FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—As Oklahoma arrived in South Florida this week for the Orange Bowl semifinal, it carried the hopes of the Big 12 with it. The conference hasn't won a national title in a decade and spent most of this season shrouded in uncertainty after getting shut out of the inaugural College Football Playoff.
The inclusion of Oklahoma (11–1) in this year's field has calmed the nerves of some around the league. But over the next three months the Big 12 will face crucial decisions that could result in significant changes.
The conference's small size (10 members), lack of a title game and absence of a cable television network all loom over the league's president and athletic director meetings in the next three months. The issues will come into clearer focus in January, after a vote at the NCAA Convention determines if the Big 12 can hold a title game while maintaining its current 10-team format. "I think the next few months are vital for us," Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told SI.com. "We'll begin to see a few more pieces of the puzzle and undertake a more thorough assessment of what our opinions are."