The Big 12 shot itself in the foot when it came to the College Football Playoff last season. The conference of one true champion ended up with two co-champions in Baylor and TCU, and apparently that created a problem for the College Football Playoff selection committee. That is what Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez says at least.
“One of our main criteria is conference championship,” Alvarez said at the Big Ten spring meetings, per Jon Solomon of CBSSports.com. “You can’t give two teams in a conference the conference championship. You can’t give two teams credit for that.”
Well, why not? Wisconsin claimed a share of the Big Ten title in 2010 along with Michigan State and Ohio State. Wisconsin also claimed a share of the Big Ten crown in 1998 along with Ohio State and Michigan. And in 1993 with the Buckeyes. The Big Ten had four co-champions in 1990. So yes, you can have multiple conference champions if your conference allows for it. That is not for Alvarez or anyone outside of a conference to decide. Of course, the Big 12 knows it only hurt itself.
The comments from Alvarez echo statements previously made this spring by Arkansas Athletics director and College Football Playoff selection committee chairperson Jeff Long. While in the booth for the telecast of the Arkansas spring game, Long commented on the weight the 13th game played by some schools affected the selection committee’s decision-making when determining which four teams would be invited to participate and compete in the first College Football Playoff. Ohio State walloped Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game, vaulting them into the four-team field ahead of both Big 12 co-champions.
The Big 12 has taken measures to give their conference champion a better pedigree for the selection committee by instituting a clear tie-breaking process, but there is still no extra game with a Big 12 championship game. Let’s see if that makes as big a difference as the Big 12 seems to think it will.