sells.

    Perhaps “adding value” should be remove from my discussion and replaced with “finacially justified”

    The bottom line is that any of these 4 schools (BYU, ECU, UCF and USF) would make more money for the Big 12 as a whole and as a percentage by school.

    As to “who would want to watch ISU vs ECU?”
    If its the only game on in its time slot (thursdaynight?) probably about 15-20 million football fans who have nothing else to watch. On a Saturday afternoon with Alabama playing Auburn, Stanford playing Oregon, Oklahoma playing Texas, probably not very many at all, but when Conferences put schedules together they do a fair job of taking low profile games and placing them in time slots where they will sell commercials (I think, could be worn, was once before…)

    …on product alone (MACv Big 12) the MAC does not have a media rights contract that pays each member $20-25 million a year and has expansion clauses that add value for added inventory (more teams/more games) The Big 12 has exactly such a contract.

    ..on OU and UT being the glue that hold it all together…. Most probably true up until 2010, however Conference Championships by K State (2) Oklahoma State (1) and Baylor (1) all have in recent years demonstrated the Big 12 is far less a stage for OU and UT alone. At this point these 5 schools are probably at most more than a year or two away from Conference Championship, (possibly National Championship) contender status.

    …on WVU longevity in the Big 12. Unless the Big 12 expands to make travel for WVU more affordable or there is some financial leveling applied, I see WVU leaving the Big 12 at the end of the current Media rights contract – Grant of Rights, which I believe ocurs in 2024-26, but not before then, and a lot can happen in 10-12 years

  26. normtide says: Mar 26, 2014 2:42 PM

    We are in total agreement on WVU. I don’t think it will last under the current set up.

    KSU and Baylor did win league titles. But, neither are a popular draw unless they are winning. My point is people watch Texas even in down years. I’m a Bama fan, but love to watch LSU v Auburn and Florida v Georgia and so on. The 12 doesn’t have that luxury. I’m talking about teams with national appeal versus flash in the pan. While Kansas gets that 20mill, the money is generated mainly by two teams. That’s why Baylor, Kansas, ISU sued to try and keep the 12 together, because alone they were stranded. While every league has those type programs, the 12 has the most. In fact, if either Texas or Oklahoma left, the league would fold. No other major league is in a position where one team leaving could fold it. It’s why Texas can throw it’s weight around so freely. Bottom line, in my opinion, no aq league would clamor to get KSU or Baylor to join them.

    You are correct about BYU. In the end, I see the 12 pushing hard to get them, and maybe settling for a team like Boise. They really missed out on Louisville. It would help WVU and stretch the footprint. Maybe add Cincinnati at a later date.

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