Currie sees pluses, minuses to title game

By Cole Manbeck

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Bill Snyder would prefer to see the Big 12 get back to the number of teams in its name, and in doing so, the Kansas State football coach would like to see divisional play and a conference title game return to the Big 12.

“My concern is not that it won’t expand, but will it expand and move into a two-division conference. That’s what I was a proponent of,” Snyder told 810 WHB-Radio in Kansas City on Wednesday. “I think the dialog is such that if we were to go into a 12-team conference there are many that would still prefer that you play virtually every team in the conference and you don’t have divisions. That’s my concern.”

Snyder went on to say that more than 50 percent of the Big 12 institutions are against a league championship game, even if the conference expanded to 12 teams in the future.

John Currie, when asked about a hypothetical scenario of the Big 12 expanding back to 12 teams in the future, said there are both positives and negatives of a conference championship game.

“There’s a lot that remains to be seen that needs to play out and part of it is what are the parameters if we’re going to evolve into a four-team playoff?” The K-State athletic director said in an interview with The Mercury on Wednesday. “The bowl system — or outside of the bowl system — what are the parameters of selection? Is being a conference champion one of the parameters or not? If it’s not in either way, then you can make an argument for or against a championship game. Those things are going to continue to be on the table.”

K-State has experienced both the highs and lows from the conference championship. In 1998, the Wildcats experienced a demoralizing loss to Texas A&M in the title game, likely costing them a chance to play in the national championship. But in 2003, the Wildcats were able to reach a BCS bowl game with three losses after they beat No. 1-ranked Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship.

“Divisional play has been really beneficial to K-State and other schools in our conference, and then there have been times where it has not been beneficial to K-State and other schools in our conference. So you can kind of make an argument either way.

“I believe we are in the best position as a league to have constructive and positive discussions about those things and achieve consensus than we’ve been during my time in the league.”

Chuck Neinas, the acting commissioner of the Big 12, said Wednesday that divisions within a conference sometimes create tension within a league.

“When you have divisions sometimes there’s divisiveness,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I think it’s important the 10 form together and work together and feel very, very sound as the conference moves forward.

“The future is very bright for the Big 12 Conference. I don’t think there needs to be any hurry to consider expansion now.”

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