Big 12 Wants Football Playoff With Strength Of Schedule Include - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Big 12 Wants Football Playoff With Strength Of Schedule Included

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The NCAA football national championship will be decided in a much different way beginning in 2014. That much is clear. How it will be decided continues to be a hot topic.

The BCS conferences have met numerous times to try and hammer out a new format for deciding the national champion. A playoff format appears to be the leading candidate.

What size playoff should be used? Should it be four teams, eight teams or more? How are the playoff spots determined?

Those are some of the questions facing these conference commissioners. The Big 12 is holding its regularly scheduled meetings right now in Kansas City, Missouri. That topic was discussed by the league members on Wednesday.

"We're in favor of taking the four highest-ranked teams," Interim Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas told the Associated Press, "We think it should be some type of selection committee operation, and how you rate a conference champion, strength of schedule must be included." 

Bob Bowlsby will take over as Big 12 Commissioner on June 15 and likely shares some of the same thoughts on the topic as Neinas.

Strength of schedule has not been factored in throughout the past as its own element. Computer rankings were part of the BCS formula and were supposed to factor in strength of schedule to a degree.

The idea of factoring in a strength of schedule would likely incorporate a formula similar to that of the RPI (Rating Percentage Index) used by the NCAA tournament selection committee's in men's and women's basketball.

The Big 12 would certainly want strength of schedule included when it can say seven of its ten teams were ranked in the top 25 last season. The Big 12 is also home to the only conference that features three conference champions in 2011.

Neinas indicated being in favor of some sort of selection committee. That would keep the human element very much involved. Adding more weight to computer rankings as part of the BCS formula was designed to help make the human element less of a factor. 

"There needs to be a human element to kind of handle the unknowns. You can't always say computers get it right or opinion polls will get it perfect," Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said. "You still need someone with good, rational thinking to deal with unforeseen circumstances that may come up. Who knows what form that takes, but some form of human element that gets college football to the point of determining the best teams."

Aside from figuring out the size of a playoff, the format must also be decided. How are the bowls used in the process, if at all? Are any of the games played at the home stadium of the higher seed? Are conference championship games required in the process prior to the four-team playoff?

There are still many questions that remain unanswered, but the Big 12 clearly wants a playoff. Had one been in place last season, Oklahoma State would have had a spot in the field and an opportunity to make its case to play for a national championship. As it turned out, Oklahoma State's one loss prevented it from playing in the BCS National Championship game. The two spots in that game went to a pair of SEC teams in LSU and Alabama with Alabama winning the coveted crystal trophy.

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