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NCAA paves way for FBS conferences to eliminate divisions and still hold title games

With the move, the SEC and ACC could quickly eliminate their divisions, and more leagues could soon follow.

The NCAA's Division I Council on Wednesday eliminated the rule requiring FBS conferences to split into divisions or play round-robin schedules in order to hold a conference championship game.

The announcement was made during the D1 Council's meeting, where it received the rubber stamp that was widely anticipated.

Conference championship games were born at the Division II level in the 1980s, then brought to FBS (then Division I-A) when the SEC grew from 10 teams to 12 with the additions of South Carolina and Arkansas. The D2 required conferences to split into divisions and was carried to I-A because, well, that's how it was written in D2. It took another quarter century, but eventually every FBS conference adopted a title game of its own, with the only rule change coming when the Big 12 got a waiver to hold a championship game as a 10-team league because it played a round-robin schedule.

Uncovering the arbitrary nature of the original rule, as long as growing dissatisfaction with life in 14-team super-conferences split into two divisions, created the push to eliminate the rule.

The SEC, ACC and Big Ten are holding active discussions to eliminate their divisions and pit 1 vs. 2 in their respective championship games. The Pac-12 changed its championship game format immediately after the NCAA's announcement; the rule change came too late to eliminate divisions for the 2022 season, but the league said it will consider that possibility for 2023 and beyond. 

Eliminating divisions would allow far-flung teams to play each other more often. Georgia, for instance, still has not played at Kyle Field as Texas A&M heads into its 11th season in the SEC. Removing the East-West structure could put the Bulldogs in Reveille's house as often as every four years. 

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.