Big 12 boss seeks selection clarity
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby would like some clarity from College Football Playoff officials on the importance of conference championship games and strength of schedule, he said Sunday after the selection committee gave Ohio State (11-1) the No. 3 seed for the national semifinals despite the Buckeyes not winning the Big Ten’s East Division or their conference title.
“Obviously I acknowledge the difficulty of the task, but I’m not sure what I advise my members right now, because we’ve been telling them that nonconference schedules matter, and one of the four (semifinalists) has an exceedingly weak nonconference schedule,” Bowlsby said, referring to No. 4 seed Washington, which has wins over Rutgers, Idaho and FCS member Portland State. “And we’ve been telling them the 13th data point matters, and we added a conference championship game (next year) because of that. We’ve always heard that conference championships matter and division championships matter, and now it’s confusing.”
Bowlsby added: “I’ll have some questions to ask when the time is right.”
In 2014, after Big 12 member TCU dropped from No. 3 to No. 6 in the final rankings for the first year of the playoff, the Big 12 went through more than a year of discussions and debates and even hired data consultants to help determine whether it needed to add a conference title game to best position the league for the playoff. The Big 12 decided in June to bring back its title game in 2017 and announced in October that the game would match the league’s top-two teams against each other instead of going to divisions.
At that time, Bowlsby said: “Given our round-robin, nine-game scheduling model, it’s expected the Big 12 champion will be uniquely positioned for College Football Playoff consideration.” Now he’s not so sure.