Mosley: Big 12 still dysfunctional under new commissioner

BY foxsports • December 9, 2014

If you needed further evidence of how dysfunctional the Big 12 remains, the sight of Baylor head coach Art Briles shouting at conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby during the championship ceremony late Saturday night surely did the trick. Briles held his tongue as long as he could and finally unleashed on a commissioner who didn't exactly stick up for his conference in the days leading up to Sunday's fateful announcement. 

By Saturday night, Briles was coming to grips with the fact his team had zero chance of winning a close call against mighty Ohio State. The Buckeyes' 59-0 win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game gave the College Football Playoff committee an easy excuse to bypass both Baylor and TCU on Sunday. The Frogs were stunned to drop three spots after a 55-3 drubbing of Iowa State on Saturday. Either the committee believes Iowa State is the worst football team in the land or it intended all along to drop the Horned Frogs from their lofty perch. 

I happened to bump into Bob Bowlsby at a fast-food restaurant Saturday as we were both driving to Waco for the Baylor-Kansas State game. In the previous 24 hours, a video had made the rounds of Bowlsby providing a completely different interpretation of the Big 12's tiebreaker rules during the conference's media days in July. It was a contradiction that Briles and Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw have seized upon. Back in the summer, Bowlsby hung his hat on the now embarrassing "One True Champion" slogan, saying there would be an obvious head-to-head tiebreaker. He later amended that statement to say the coaches and ADs had voted to have co-champions and that he didn't intend to present a champion to the CFP committee. The committee's chairman, Jeff Long, told me three weeks ago he'd prefer the conference choosing a champion. 

Bowlsby's a man who rarely shows any emotion, but the man I saw at Schlotzky's in Hillsboro on Saturday looked pretty haggard. He inherited a conference that had almost blown itself up twice. His predecessor, Dan Beebe, had deferred too often to University of Texas AD DeLoss Dodds and was finally forced out. Bowlsby had the reputation of being an independent thinker who wouldn't bow down to the folks in Austin. But while he may have improved things on that front, his refusal to exert any influence over this playoff process made him look weak. Some of the same ill-will and mistrust that existed during Texas A&M's departure has resurfaced. Briles has calmed down a bit, but he won't forget about Bowlsby's stance. 

While Bowlsby was handing out trophies like he was at a youth soccer tournament, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney took the state and touted Ohio State as one of the best four teams in the country. Making an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday, Bowlsby said he would've selected TCU to represent the conference. But he only waited a sentence or two to contradict that statement. 

He will now spend part the next couple months attempting to show the ADs that this was simply a misstep. And that's time that could've been spent doing something a lot more important, like changing these ridiculous bylaws. 


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