Big 12 expansion linked to greater CFP chances, research suggests

PHOENIX -- The Big 12's data research shows that the league will have to make a change to its current format to maximize its chances of making the College Football Playoff.

That includes expanding back to 12 teams.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the analytics firm the league recently hired, Navigate Research, revealed that a 12-team league with an eight-game conference schedule and a championship game was the best model for putting a team in the CFP.

The Big 12 currently has 10 teams, a nine-game conference schedule and no championship game.

This week in Phoenix, the Big 12's athletic directors and coaches are holding their annual spring meeting. Later in May, the conference's president will convene in Irving, Texas.

Oklahoma president and new Big 12 board chairman David Boren has said he'd like to see the Big 12 take action this summer to expand, add a championship game and form a conference network. Boren has said that until the Big 12 does all three, it will be "psychologically disadvantaged."

Bowlsby said he didn't think the league would be ready to take any major votes in the late May meeting, but he added that it would be in the league's best interest to move forward as quickly as possible, perhaps later in the summer.

"Once we get the diagnostics done and the data analysis done, we need to get down the path and make some decisions," Bowlsby said. "There's no sense in dragging it out once we know all the pieces to the puzzle."