Big 12 athletics directors are considering pushing the conference's championship game back a week to provide built-in flexibility in the event games are canceled this fall, according to a report Monday from the Dallas Morning News.
The Big 12 Championship is slated for Saturday, Dec. 5 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Such a move would require the approval of the Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium officials and ESPN.
“I think trying to build in flexibility makes sense. That’s not the decision we’ll make this kind of year,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told the paper. “I hope the season is orderly enough that those kinds of options can be viable. I suspect that we won’t have that luxury.”
At first glance, moving the game back a week should be fine from a local perspective. The Cowboys are on the road on Thursday, Dec. 3 and again on Sunday, Dec. 13, and AT&T Stadium's Events
" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">public schedule does not list any events for Dec. 12.
But moving the game back a week would have a ripple effect on the rest of college football.
In a normal year, there are but two events at the FBS level on the second Saturday of December: the Army-Navy game in the afternoon and the Heisman Trophy ceremony at night.
Moving back a Power 5 league's championship game would create a domino effect that could affect every team in FBS.
Though the conference has yet to appear in a College Football Playoff title game, it has sent a representative (Oklahoma) to the 4-team field in four of the past five seasons, and in 2014 the Big 12 entered Selection Sunday with TCU at No. 3 before falling to No. 5 upon the announcement of the Playoff's inaugural field.
That 2014 snub was the entire reason the Big 12 revived its championship game in 2017.
If Selection Sunday was moved back a week, it stands to reason that the selection of other bowl slots -- which, naturally, come in the hours after the Playoff field is announced -- could be pushed back a week as well, to Sunday, Dec. 13.
That could prove to be a logistical challenge for other bowls, which begin the following Saturday, Dec. 19.
The Morning News report indicated the idea is purely table talk at this point, and that a final decision may not come until the season is already underway. One presume Big 12 leaders don't want to break that seal until it becomes necessary, if and when conference games start being canceled.
Of course, it is entirely likely that the Big 12 is not the only conference to push its championship game back a week, they're merely the first to make the idea public.