Commissioner ushers in the Big 12 era at West Virginia

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- So, Oklahoma State's 84-0 win against Savannah State a few weeks ago didn't fire up the average college football fan?

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby would probably agree.

Bowlsby, who is in Morgantown this weekend for West Virginia's Big 12 conference debut against Baylor, shared his thoughts on a bevy of subjects on the eve of today's historic game.

First, he believes a plan for the four-team playoff for college football approved in June could be ready to share with the public within six months, mentioning March or April as possible months for an announcement.

"It seems to me it's reasonable that within six months we ought to have a lot of this stuff put together," said Bowlsby. "I serve on the site selection and revenue distribution subcommittees. But it's a 12-year deal and we need to make sure we get it right for the kids on the field, the coaches and the fans.

"I think this is an enormous step forward for college football."

That plan, he said, is likely to help guide teams in the strength of schedule debate, by using a metric to determine a team's strength of schedule, which will ultimately help deliver stronger non-conference games.

"I don't think you have to play murderers' row. I think you have to play a schedule that gets your team ready," said Bowlsby. "There'll be some metric we use on non-conference scheduling. I think that metric on who's selected and how they're seeded will cause people to schedule more competitively."

The argument, of course, is how can a team be sure that playing weaker opponents, those that help prepare the team for the season and serve as an easy win, won't hurt its strength of schedule too much? Or that risking a loss against a strong opponent also won't hurt?

"We want to be able to schedule high-level competition without the risk of a loss eliminating you for the playoff," said Bowlsby. "Last year, if Oregon and LSU had to do it over again, Oregon might not opt to take that game [a 40-27 LSU win] again. There's a balancing act there."

Bowlsby said he's looking forward to soaking in the atmosphere in Morgantown for the first time. He arrived late Thursday night, met with media Friday morning and was scheduled to lead the school's homecoming parade before taking in today's game.

"I love college football, love college football game days. I like seeing new venues, and all stadiums are the same-- they look a lot better full," said Bowlsby.

"This place has a reputation for being a very difficult place to play and I'm sure that that fact is not lost on Baylor. It's hard to play a good team in a difficult place to play. So yes, I'm looking forward to seeing it, experiencing it and I'm looking forward to watching a good football team."

wvusports


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