COLUMN: Big 12's practice of naming co-champions 'really stupid'
The OU football team celebrated its 44th conference championship on the field at Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday, following the Sooners’ season-ending 24-17 victory against TCU.
The players wore hats and T-shirts adorned with the words “Big 12 Champions,” celebrated with fans and posed for pictures with the trophy.
And let them celebrate. After all, it’s true: The Sooners are Big 12 champs for the eighth time in the conference’s 17-year existence.
But those shirts and hats should have a big fat asterisk on them.
Although OU shares this season’s Big 12 title with Kansas State, making both teams Big 12 champions per the conference’s rules, the Big 12 can only send one representative to a BCS bowl game as the conference’s champion.
Therefore, a tiebreaker exists to determine who the “true” champion is in the event of a tie, and that tiebreaker goes to whichever team won the head-to-head matchup between the two teams — in this case, Kansas State.
So both teams get the hats, the T-shirts and the trophy, but only one gets to represent the conference in a BCS game. Go figure.
In today’s politically correct everyone-is-a-winner world, it’s no surprise the Big 12 had it put in its rulebook that in the event of a tie, both teams can claim conference titles. But by having a tiebreaker in place to select a single BCS representative if there is a tie, isn’t the conference undermining its own rules?
The Big 12 essentially is saying, “Yes, we have two co-Big 12 Champions this season, but really, we only have one ‘true’ champion.” How much sense does that make?
The Big 12’s logic here is this: Because the conference no longer has a plus-one winner-take-all title game, there’s no way to determine a true champion in the event of tie, no way to settle it on the field.
But the Big 12 has a round-robin schedule, meaning everybody plays everybody, so the head-to-head tiebreaker exacted to give Kansas State its bid to the Fiesta Bowl perfectly is capable of determining a true champion, and that’s essentially what it did this season.
So why on Earth does the Big 12 insist on naming co-champions when it knows it already has a tiebreaker in place for just such scenarios?
I couldn’t tell you, but I can tell you how stupid I think it is: really stupid.
It’s a stupid, stupid rule. It’s like handing out three golds on the medal stand at the Olympics. Everyone knows who the true winner is, so why are we playing this dumb game of semantics?
This is college football, not church league softball; Not everybody gets a trophy.
So go ahead, OU, claim this season’s title; no one can blame the Sooners for playing by the rules. But every time I see the year “2012” listed as a conference title, it forever will be blemished by an invisible asterisk.
Dillon Phillips is a journalism junior ans assisstant sports editor for the Daily. Follow him on Twitter at @DillonPhillips_.