The Big 12 has decided against splitting into two divisions for football, setting up a championship game between the two top teams in the conference after its nine-game, round-robin schedule.
The league made the announcement Friday as it prepared for the return of a title game next season after last being played in 2010 when there were 12 teams in the conference.
Not playing in divisions guarantees the 13th game for the participants will match the two best in conference play, and the winner will have a significant win in its bid to make the College Football Playoff.
“I would argue there will be no path more difficult than our champion’s, where it will have played every team in the Conference, faced at least one Autonomy Conference non-conference opponent, and then plays in our championship game," Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. "The guaranteed No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup will be a great game for our fans, and it’s hard to imagine a stronger position for a conference champion.”
The conference said the site for the game will be announced in the coming weeks.