Big 12 wins approval to stage title game as 10-team league


Score one for the Big 12.

The league won, by a 7 to 2 vote (the AAC and ACC were the two dissenters), approval to stage a championship game as a 10-team league, removing the requirement that conferences must consist of at least 12 teams split in two divisions to stage a title game.

Moving forward, conferences will have the ability to play a championship game as a 10-team conference as long as its round-robin schedule remains intact.

While much of the focus centers on the Big 12, the Sun Belt has also weighed the merits of staging a championship game with less than 12 teams.

The obvious losers here at Cincinnati, BYU, Memphis, Houston, Connecticut and any other team clinging to the hope of a forced expansion being their ticket to the Big 12. It could also be a blow for Idaho and New Mexico State, as their geographically-messy and competitively-challenged membership is no longer required to hold a championship.

Now, will Wednesday’s news push the Big 12 to actually stage a championship game?

Big 12 executives scheduled to meet Feb. 4, so expect the first layer of that onion to be peeled then.

Big 12 commish Bob Bowlsby was also unsure how it would go about picking the two teams to play in its hypothetical championship game (hint: it’s the teams at the top of the standings). Allow me to plug the alternate championship idea first presented in this space a year ago.

One thing Bowlsby seemed pretty sure of? The money.

And as we all know, in college football, money remains undefeated.

Former Navy coach Niumatalolo joins UCLA staff

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LOS ANGELES – Former Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo is joining UCLA’s coaching staff as director of leadership.

The school said in an announcement Friday that Niumatalolo will serve as an advisor to the Bruins’ football staff and players.

Niumatalolo led Navy for 15 years and was the winningest coach in school history at 109-83. The Midshipmen, however, finished with losing records the past three seasons, including 4-8 the past two.

Navy played in 10 bowl games under Niumatalolo. He also was the only coach to win his first eight games in the storied Army-Navy rivalry.

Troy, Jon Sumrall agree to new 4-year contract through 2026

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TROY, Ala. ⁠— Jon Sumrall agreed to a new four-year contract as Troy’s coach after leading the Trojans to a Sun Belt Conference championship and national ranking in his debut season.

The school announced the deal, which runs through 2026, but didn’t release details.

The Trojans went 12-2 and won their final 11 games, second only to national champion Georgia, including the league championship game and the Cure Bowl against UTSA. For the first time, they finished a season ranked, ending up 19th in The Associated Press Top 25.

“When we appointed Coach Sumrall in December 2021, we challenged him to return Troy football to the top of the Sun Belt Conference,” Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. said. “It didn’t take long, as the 2022 season was the best in our FBS history.”

Troy held all 14 of its opponents to under their season average in scoring, beating UTSA 18-12. The Trojans beat Coastal Carolina 45-26 in the Sun Belt title game.

“Last year was an amazing accomplishment for everyone associated with Troy football and was the product of relentless effort from our players and staff, athletic administration and university leaders,” Sumrall said.