Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

College Football Notes: Big 12 Faces Key Decision on Alignment

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

College Football Notes: Big 12 Faces Key Decision on Alignment

Article excerpt

Big 12 faces key decision on alignment

Now that the Big 12 has decided to stay at 10 schools, it's time for the conference to figure out whether to split into football divisions to determine the teams that will play in the league's championship game, which is set to return next season.

"We weren't able to move forward in a direction until we knew about the composition of the conference going forward," Oklahoma athletics director Joe Castiglione said. "We are looking at several options."

All teams now are grouped together in the standings. But if the league opts to return to divisions, the big question then becomes how to split into groups of five. As a 12-team league until 2010, the Big 12 had North and South divisions. That is possible again, or maybe a roughly East-West split? There are four Texas schools, two each in Kansas and Oklahoma and one each in Iowa and West Virginia.

"It's a hard league to play in because you play everybody," Texas Christian coach Gary Patterson said. "Good teams are good teams. ... It'll be interesting to see how they set it up."

The league is keeping the round-robin schedule proudly touted since dropping to 10 teams so, divisions or not every team still will play each other every year. That's different from the larger conferences; Nebraska left the Big 12 for a 14-team Big Ten after the 2010 season and last weekend played Indiana in a conference game for the first time.

Traditional Big 12 rivalry games such as Texas-Oklahoma, Kansas- Kansas State and Baylor-TCU will continue an annual basis. There is just now the possibility of a championship game rematch.

Castiglione said league ADs will even consider the possibility of divisions that would change "every so many years" based on some sort of criteria, perhaps standings from previous seasons.

Or without divisions, the league could match its top two finishers for the title game. …

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