There's an interesting idea being discussed for Big 12 divisions

Oklahoma President David Boren, left, laughs as Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby listens as they speak to reporters after the second day of the Big 12 sports conference meetings in Irving, Texas, Thursday, June 2, 2016. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Oklahoma President David Boren, left, laughs as Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby listens as they speak to reporters after the second day of the Big 12 sports conference meetings in Irving, Texas, Thursday, June 2, 2016. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

When announcing the Big 12’s decision to reintroduce a conference championship game in 2017, commissioner Bob Bowlsby mentioned the possibility of arranging the league’s 10 members into two five-team divisions.

And with those divisions, there is an interesting proposal apparently on the table.

Iowa State president Steven Leath told reporters the league has discussed the idea of changing its divisions every year based on the final standings of the previous season.

“The idea of re-seeding every year is intriguing,” Leath said Thursday, per the Des Moines Register. “It differentiates us as a league. It keeps the league really vibrant, exciting and fresh. I think if we do that, other leagues will say “Wow, that’s a really neat idea.”

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The Register’s Randy Peterson reported that the re-seeding idea is “a popular plan among conference officials.”

Leath agreed, saying the plan “is certainly creating a buzz right now.”

Here’s how it would look, per Peterson:

In essence, that would mean placing teams finishing first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth in one division, and the even-finishing teams in the other.

The divisions would change every year under that plan.

The divisions aren’t a given, of course, and many fans are worried the conference could split the teams up based on geography and affect the conference’s balance in the process (with one division being far more dominant).

Another obvious issue with implementing divisions would be the possibility of the league’s top two teams not meeting in the title game. One division could have an 11-1 team and a 10-2 team, with the other division’s leader having only an 8-4 mark. On top of that, if the team with fewer wins knocks off the top team, it could cost a team a spot in the College Football Playoff.

The teams already play a round robin schedule anyway, but the possibility of two teams facing late in the regular season only to square off again in a title game a short time later is also a concern for the conference.

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“The charge was to come up with the best format for the championship game,” Leath said. “What the ADs were kicking around is the division idea, especially with the high likelihood that you wouldn’t want to play someone late in the season, and then play them for the championship.”

To combat that, teams would play opponents from the other division as early in the season as possible. That way, games that decide division winners would come at the end of the regular season, too.

The whole issue of expansion – an issue that is still very alive per the Dallas Morning News – also looms over the Big 12. The league already made it clear last week that a television network is not in the cards. With that, the TV market allure of certain expansion candidates is no longer a point of emphasis. If it brings in new members, the Big 12 wants those members to positively impact the level of competition – like TCU and West Virginia did.

“Yes, TV markets are important. Yes, the financial aspect is important,” Oklahoma president David Boren said. “But we certainly cannot afford to dilute our competitive reputation.”

Obviously, any expansion would impact divisional alignment, too. Round-robin scheduling would be off the table with 12 (or more) members and the idea of changing the divisions on a yearly-basis – and the scheduling hurdles that come with it – could become overly complicated.

So if this idea for divisional alignment does come to fruition, it seems like it would be something that would be a stopgap idea until the league finally expands, right? It’s hard to tell anymore with the Big 12. The one thing we do know, though, is that the league still has crucial decisions ahead.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!