The 1996 Dr. Pepper Big 12 Championship Game was held on December 7, 1996 at Trans World Dome (now Edward Jones Dome) in St. Louis, Missouri. The divisional winners from the Big 12 Conference squared off in the 1st edition of the game. The Texas Longhorns represented the South Division and the Nebraska Cornhuskers represented the North Division. Texas won the contest 37–27, keyed by a daring 4th down conversion from their own 28-yard line with slightly more than 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter when the score was 30-27 in their favor.
The Big 12 Championship Game matched up the winner of the North and South divisions of the Big 12 Conference. The game was first played in 1996, when the conference was assembled to include all of the teams from the Big Eight Conference as well as four teams that had formerly been members of the Southwest Conference. The championship game was modeled on the SEC format, which was the first conference in college football to have a conference championship game.
Today, six conferences in the top-level Division I FBS hold championship games—the ACC, Big Ten, C-USA, MAC, SEC, and Pac-12. However, the Big 12 no longer holds such a game. After the 2010 season, two Big 12 members, Colorado and Nebraska, left for other conferences as part of a major wave of conference realignment. As a result, the 2010 edition of this game was the last for the foreseeable future. The 2011 season was the first for the Big Ten and Pac-12 championship games; both conferences reached the total of 12 members required for such a game during the 2010–12 realignment.