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Peavler: Not much has changed for BYU after Big 12 meetings

Commissioner of the Big 12 Bob Bowlsby speaks to reporters after the first day of the Big 12 sports conference meeting in Irving, Texas, Wednesday, June 1, 2016. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Commissioner of the Big 12 Bob Bowlsby speaks to reporters after the first day of the Big 12 sports conference meeting in Irving, Texas, Wednesday, June 1, 2016. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
LM Otero, AP

The Big 12 conference announced on Friday that it would bring back a conference championship game starting in 2017. The news leaves schools hoping for a Big 12 invite wondering what this move means for their chances, including BYU.

This whole situation brings this old saying to mind: "The more things change, the more they stay the same." That saying applies to BYU and the other handful of schools knocking on the Big 12's door.

After all, the Big 12 doesn't have to expand to get a conference championship game. NCAA deregulation earlier this year eliminated the old rule of needed 12 teams. The Big 12 could make two five-team divisions, keep its round-robin conference schedule and have a conference title game without inviting anyone into the conference.

There's some obvious flaws to that plan. Keeping the round-robin will guarantee a rematch in the Big 12 Championship Game. Imagine an undefeated Big 12 team playing a three-loss team in the championship only to lose and potentially fall out of the College Football Playoff.

Then again, Big 12 hasn't been the most forward-thinking conference in college football over the past decade or so. The conference watched as Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M and Missouri left for other Power 5 conferences. They passed on a chance to get Louisville and ultimately lost a solid football and basketball school to the ACC.

Now, they're finally figuring out what the other Power 5 conferences knew years ago: Having a conference championship game is a good idea if you want to get a team into the College Football Playoff. Instead, they tried to sell the rest of the college football world on the idea of "One True Champion" only to finish with two "true champions" in 2014.

It's anybody's guess what the Big 12 will ultimately decide to do. However, Texas athletic director Mike Perrin already came out against conference expansion on Wednesday. That said, Oklahoma president David Boren left the door for expansion open in his comments to the press on Friday.

Which leaves BYU in exactly the same position it was before Big 12 meetings started.

It would fit the Big 12's pattern of inaction for them to go forward with a championship game with only 10 teams and a round-robin schedule until it comes back to bite them. While it's difficult to predict what the Big 12 will do, it seems likely that BYU and the other poor unfortunate souls hoping for an invite will be left waiting for who knows how long.

Chances are, we'll be talking about this very topic again about this time next year. And the year after that. And quite possibly the year after that.

BYU has been in college football limbo since leaving the Mountain West for independence. Several Power 5 conferences count BYU as a Power 5 opponent under their scheduling rules, which is something no member of the Group of 5 conferences have. But BYU also doesn't have prestige, money and big-time bowl access that Power 5 conferences have.

And that's probably not changing anytime soon.

Of course, many Cougar fans will continue to watch the Big 12's soap opera unfold over the months and likely years to come. As for myself, I'll hold to what I wrote about this time one year ago:

Stop worrying and love BYU's independence.

Lafe Peavler is a sports strategist for the Deseret News and Follow him on Twitter @LafePeavler.