Every Big 12 Championship game will be a rematch, but don’t expect regular upsets

In pursuit of the almighty dollar, over the summer the Big 12 Conference chose to re-institute a football championship game. Not only will this make money just for the game itself but it will also be the crucial 13th data point for consideration by the committee that determines the participants in the College Football Playoff©. However, with the recent decision by the conference that it will not be adding new members any time soon, the fact that the league plays a round-robin schedule ensures that the championship game will always be a rematch.

Some fans are fearful that these rematch games serve as little more than an opportunity for an upset that will only serve to keep the conference out of the playoff. However, analysis of the thirty rematches that have occurred in conference championship games shows just two instances where a team ranked in the top four was beaten by a team that it defeated in the regular season. Further, the team that wins the regular season game is 19–11 in the conference championship rematches, and in two of the instances where the regular season winner lost the championship game, the conference champion was the higher ranked team despite the regular season loss.

The Big 12 had a conference championship game from it’s inception until 2010. Five of those fifteen contests featured teams that had already played in the regular season. Only once did the regular season loser win the championship, in 2001 when Colorado upset Texas. In two of the other four rematches, Oklahoma in 2000 and Texas in 2005, the winner went on to claim the BCS national championship. In the SEC there are two instances where a team won a rematch and went on to become national champs are LSU in 2003 and Auburn in 2010, and one game where an upset thwarted a shot at a national championship, in 2001 when LSU knocked out then #2 Tennessee.

The rematch confirms the regular season result 63% of the time. When it doesn’t there are as many games(two) where the higher ranked team was able to avenge an upset loss as there are games where a team was knocked out of a chance at the national championship.

Conference championship rematch games by conference:

ACC — Boston College should try to avoid the Hokies

  • 2007 — #9 Va. Tech lost to #2 Boston College on Oct. 25th but in the CCG on Dec. 1 #5 Va. Tech beat #12 Boston College.
  • 2008 — #17 Va. Tech lost to unranked Boston College on Oct. 18th but in the CCG on Dec. 6th unranked Va. Tech beat #20 Boston College
  • 2009 — #14 Georgia Tech beat Clemson on Sept. 10th but in the CCG on Dec. 5th #11 Georgia Tech lost to unranked Clemson
  • 2011 — #13 Clemson beat #11 Va. Tech on Oct. 1st and in the CCG on Dec. 3rd #21 Clemson again beat #5 Va. Tech

Big 12 — The Sooners are 6–0 counting the regular season and rematch

  • 2000 — #8 Oklahoma beat #2 Kansas State on Oct. 14th and in the CCG on Dec. 2nd #1 Oklahoma again beat #8 Kansas State.
  • 2001 — #14 Colorado lost to #9 Texas on Oct. 20th but in the CCG on Dec. 1 #9 Colorado beat #3 Texas.
  • 2002 — #2 Oklahoma beat #13 Colorado on Nov. 2nd and in the CCG on Dec. 7th #8 Oklahoma again beat #12 Colorado.
  • 2005 — #2 Texas beat #24 Colorado on Oct. 15th and in the CCG on Dec. 3rd #2 Texas again beat unranked Colorado.
  • 2007 — #6 Oklahoma beat #11 Missouri on Oct. 13th and in the CCG on Dec. 1st #9 Oklahoma again beat #1 Missouri.

Big 10 — Avoid rematching against Wisconsin

  • 2011 — #4 Wisconsin lost to #15 Michigan State on Oct. 22 but in the CCG on Dec. 3rd #15 Wisconsin beat #11 Michigan State.
  • 2012 — #23 Wisconsin lost to #20 Nebraska on Sept. 29th but in the CCG on Dec. 1 unranked Wisconsin beat #14 Nebraska.

Conference USA

  • 2006 — Houston lost to Southern Miss on Oct. 14th but in the CCG on Dec. 1st Houston beat Southern Miss.
  • 2007 — UCF beat Tulsa on Oct. 20th and in the CCG on Dec. 1st UCF again beat Tulsa.
  • 2012 — Tulsa beat UCF on Nov. 17th and in the CCG on Dec. 1st Tulsa again beat UCF.

MAC

  • 2014 — Boise St beat Fresno St on Oct. 17th and in the CCG on Dec. 6th #22 Boise St again beat Fresno St.

Pac-12 — Four of the five have been rematches.

  • 2012 — #11 Stanford beat #15 UCLA on Nov. 24th and in the CCG on Nov. 30th #8 Stanford again beat #17 UCLA.
  • 2013 — #5 Stanford beat #23 Arizona St on Sept. 21st and in the CCG on Dec. 7th #7 Stanford again beat #11 Arizona St.
  • 2014 — #2 Oregon lost to unranked Arizona on Oct. 2nd but in the CCG on Dec. 5th #3 Oregon beat #8 Arizona.
  • 2015 — Unranked Stanford beat #6 USC on Sept. 19th and in the CCG on Dec. 5th #7 Stanford again beat #24 USC.

SEC — Five rematches in seven years from 1999 to 2004

  • 1999 — #21 Alabama beat #3 Florida on Oct. 2nd and in the CCG on Dec. 4th #7 Alabama again beat #5 Florida.
  • 2000 — #10 Florida beat #19 Auburn on Oct. 14th and in the CCG on Dec. 2nd #7 Florida again beat #18 Auburn.
  • 2001 — #14 LSU lost to #7 Tennessee on Sept. 29th but in the CCG on Dec. 8th #21 LSU beat #2 Tennessee.
  • 2003 — #11 LSU beat #7 Georgia on Sept. 20th and in the CCG on Dec. 6th #3 LSU again beat #5 Georgia.
  • 2004 — #8 Auburn beat #10 Tennessee and in the CCG on Dec. 4th #3 Auburn again beat #15 Tennessee.
  • 2010 — #17 Auburn beat #12 S. Carolina on Sept. 25ht and in the CCG on Dec. 4th #2 Auburn again beat #18 S. Carolina.