The BCS has been cussed and discussed for years. This could have been expected by the national media, but I never really understood its derision by local media types. The obsession by most for a college football playoff system caused many to overlook the value of the BCS, particularly for the Big 12. Of course in our “grass is always greener” world, overlooking the obvious is to be expected. This time next year Big 12 fans may wish we had the BCS back. Given the current college football landscape that provides us with five power conferences it will necessitate that one power conference sit this one out. In other words, one power conference will miss out on the big payday.
This year the BCS allowed the Big 12 to realize one last big payday via the BCS. With two teams picking up BCS checks, Big 12 conference schools were able to divide almost $40 million dollars among its ten teams. While this may not sound like a big deal in the sugar daddy hotspots of Austin or Stillwater, the Iowa States and K-States of the Big 12 conference have come to rely on these yearly checks for their survival. In 2013, the BCS and its bowl alignment was particularly important as the Big 12 experienced a down year. The BCS saved the Big 12 conference in 2013, but with the impending final four playoff the Big 12 will no longer be able to bank on the gratitude of the BCS.
Next year conference teams will be forced to step it up or lose a ton of money. As if losing out on the big bowl money is not bad enough the conference also will be in jeopardy of falling into a 5th place rut on a permanent basis, a fact that would be deadly for the conference from an image standpoint. It has become increasingly difficult to recruit against the SEC propaganda machine, adding the ACC, Pac 12 and Big Ten to this list would be devastating.
In light of the impending final four championship series that saw the Big 12 conference being the odd man out, conference officials moved to set up the so-called Champions Bowl. This bowl that will pit the champions of the SEC and the Big 12 against each other was a good move, but it cannot be seen as a permanent solution. It can be assumed that the SEC champion will represent the conference in the four team playoff; the Champions Bowl will likely pit the Big 12 champion against the SEC 2nd or 3rd best team. In other words, given this scenario, the Big 12 will be the only power conference whose champion will be on display in a tier two bowl game.
All is not lost however. The conference can overcome a one year hiatus from the championship series, but doing so cannot become a habit. Bob Stoops is well aware of this fact and he and his staff are working overtime to bring the Sooners back to national prominence. While it may take an undefeated 2014 season for the Sooners for the weakest of the five power conferences to make the big dance, stranger things have happened.
If not, the Big 12 and the Sooners may be wishing for the good old BCS days and a move to power conference.