- Jake Trotter, College Football
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During Tuesday's Big 12 coaches teleconference, I polled all nine of the league's returning coaches whether they favored bringing back the conference title game, in light of the NCAA reportedly moving toward relaxing its conference title game requirements.
Below are the full responses of all nine coaches:
Texas's Charlie Strong: "Each one of us plays one another. If it comes down to where we have to have a championship game, then I don't think that would be an issue at all. But what I really love about our conference, you play each other. That way, whoever wins, nothing can be said about it. I'm fine with the current format."
Oklahoma's Bob Stoops: "Probably would be in favor. I don't know this to be true, but if the selection committee is putting weight to a numbers system or scoring system to a number of wins, you know, number of games played, that kind of thing, that extra game, if it matters that much and their weighting system favors one team rather than another because they have one extra win, then I would be in favor of playing it. I'd reserve my final judgment until you get a chance to see again this year how the selection committee is really weighting who are those top four teams."
Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy: "We have to be very cautious. Having a team that could run through this undefeated, and then you play against an opponent that very well could have two losses, and that team beats the team that is undefeated, and then you knock that team out. That could happen, and that's why you have to be careful about bringing a conference championship back into the league. I still think it's best for us to let somebody be the conference champion. There's enough respect for the Big 12 now that you're going to get a team in in most cases. Nobody will ever know if TCU or Baylor would have been named the conference champion last year, they very well could have gotten in that fourth spot. If you win this league, you're going to get a lot of respect from the committee."
Kansas State's Bill Snyder: "I've always favored the conference championship game, and I still do. With the playoffs now, that muddies the water a little bit in that respect. I understand both sides of the fence or both sides of the argument. Looking at it maybe from a selfish standpoint, I think the divisional championship and the playoff game have been very rewarding for Kansas State and very rewarding for a few other schools in our conference. Not true for everybody, so there's two well-taken arguments in regards to bringing it back. But I favor it, and I favor it because it's been beneficial to us. And we also suffered what many would refer to as someone who has a clean record going into the championship game and losing that game. We've been involved in two of those and we were fortunate to win a game against the University of Oklahoma. They were still able to go to the national championship game. We played in it one year and lost, and it knocked us out of the [national] championship game. It's worked both ways and we suffered from it. But overall, collectively, it's been in the best interest of our program."
West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen: "I think it would be great. The one thing that I've always have been a proponent of is everyone doing the same thing. Back when the Big 12 had a conference championship game, and some other leagues didn't, we were complaining about that. So having one to have that 13th game and be on the same level as everyone else is important. Based on what happened toward the end of last year, I think it hurt the Big 12 a little bit."
Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury: "I think based upon what happened last year, I think it's not as much being for or against it, that it's going a necessity for our league, to get another quality game at the top of our league, to keep up with those other Power 5 conferences. Because from what I've heard that definitely had some impact on how it all transpired with the playoff."
Baylor's Art Briles: "I hadn't even really thought about it. If you're just asking me a question, I'm not sure. I've said it all along, if you can go undefeated in our league, you'll be in the College Football Playoff. That's the bottom line. Now whether that would have made a difference this year or not, if say us and TCU had played again at the end, I don't know. That's something we can all speculate always on but still not know."
Iowa State's Paul Rhoads: "No, I would not [favor it]. The fact that we play everybody, the league has worked hard to put some tie-breaking formulas into place. It's tough enough to beat a team once. The fact you play everybody once, you've hopefully settled it on the field. I'm sure it'll be a piece of discussion for us at the conference meetings in May. What will be very telling is if there's more that comes out of the playoff committee's communication that, yeah, a championship game is important."
TCU's Gary Patterson: "If it meant making a difference whether we could make the final four teams, yes. I still don't understand why it's needed if you have a committee that's picking your four best teams. Whatever it is we can do to help our conference, if that's important, then do it."
Here's what all nine of the Big 12 football coaches had to say about whether they favored bringing back the conference title game.