It's a Joke, But Nobody's Laughing


So I was wrong. I'm willing to admit it. This makes twice. The first time, I was wrong about being wrong. But this time, I was wrong. The Big 12 Championship Game is a complete joke, and does more harm than good. Any conference championship game for that matter is nothing more than an extra game, with one team playing for national accolades, and the other playing the role of spoiler. It's a terrible idea, one that I backed, but nonetheless terrible.

I understand the concept behind the game, and it's a good one. For that, I can not fault the conference. It's pretty obvious to every observer that this game only serves to make money. I'm even okay with that. But it's costing the conference national championships, and with that, I'm not okay.

After the first nine championship games, 3 Big 12 teams lost their shot at a title in Nebraska (1996), Kansas State (1998) and Texas (2001), with Oklahoma making a full hearted attempt to chuck their title hopes in 2003. Out of those nine seasons, a Big 12 team was in five of those National Championship games. Nebraska went anyway in 2001, regardless of the Texas loss, so the conference only gains two national championship appearances. In nine years. Imagine a conference that places a representative in the national championship game seven times in its first nine years. Now forget it because it will never happen. The Big 12 Championship game insures that it will never happen.

To be honest, I liked the idea of ​​the championship game. For the most part, it seemed like a dramatic climax to a conference football season. But now I'm realizing what many people have known for a long time. There's only three outcomes. In the best case scenario, the two best teams in the conference eliminate each other. In the worst, David slays Goliath along with events at a national championship. In the boring but still bad, Goliath tramples David and everyone leaves unfulfilled.

Certainly I recognize, as do most, that Texas will probably roll Colorado on Saturday. The Longhorns have yet to find a worthy opponent this season, and the only time the games are actually entertaining is when someone manages to stifle them, a la Texas A & M last week. A game which UT won by eleven.

Colorado on the other hand is a despicable excuse for the North Division Champion. So, if you'll excuse me, I'll just refer to them as "the representative", as that does not make my face pinch up like I just swallowed a peeled lemon. Just when I thought Iowa State was looking up, they choked off for a second year. Fact is, they're still Iowa State, and they should not be competitive with the likes of Nebraska, Colorado and A & M. They should be absorbing home thrashings by Baylor. They proved it by playing a miserable fourth quarter against Kansas and Bret Culberson missing a field goal, for the second time, to lose the division. Before both of the Iowa State fans out there call for Dan McCarney's head, assemble a lynch mob for Culbertson. (Please do not really do this. I'm speaking figuratively, and save your emails for someone without a sense of humor.) The fact is Iowa State should not have disappointed anyone. The name that's scrawled across their jerseys is exactly who they are. They're the Iowa State Cyclones. And seeing as how they did Colorado by two touchdowns, what does that say about 'the representative'?

So Texas is facing a ridiculously overmatched opponent in Colorado, who they smacked around to the tune of 42-17 seven weeks ago. Texas just gets better, and Colorado just gets worse. Nothing went right for the Buffs in that embarrassing home loss to the Huskers, and Texas did just enough to sneak past the Aggies. By eleven points.

So now all that stands between Texas and the Rose Bowl is the team that hole that 2001 national championship shot from them. The same team they beat earlier in that 2001 2001 season 41-7. They've got nothing to gain and everything to lose while the conference show runners stuff their pockets and continue to lose sight of the big picture. Just like they did in 2001.

Imagine if UT were to lose this game. It would be a virtual Armageddon for college football both at the conference and national levels. Southern Cal would play … LSU, Penn State and Virginia Tech would each have a legitimate gripe if they were left out of the Rose Bowl, further strengthening the push for a playoff. Texas would slip to a BCS at-large or worse, the Cotton Bowl. Just imagine all those Texas Tech fans with their tickets to watch the Longhorns face some SEC school. In that scenario, every Big 12 school slides a bowl or two. The Holiday would be illegally to take Texas Tech again, so they'd slip to the Alamo Bowl. Colorado would be facing an imminent slaying at the hands of Ohio State or Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl. Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Nebraska would be in bowl limbo, floating through a netherworld of possibilities and truths. It would be utter chaos.

Putting teams in the national championship should be the primary goal of the conference. Only when the conference is floundering, and unable to place a team in the national championship is a conference championship a good idea. So let's take Baylor and Iowa State and ship them to the Big East. Then the Big 12 continues under the same name, similar to the Big 10 having eleven teams. Law of rates, you know? Then we can chuck this crappy, uninteresting, costly game into the 'ideas that never took' heap, where it will rest quietly with Crystal Pepsi, the Concorde, cold fusion and customer service.


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