Since it's believed the College Football Playoff selection committee will reward teams for winning conference championships, knots in the Big 12's undies tightened because the Big 12's highest rated team, No. 5 TCU, doesn't control its own destiny in winning the conference's championship. Afraid it might get left out of the playoff, the Big 12 changed its championship rules a week before the end of the regular season to potentially give TCU a perception boost in the eyes of the College Football Playoff selection committee.
Since Big 12 conference play is a round robin, the conference has the audacity to declare its conference winner "One True Champion." But as it currently sits, if No. 7 Baylor beats Kansas State Saturday, they would be conference's champions because Baylor beat TCU earlier this season. Because as everyone knows, in absence of a championship game, league winners are always decided first by conference record and second by head-to-head outcomes should teams have the same record. But since Baylor is rated lower than TCU, and therefore less likely to make the final four to get into the playoff, the conference will award "co-champions" so that the committee can choose which Big 12 team they think is better.
The best part coming from ESPN's coverage of this is:
Only if TCU and Baylor are both left out of the top four would the league acknowledge Baylor's head-to-head win over TCU.
In other words the conference is saying: If TCU is rated in the top four, we'll forget Baylor beat them. But if TCU and Baylor fail to make the top four, we'll remember Baylor beat them.
It's incredible the conference is pulling this card now with everybody meticulously observing the ratings. A provision like this could have been made before the season. But it's hard to forecast neuroses that far in advance.
You almost have to admire the narcissism of the Big 12. With the season damn near in the books, they believe in-house post-hoc decisions can affect playoff selections, even though these decisions are obviously divorced from on-field outcomes. They believe the title of "Big 12 Conference Champions" means so much that it can still give teams a boost even when it's tiebreaker rules are hastily gerrymandered. It's hard to even get mad at Baylor for hiring a PR firm to boost their playoff chances when the Bears can't even get a break in their own conference.
Regarding the conference's "One True Champion" Bob Bowlsby said:
"We believe that playing everyone every year is the right way to determine a champion, even if ends in a tie."