The Big 12 Conference is eschewing divisions in its new championship format, the league announced in a statement Friday.
Instead of splitting its 10 teams into two divisions, the top two teams in the overall Big 12 standings will play for in the 2017 conference championship game.
“There are a number of advantages to matching our top two teams,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in the statement. “Given our round-robin, nine-game scheduling model, it is expected the Big 12 champion will be uniquely positioned for College Football Playoff consideration.”
Bowlsby, the former athletic director at Iowa, added that in his opinion, “there will be no path more difficult than our champion’s.”
A site for the championship game has not been announced, but Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, is thought to be the leading contender. San Antonio and Kansas City have also been mentioned as potential host cities.
With Houston having conflict with SWAC title game, decision on Big 12 title game site is down to Arlington, Kansas City and San Antonio.
— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) October 28, 2016
The Big 12 is the only Power Five conference without a championship game, and has fewer members than the Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Pac 12.
Just last week, the Big 12 announced it would not expand after the school presidents met in Dallas and discussed the idea. The conference was thought to have been considering at least 11 “viable candidates,” including Houston, BYU and Cincinnati.