The BIG 12 conference is the only Power Five that hasn’t had a championship game in the playoff era. Previous NCAA rules stated that in order to have a conference championship game, you must have at least 12 teams in your league. In 2015, that rule was removed. Immediately, the BIG 12 unanimously decided to reinstate a conference championship game. This year will be the first to have a game since 2010. Could that actually come back to bite them, and cause the BIG 12 disaster on playoff hopes?
Good move or bad?
The TCU Horned Frogs are the only undefeated BIG 12 team. They have beaten very good teams in Oklahoma State and West Virginia. However, there are many stumbling blocks ahead. If TCU does manage to run the slate and go undefeated, they would be a shoe-in for the playoffs with no championship game to play. Now, they will play against the team with the second highest record in the division. A loss against a two loss team would almost certainly create BIG 12 disaster.
Sitting behind TCU are four teams that have only one conference loss.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys only loss came to TCU earlier in the year by a score of 44-31. The game was fairly close until around the 8 minute mark in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma State has found a defense in the past few weeks that could help propel them for the rest of the season behind their star-studded offense. If they run the table and make it to the championship game, who knows what could happen? Would their resume be enough to get in over a one loss SEC team though or would it cause a Big 12 disaster?
Oklahoma: The Sooners also only have one loss on the year and they get a matchup in two weeks with TCU. The game promises to be a shootout when looking at the statistics. Anytime there is a shootout, the person who has the ball last could be the winner. If Oklahoma wins in a few weeks, the two could face-off again in the championship game. We’ve seen a one loss Oklahoma team in the playoffs before, but could a one loss TCU make it in?
West Virginia: The Mountaineers already have 2 losses on the season but only one in conference play. There is a very real scenario that leads to the Mountaineers making the championship game. The Horned Frogs already beat WVU this season. However, the game was knotted at 24 all with less than three minutes to go when TCU went on top. If WVU runs the table, that would be a VERY good championship game to watch. It would also be a potential nightmare for the BIG 12. In no way would a 2 loss BIG 12 team make it into the playoffs.
Iowa State: The Cyclones have two losses on the season as well. They are giant killers in the BIG 12 this year though. They have knocked off Oklahoma and TTU and will look to do the same against TCU this weekend. If they can do that, the wheels could potentially fall off of the proverbial playoff band-wagon. A win for Iowa State this weekend could spell defeat for the BIG 12 overall.
Undefeated or potential bust
There are still a million scenarios that could take place between now and December. There is only one that leads to a sure fire BIG 12 playoff team and that is TCU running the table. With Iowa State, Texas, Oklahoma, and Baylor left on their list of opponents, who knows how likely that is. I’m sure the BIG 12 leaders were sitting around a room patting themselves on the back about their accomplishment of a conference championship game before the season started. Wonder if they are doing the same thing now?