FORT WORTH, TX – NOVEMBER 27: (L-R) Shawn Oakman #2 of the Baylor Bears and Halapoulivaati Vaitai #74 of the TCU Horned Frogs during the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on November 27, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The on-again off-again rumors of Big 12 expansion have been around ever since it became a 10-team league. Most of the rumors circled around the seeming need or want of a college football conference title game.

However, as FBS conference representatives meet around the College Football Playoff national championship game it appears the conference may have an answer to solve its expansion dilemma.

According to reports it appears that the Big 12 may be getting its wish and an exemption to hold a conference championship game. The only question appears to be exactly how that would look.

The Big 12 would like to have it happen without its teams having to split up in to divisions, with this being their proposal on the table:

Currently, football is the only [college] sport that has additional criteria (e.g., 12 or more members, two divisions) that must be satisfied in order to exempt a conference championship game from the limitation on the maximum number of contests.

By allowing a conference to determine the criteria for its football championship, as is the case in all other sports, a more stable conference membership environment may be established.

Finally, with the elimination of the round-robin, regular-season requirement, a conference would be afforded the flexibility to determine its regular-season schedule and preserve non-conference rivalries.

It was thought to have broad support, but the Big Ten put a bit of a monkey wrench in those plans, by coming up with a separate proposal that would require splitting in to divisions.

Why the difference of opinion? For the Big Ten, it believes having divisional play would even the playing field.

Each member conference participating in the Football Bowl Subdivision should have the same opportunity to determine whether it conducts a conference championship game. For that to happen, the provision requiring 12 or more members in order to exempt a conference championship game needs to be removed.

It is appropriate, however, to maintain the provision regarding matching up division winners. Whereas other team sports require a tournament format to exempt a conference championship event (e.g., basketball requires that the tournament be single elimination), the nature of football, as well as the postseason structure of bowl subdivision football, which includes bowls and the College Football Playoff, render a conference tournament format impractical.

In order for the additional game to be exempted as a conference championship, the match-up must be reflective of the participating teams’ success within the conference, which is provided through the divisional-format provision.

SB Nation is reporting that those within a voting conference believe the Big Ten’s proposal isn’t likely to pass, as long as the language in the Big 12’s proposal has an agreement that the top 2 teams in its round-robin format would meet in the championship game.

While that seems logical on its face, it still doesn’t address the fact that there is no guarantee that the best two teams in the conference will end up meeting. It has happened in every conference to date, some from suspension and some from the lack of divisional strength.

It remains to be seen how this issue gets played out, but one thing is for sure, approval would be a death-blow to the need for expansion of the Big 12. That means bad news for the likes of BYU, Houston, UCF and a host of others maybe hoping to move to the Power 5 conference.

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a contributor to The Comeback as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10. He also is a member of the FWAA and has been covering college sports since 2011. Andy is an avid soccer fan and runs the Celtic FC site The Celtic Bhoys. If he's not writing about sports, you can find him enjoying them in front of the TV with a good beer!