The Big 12 plans to reinstate its conference championship football game around the 2017 season, after the league's board of directors voted unanimously on Friday to bring back the title game, according to multiple reports.
The last such game happened in 2010, when Oklahoma beat Nebraska shortly before the Huskers left the conference for the Big Ten. It's been on a hiatus ever since, although Big 12 administrators started to talk openly about bringing the game back after no league team made the first College Football Playoff after the 2014 season.
It isn't clear, though, that a title game will help with the Playoff's selection committee, and the math suggests a lot of uncertainty, too. The Big 12's own history suggests playing a title game is risky.
In lieu of a championship game, the current 10-team Big 12 has played a round-robin conference schedule, with every team playing everybody else. The league has strategically stacked some of its biggest-ticket games at the end of the season, in theory giving them the feel of a championship game without creating extra risk of a loss for teams at the top.
That the Big 12 is adding a championship game doesn't require it to expand beyond 10 teams, although that could still happen. For the time being, however, the league seems set to split into two five-team divisions, according to league commissioner Bob Bowlsby's comments on Friday.
Bowlsby: Big 12 will "in all likelihood" go into two five-team divisions.— David Ubben (@davidubben) June 3, 2016
Presumably, the winners of each five-team division will meet in the championship game.
But that's not a certainty, it seems. Here's more from Bowlsby:
Bowlsby: "We could end up playing just like we're playing now and select our two highest teams."— David Ubben (@davidubben) June 3, 2016
The Big 12 expects to make a good bit of money on the game:
Boren says annual average value of football title game is estimated at $27-$28 million.— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) June 3, 2016