The Big 12 Conference formed in February 1994 when the members of the Big Eight Conference invited four teams from Texas, who were members of the Southwest Conference at the time, to join. They agreed, and two years later, the Big 12 began to play.
In its first year, the Big 12 became just the second conference to host a championship game. Just like the SEC, the 12 teams were divided into two divisions of six teams, the North and South, with the winner of each set to compete in the title game.
The game floated around for the majority of its existence, never being held at the same stadium in consecutive years (with one exception; it took place at Arrowhead Stadium in 2003 and 2004). That was going to change starting in 2009 with a four-year run at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. But after the 2010 season, Colorado joined the Pac-12 and Nebraska joined the Big Ten.
NCAA rules did not allow conferences with fewer than 12 members to split into divisions and hold championship games, making Oklahoma’s 23-20 win over Nebraska in 2010 the final Big 12 championship game.
Oklahoma dominated the game winning it seven times and appearing in eight. Texas won in three of its five appearances, and Nebraska in two of its six. Colorado (four appearances), Kansas State (three), and Texas A&M (two) each won the game once. Missouri played in it twice but failed to win.
In 2015, the NCAA approved a rule change that allowed conferences with fewer than 12 members to begin hosting a championship game at the end of the season. They would not split into two divisions but would play a round-robin schedule with the top two teams to play in the championship game.
The conference didn’t vote in time to make the change last season, so it will begin hosting a conference title again in 2017 to be played at AT&T Stadium.
Oklahoma is considered an early favorite to win it but is expected to face tough competition this season from Oklahoma State.