Next week a rather important vote will be held that could shape the future of the ACC and Big 12 when a vote on conference title game deregulation will be held at the annual NCAA convention.
For the ACC, deregulation would allow for the conference to change the way the ACC Championship Game is organized by allowing for the top two teams in the conference face in a head-to-head contest, stripping away the long-standing routine of sending respective division champions. For the Big 12, deregulation would open the door for a conference championship game despite having just 10 conference members. These are just the most common models expected to be explored and likely implemented by each conference if deregulation passes. Deregulation may have one big voice standing in the way; the SEC.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was asked about the upcoming deregulation vote on Sunday, and his response may not be received very well by some in the ACC and Big 12. Sankey is now on record saying he will not support deregulation the way it is currently constructed.
ACC commissioner John Swofford is beginning to show concern for the vote as well.
When the vote is held, each power five conference will have two votes, while Group of Five conferences will each get one vote. Deregulation may carry more headlines with its impact on the Big 12 and ACC, but every conference would be able to make changes to the way it crowns a conference champion as well.
The Big 12, more than any other conference, may be affected by the result of the deregulation vote more than any other conference though. If deregulation is not passed, the push to add a conference championship game in the Big 12 may become stronger, which means the conference would be in need of two more members. As such, fans of BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and whatever potential Big 12 candidate you want to stump for will want to keep a close eye on the deregulation vote. If the Big 12 can have its cake and eat it too with a conference championship game without expansion, most expansion talk should come to a close once and for all.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is also on record suggesting he wants the Big 12 to play a conference championship game, although whether he is on board with deregulation or not is unconfirmed.