Soon, every single conference could have its own championship game
- by Zach Barnett 5 months ago
It's not often you see a new tradition created in a sport that dates back to 1869, but that's what then-SEC commissioner Roy Kramer birthed when he created the SEC championship game. What started as a one-conference event in 1992 has evolved into a sport-wide bow that ties the entire season together. Take this season for example, as Auburn toppled Missouri in a de facto national semifinal, and then watched Florida State seal its bid to the national championship while Michigan State upset Ohio State at the same time, thereby opening up a spot for the Tigers.
Seven of the 10 FBS conferences played championship games in 2013, and that number will move to eight when Navy joins the American in 2015. Before long, though, every single FBS conference could stage its own championship game.
According to CBSSports.com, the ACC has submitted legislation to the NCAA that would "de-regulate" rules regarding who conferences can pit in their respective title games. Presently, conferences have to be split into two divisions and play a round-robin schedule within each division, and then only the two division champions could meet in the title game. This leads to situations like 2013, when No. 1 Florida State meets No. 20 Duke in the ACC Championship, while No. 13 Clemson sits at home.
The ACC would like the ability to pit a rematch between Atlantic Division rivals Florida State and Clemson or, perhaps, Coastal Division foes Miami and Virginia Tech in its championship game. Additionally, the 14-team conference - with seven teams in each division - would like the freedom to schedule five teams from one division and three from the other, instead of the current six-and-two format.
Joining the ACC in its lobbying of the NCAA? The Big 12. After dropping its own title game in 2011 when membership fell to 10 teams, the Big 12 would like the ability to schedule its own championship. Potentially, you could see Oklahoma and Oklahoma State meet to close the regular season, and then again a week later for the Big 12 championship.
"You wouldn't any longer have to have 12 (teams)," Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. "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."
At the basis of all of this? The College Football Playoff and its 13 oracles on the selection committee. Conferences want to get their top teams as many quality wins as possible in hopes of nabbing one of those four spots, even if it means gerrymandering the rule book to do it.