FRISCO, Texas — At his annual state of the conference address to kick off Big 12 football media days, commissioner Bob Bowlsby noted the league captured five national championships during the 2016-17 season.
Football was not one of those title teams.
“We didn’t make the College Football Playoff,” Bowlsby said Monday at Ford Center. “Obviously, that’s the coin of the realm.”
With only one berth by Oklahoma in three years of the CFP, the Big 12 will join the rest of the Power Five world with a championship game this season matching the top two teams from the round-robin regular season schedule.
“The decision was made 100 percent on our ability to optimize the likelihood of getting a team into the CFP,” Bowlsby said. “The finances of it were … I don’t ever recall them being discussed. I think our board was mindful that there was more revenue available because it was embedded in our contracts. We had anticipated that we might, at some point, add a championship game.
“But the decision was made 100 percent based upon our ability to compete at the national level. Data that we saw that indicated that playing a championship game and having that 13th data point would, in fact, deliver that advantage.”
Making the four-team CFP is just the first step for the Big 12 to improve its national perception and reputation.
“It’s not about making the playoff,” Bowlsby said. “It’s about winning national championships. That’s what we want to do.”
STAYING ON THE JOB — Bowlsby said he has been offered a contract extension by the Big 12 and expects to sign a new contract that would run through the 2024-25 season.
“I feel like I’m a pretty young 65,” said Bowlsby, the former Iowa and Stanford athletics director who has been at the Big 12 since May 2012. “I like what I’m doing. I plan on being here a while.”
RECRUITING PROCEDURES — An early signing period and an expanded window are changes Bowlsby would support for football.
“I’m not sure that a signing date is exactly what we need in today’s environment,” he said. “If you want to get the recruiting process over, the institution can issue a letter of intent and you’ve got 14 days to sign it. If the student-athlete wants to conclude the recruitment process and the institution knows they’d like to make a decision, they go ahead and do it.
“One of the most troubling statistics that I have heard is that the average FBS institution makes 233 oral offers and nobody can sign more than 25. There’s a lot of disingenuousness in the system and I think we need to try to clean that up as much as we possibly can. It seems to me that maybe a signing window might be the answer, but we have a lot more work to do on that.”
PRESENCE MISSING — Bowlsby noted the absence of Bob Stoops, who surprisingly stepped down as coach at Oklahoma.
“I think he feels very good about the timing of moving away from the game, and I think he feels very good about Lincoln Riley coming in as his successor,” Bowlsby said. “I have really been grateful for his care about the quality of the game of football. He has been a real leader among our coaches. He has been a voice of moderation. He has been a voice for change. He’s been very innovative. His legacy is extraordinary.”
Bowlsby described Riley, along with new Texas coach Tom Herman and Baylor’s Matt Rhule, as “superstars.”
“I don’t think there’s a league in the country that has three better new, young head coaches,” he said. “We also have great veterans in our league. The Mike Gundys, the Gary Pattersons and the Bill Snyders have been doing it at a high level for a long, long time. My guess is that they’re anxious to suit it up and match up against some of these new, young guys.”
Contact Ken Corbitt at (785) 295-1123 or @KenCorbitt on Twitter.