It is not sorely missed because it puts the conference at a terrible disadvantage by not having it (although it might eventually rub a college football nation the wrong way that everybody else seems to play a title game and the Big 12 does not).
Instead, it is sorely missed because on the day the Big 10, SEC and ACC play their championship game, and one day after the Pac-12 plays its championship game, the Big 12 will offer fans this instead: OU at TCU, OSU at Baylor, Texas at Kansas State, Kansas at West Virginia.
Sorry, but it is simply not the same as the Sooners and Wildcats at Arrowhead Stadium, or the Pokes and Wildcats at Cowboys Stadium.
On the most meaningful day of college football’s regular season, the Big 12 will be strung out at four different venues, while college football’s other big dog conferences will have the nation focused on a single game.
One wonders if the conference sees such a reality viably in the long term. Especially in a college football world that continues to realign.
With Monday’s announcement that Maryland’s headed to the Big 10 and today’s anticipated announcement of Rutgers joining it, creating a 14-team league, could the Big 12 risk becoming rich beyond its wildest dreams, yet creepingly irrelevant at the same time?
Even if Louisville and Cincinnati’s following West Virginia and TCU into the fold — or Houston and SMU, or BYU and Colorado State or … pick two schools and you can play the game, too — failed to make dollars and sense, might it make too much competitive sense to keep the league topped out at 10?
All of that’s hard to know.
Easy to know is how much more fun Bedlam would be if just a little more, like a division title, was on the line.
It’s huge, yes, but it will be over by Saturday night. Put a championship game out there and it doesn’t have to end.