Big 12’s Bob Bowlsby dishes on CFP expansion, OU/ UT exit and the new Big 12

·3 min read
LM Otero/AP

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby acknowledged the idea of an expanded playoff from the current four-team model is “in some jeopardy” of being implemented by the 2024 season. It’s possible an expansion won’t be reached by the 2025 season, either, when the 12-year agreements ends.

“We’ve really been on the clock [for 2024],” Bowlsby said. “Just for purely logistical reasons year 11 [2024] is probably in some jeopardy at this point, just because there’s good and appropriate things you have to do in order to host the games.

“I think it’s also a possibility that we wouldn’t be able to do it for year 12 [2025], and we’ll be talking about what do we do in year 13 and beyond because you know, for all intents and purposes, the CFP goes away [after 2025]. There is no operating agreement beyond 2025-26, and there are no contracts that bind us beyond ‘25-26.”

Bowlsby remains a believer that an expanded playoff is in the best interest of college football. He feels the 12-team model he helped construct makes the most sense even after the college landscape shifted with the latest round of realignment.

“We went into the process trying to think about what was best for college football,” Bowlsby said. “The 12-team model is the one that is best for college football. With five or six weeks to go in the season, there’s going to be 40 schools that have a legitimate claim to a playoff spot. That’s good for regular-season attendance. That’s good for TV viewership.

“I think it’ll be very interesting. I think it’ll be good for college football.”

UT, OU early exit?

Texas and Oklahoma are not expected to leave the Big 12 until June 30, 2025. Bowlsby said no discussions of an earlier exit have been initiated by either school as of Saturday.

“That’s what we’re planning on,” Bowlsby said.

Bowlsby went on to say that nothing has changed on the arrival dates for the incoming four schools. BYU is expected to join for the 2023 season with Houston, UCF and Cincinnati coming in 2024.

The Big 12 released its 2022 football schedule this week with it looking much like it has in recent years. The 2022 football championship is scheduled for Dec. 3, 2022 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Memorable day

Bowlsby hasn’t forgotten July 21, 2021.

That’s the day news broke that UT and OU would be leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. It also happened to be the day that Kansas basketball coach Bill Self announced that he tested positive for COVID-19.

Bowlsby had just returned from a trip to the University of Kansas when he learned of both developments.

“Those were the two stories trending,” Bowlsby said. “July 21 was an exciting day. … I have just tried to work through this the best I could. I’ve tried to listen to our board and ADs. Some of the people involved were close friends and it’s sort of less than human if that wasn’t a little bit personal, but you have to get past that. We did and the board charted a path.

“I executed it along with the staff. We’ve gotten to a place that’s turned out well. You don’t replace national brands like the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma. We’ll be just fine, but you don’t replace schools like that.”

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