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'One true champion' gets a workout in Big 12

7/22/2014

By Kellis Robinett

By Kellis Robinett

McClatchy-Tribune

DALLAS -- The Big 12 opened its annual media days on Monday by showing off a new logo and hammering home an old slogan.The new logo, a more progressive and colorful look than the old XII, can be seen everywhere as the conference prepares for the upcoming season. Fans will soon see it everywhere, too.

"One of the things that we have done," Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said, "is we've gone about the process of trying to make sure that it is consistently portrayed in every usage, and that includes the proliferation of the new mark, but also withdrawing the old mark and making sure that the old XII is not any longer in popular use.

"And so we have a lot of consistency ... Ralph Waldo Emerson said foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. And that may be true, but consistency is also what makes a good branding program. And so you will see this on basketball. You'll see it on stadium turf surfaces. You'll see it on baseball and softball outfields. You will see it on uniforms, helmets."

Bowlsby said the Big 12 began working with design teams on the new logo before he arrived. He said the conference thought about changing the logo to reflect its 10-school membership, but they decided against it.

He joked that the Big 12 is "numerically challenged."

"We think there's some real value and cache in the Big 12," Bowlsby said. "Not only the Big 12 artwork, but in the 20-year history of our league."

He also thinks there is value in the Big 12's scheduling system, a nine-game round robin that pits all 10 teams against each other. The result of that competition is the conference's go-to slogan: One True Champion.

The Big 12 has created a website (onetruechampion.org) to promote the slogan and displayed it for everyone to see Monday.

So does that mean the Big 12 will stop honoring co-champions the way it has in recent years?

Bowlsby side-stepped the question, saying the Big 12 will always use a tie-breaker system to determine bowl order. Multiple trophies will still be presented, according to the league's tiebreaker system.

More importantly, will one true champion help the Big 12 land one, or possibly multiple teams, in the new college football playoff?

"I like our path to the championship," Bowlsby said. "I think the fact that we play everybody in our league is a nuance that is not going to be lost on the selection committee. They will look very carefully at other leagues when you're 7-1 and another league -- it's not going to be 7-1 as a standalone number. It's 7-1 based on who you played and who you beat and also who you didn't play.

"... That really is sum and substance of why we are promoting the difference between how we determine a champion and how other leagues determine their champions."

Another conference debut was commercials, or public service announcements as Bowlsby called them.

One featured all 10 of the Big 12's coaches discussing the positives of every season, including "explosive offenses" taking on "aggressive defenses" -- with a twist. After one coach said a few words, he morphed into another. Bill Snyder became Charlie Strong, Kliff Kingsbury became Charlie Weis, Bob Stoops became Art Briles, and so on.

It was a good show. Bowlsby hopes it leads to something special.

"The only thing that you really have to do after adopting one true champion as your moniker is you have to go out and win some games," Bowlsby said, "and we are certainly going to try and do that ... We want to win National Championships. And I don't think our coaches shy away from that. I know our student-athletes don't shy away from it. And it's been a little while since we've won a championship, and I think it's about time that we did."