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While it is not required that the Longhorns win the Big 12 to earn a spot in the playoff, it will certainly help their case considering the conference's current status means its champion will almost certainly be invited to the party.
Not only has the Big 12 survived the realignment craze after what seemed like certain death, it has been able to reaffirm itself as a national power thanks to the additions of TCU and West Virginia. Most importantly, the conference is secure in its position as a top-four conference, and it is a foregone conclusion that its champion will be selected to participate in the playoff.
This is good for Texas, a program on its way back to the top, because not only is this conference very winnable, but there is no championship game. Think back to 2009 where a middling Nebraska team pushed the Longhorns to the brink and almost ruined their shot at a national title. Yeah, no more of that noise.
I'm sure loyalists from the other conference that do have championships will take issue with this, but no conference championship game means more time to get healthy and less time worrying about a potentially back-breaking loss. Granted, this will change if the conference adds more teams, but right now, all Texas has to do to win the conference is get it done in the regular season. Easier said than done, but also easier than playing an extra elimination game.