As of the 2012 season six of the 11 conferences that call the FBS home conduct a league title game to determine a champion.
The concept of a conference championship game in the modern era of college football was initiated by the SEC which debuted its league title game back in 1992.
Joining the SEC in the postseason festivities were the Big 12 and WAC in 1996, the MAC in 1997, the ACC and C-USA in 2005 and finally the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences in 2011.
With lagging membership making a division format impractical, the WAC’s title game lasted only from 1996-98 while the Big 12 championship game lasted from 1996-2010, ironically leaving the airwaves just moments before the Pac-12 and Big Ten finally went divisional.
This leaves the Big East, Mountain West and Sun Belt conferences as the only currently viable FBS leagues that have never conducted a title game, a fact that ought to change given the current climate of realignment.
Though this is no doubt a scintillating brief history of league titles at the top tier of college football, there are significant knock on effects for conferences which conduct a championship game vs. those that don’t.
One of the inherent advantages for leagues without a season-ending title tilt, especially in the age of the BCS rankings, is that their top finisher (or automatic champion) is not subject to a final game against a quality opponent that could result in a loss outside of the regular season but before the bowl bonanza.
To illustrate, Michigan State played in the inaugural Big Ten title game last season but the last-minute loss to Wisconsin earned the Spartans a third loss that ultimately cost them their spot in the BCS.
On the flip side, Michigan was propelled to the Sugar Bowl by virtue of not winning their division, not playing in the title game and therefore not earning an additional and very costly loss.
The following slideshow adopts a decidedly “the glass is half full” approach and highlights 10 provocative reasons why every FBS league should play a title game.