Friday saw the Big 12 with their 10 members decide that in 2017, they will re-start their championship game.
That means 9 of the 10 FBS leagues now will have a conference championship game (CCG). The only holdout is the Sun Belt.
But don't think a Sun Belt CCG is coming anytime soon. After deciding to not renew New Mexico State and Idaho and stick at 10 football-playing members in 2018, Sun Belt commish Karl Benson went around saying that there likely won't be a championship game until 2018.
This has been going on since 2013.
When the Sun Belt added Georgia Southern and Appalachian State as full members and Idaho and New Mexico State as football-only members in March 2013 to begin play in summer 2014, the league had 12 members. The purpose of the latter two was to get a CCG starting in 2014.
Days later, Western Kentucky was added to Conference USA, putting the Sun Belt back at 11 members in summer 2014 and unable to hold a CCG.
The Sun Belt, instead of just adding another FCS move-up, waited. With James Madison not interested, the league decided upon Coastal Carolina in late August 2015 to begin Sun Belt football play in 2017. The CCG was back on.
In January, the NCAA voted to deregulate CCG's. As long as a conference either 1) played a complete round-robin schedule or 2) had two equal divisions playing round-robin among themselves, they could have a CCG.
While it was too late for the 2016 season, with Coastal making 12 members for 2017 and then 10 members beyond that, it seemed like it was time.
So why the holdup?
It seems that the league members want to keep the schedule relatively simple for 2017, instead of blowing it up for Coastal, then blowing it up again when Idaho and NMSU exit.
It's no secret that there's some Sun Belt leaders against a CCG. Terry Mohajir, AD of Arkansas State, is against the idea, saying it could cost a Sun Belt team a New Year's Six Access Bowl spot if they lose in a CCG.
But let's be real. A Sun Belt team isn't going to get an Access Bowl spot without taking the CCG plunge.
That 13th game represents a risk, but also a chance at a great reward. It'll get the league notoriety on a weekend where there's going to be only nine other FBS games, all championship games.
An 11-1 Sun Belt Champion team is always going to be disadvantaged when going up against a 12-1 American Athletic or Mountain West Champion. The risk of having a team go 11-2 or 12-1 and lose a CCG is worth having a team potentially go 12-1 or 13-0 and get the Sun Belt that Access Bowl spot and the jackpot.
The Sun Belt was last in the 2015 Group of 5 rankings. It's not like a CCG is gonna have the league finish any lower.
The Sun Belt needs to keep up with the joneses. It's time to add a Sun Belt Conference Championship Game. In 2018, put App State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia State, Georgia Southern and Troy in the East Division, then put South Alabama, UL-Lafayette, UL-Monroe, Arkansas State and Texas Statein the West Division. For 2017, have Troy vs South Alabama be a protected cross-division game and get going.
Without a CCG, that Access Bowl spot will never become a reality.