Bob Bowlsby: Having 13 games superior to having 12

IRVING, Texas -- Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said that after learning Wednesday that 13 games meant more than 12 to the College Football Playoff selection committee, his conference likely would move to add a title game.

"Having 13 [games] is superior to having 12," Bowlsby said. "It kind of gives us guidance what we need to be doing in the future."

NCAA rules prohibit conferences from holding a championship game without two divisions and fewer than 12 members. However, a proposal to deregulate conference championship games, removing the 12-team requirement, is set to be implemented for the 2016 season. The Big 12 has just 10 teams and is the only Power 5 conference without a title game.

Bowlsby, who was attending the CFP meetings in Irving, said he learned from selection committee chairman Jeff Long the importance of having a conference championship game.

"What we heard was that if we don't go to a championship game, we're at a disadvantage," Bowlsby said. "If we don't make changes, we're potentially going into the season with a short stick in our hand."

The Big 12's lack of a single conference champion and a title game caused controversy in 2014, the first year of the College Football Playoff. Big 12 co-champion TCU (11-1 regular season) dropped from No. 3 to No. 6 in the final CFP rankings. Co-champion Baylor (11-1), which defeated TCU 61-58 during the season, finished at No. 5. In the meantime, Ohio State moved up to No. 4 in the final rankings, grabbing the last playoff spot, after the Buckeyes' 13th game, a 59-0 win against Wisconsin. Ohio State went on to win the national championship.

"My only objection -- let me be as clear as I can: the selection committee did a remarkable job -- but we didn't hear about the 13th data point until the last day of the season [last year]," Bowlsby said. "That was my question today."

Bowlsby said that once the conference championship games are deregulated, "We'll take a good look at it and weigh all the pros and cons. I surmise that we will probably move in that direction knowing what we now know. Until the rule changes, we won't know for sure."

CFP executive director Bill Hancock said the commissioners discussed the importance of a 13th game, but there is "certainly no movement" to mandate a league title game in the playoff era.

"The 13th game against a quality opponent helped Ohio State," he said. "The other matter at play here is everyone in that room -- particularly [Big 12 commissioner] Bob [Bowlsby] -- understands the rewards and the risk of a conference championship game."

Hancock said the CFP needs to further educate the public on the importance of conference championships -- not championship games.

"There was talk about whether the Big 12 needs to decide a champion, and the group felt like that's up to the Big 12; it's not our decision," Hancock said. "From the reports I'm hearing and reading, they are heading in that direction. I don't know that it would've helped them last year, I really don't. I don't think anybody can say. Because the committee put Baylor ahead of TCU in large part because they won the game."

Bowlsby also spoke with Long on Wednesday about last year's selection process. Bowlsby said he and Long are longtime colleagues and can have a "spirited conversation on this."

"I asked him why we hadn't heard about the 13th data point until the end of the season," Bowlsby said. "We had a good conversation about it. Going into the playoff era, it was our understanding we weren't put at a disadvantage by not having a conference championship game. In the end, I think we are disadvantaged. Now it's incumbent upon us to make the necessary changes that minimize that disadvantage."

ESPN.com's Heather Dinich contributed to this report.