Friday, during the Big 12 meetings, the Big 12 Conference unanimously approved the addition of a conference championship game.. They are also considering splitting the conference into two five-team divisions, while keeping their full round-robin format. The conference championship will return after the 2017 season.
The big question that all of this elicits, of course, is whether or not this means the conference is headed for expansion. A redundant conference championship game seems to have more cons than pros, with some of the major cons being a redundant game, and the possibility of a late-season rematch. In 2015, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State would have had to play each other back-to-back weeks. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby aknowledged that this wouldn't be an ideal situation when speaking with the media after the announcement was made.
Of course, splitting into two divisions is going to be absolutely pointless as well, as long as the conference holds its full round-robin format. Much will be made, I think, of whether or not the Oklahoma schools will remain in the same division. It absolutely has no bearing on the OU/OSU rivalry, unless the conference expands.
That being said, here's my guess at what the divisions will be.
South: Texas, Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor, West Virginia
North: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Iowa State, Kansas
Along with this announcement, the Big 12 also announced that they have moved away from the idea of a Big 12 Network, which is disappointing. It signals that Texas was probably unwilling to part with the Longhorn Network, or that potential network providers were uninterested in committing to another conference network.
The conference also announced that all conference members would receive $30.4 million in revenue from the conference this year. This will be the first time that TCU and West Virginia have received their full shares of the conference split.
Hopefully though, the addition of a conference championship and the splitting up of the conference into divisions signals that the Big 12 is seriously considering expanding in the near future. Of course with this conference, who really knows what's coming next.