October 13, 2010

PAC-10 realignment hinges on compromise

The soon to be PAC-12 has many issues facing the new conference, but none is probably as crucial to get settled as the division alignment.

And of course nothing is easy when it comes to getting the approval of 12.

The California schools all want to stay together while the Northwest schools want guaranteed games in California state to help with recruiting.
According to ESPN.com’s Andy Katz, the plan favored by the conference will feature Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State in a North Division, along with California and Stanford.

The South Division will include Arizona, Arizona State, USC, UCLA and the two new additions, Colorado and Utah.

The other plan that hasn't gotten as much attention is being called the "zipper." This would split the conference East and West and divide every rivalry.

I like the first division setup more than the "zipper" for the simple fact that rivalries are better within divisions than just for bragging rights. One thing that the PAC-10 always had was geographical rivalries within the conference. Each school had a rival within their own state. And of course the two Los Angeles schools had their rivalry with the two Northern California schools having theirs.

Now add in Utah and Colorado and you still have a rivalry because those two teams will always be the "new guys" in the conference. At least until it expands again. So for now they'll compete for the best of the new teams instead of having their rivalry interstate.

The public will know soon enough how the divisions will be as the PAC-10 school presidents and athletic directors, plus those from Colorado and Utah, will meet Oct. 21 to unveil the 12-team alignment.

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