The Big 12 has the best current scheduling model. A round-robin scheduling and the top two teams make it to the conference championship game. But with four more teams slated to join the conference in 2023 and Texas and Oklahoma will continue renting space in the Big 12 until 2024, the total teams in the 2023 season will be 14. According to CBS Sports, the Big 12 is planning to split into two seven-team divisions for the 2023 season. With this announcement, the creation of a new Texas Tech division to call home is fast approaching. But is it a good thing for the Red Raiders?
What Does This Mean When Texas And Oklahoma Finally Leave?
Texas and Oklahoma are going to find a way privately to get into the SEC before the 2026 season. But until then, the Big 12 has to operate as if both these schools will be lame-duck participants for the next three seasons. Current NCAA rules for football state that if a league has more than 12 teams, they must be divided into divisions. Restructuring the conference to have two divisions should make scheduling much easier for the future. How the scheduling will look will depend on what the actual divisions look like.
The Big 12 Needs To Focus On Getting To The Playoff
College football, and the success of its programs, are tied directly to their proximity to the playoff. This is the new reality of college football. Texas Tech certainly is far off from competing for a national title, but a path to one does exist. The path to get to the playoff exists equally for all the members of the new-look Big 12. Not only do programs get evaluated on their ability to get to the playoff, but overall conference strength is viewed through the same lens. The Big 12 needs to position itself for a new college football world where it can get multiple teams into the playoff.
No one knows yet if conference champions will get an automatic bid into the playoff. And no one is certain whether it will be eight or 12 teams in the new playoff. More than likely, the Big 12 and the rest of the Power five conferences as we currently know them, will get an auto-big via the conference championship. The Big 12 needs to have its best two teams playing for the conference title. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby wants to see a 12-0 team playing an 11-1 team every year. Bowlsby also doesn’t want to see the 12-0 team get upset by an 8-4 team in the conference title game. After all, when he tried his own way to get two teams in the playoff, it failed spectacularly.
Does A Texas Tech Division Title Help/Hurt Its Playoff Chances?
While the conference needs to have its best two teams playing for a title, does a Texas Tech division title make the national title chase easier to obtain? Or is it simply a lower goal to strive for and be satisfied with? No one knows exactly what the two divisions will look like. Here is what a possible East/West split could look like:
East: West Virginia, Cincinnati, UCF, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Texas
West: BYU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor, Houston
Here is a North/South setup (and one to stick it to Texas and Oklahoma as a parting gift):
North: BYU, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, West Virginia, Oklahoma State
South: Texas, TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech, Houston, Oklahoma, UCF
For all anyone knows, they might draw the names out of a hat. The Big 12 is going to look different by the end of the 2025 season. But for Red Raider nation, a divisional home is the best friend of getting the playoff sooner rather than later. Texas Tech has never won the Big 12, and only shared a divisional title on time in 2008. As long as Texas and Oklahoma are squatting in the Big 12, Texas Tech fans need to welcome back the divisional structure. A division title is their best opportunity to break through sooner rather than later. However, if Texas Tech can become one of the flagship programs of the new Big 12, the dissolving of the divisions would be best for the Red Raiders and the Big 12.