Pac-12 Division Alignment
Many eyes have been on the Pac-12 divisional future. And it’s clear: it’s all about the money. Barring any last second lobbying, it looks like we’ll have a North-South split…and a California split:
North: Washington, Washington St., Oregon, Oregon St., California, Stanford
South: Colorado, Utah, UCLA, USC, Arizona, Arizona St.
At stake will be a future in which all 4 California schools, 1/2 of the original Pac-8, and if these 4 schools will continue to play each other every year in football, something that has happened every year since 1930.
Meanwhile, the 4 newest schools (Utah, Colorado, Arizona St., and Arizona) come out as clear winners. It appears that these 4 schools will be able to align with the coveted Los Angeles schools, knowing that they will have 1-2 trips to LA every year. Meanwhile, there exists a chance that the Bay Area schools might not play both Los Angeles schools each year.
The Pac-12 ADs needed a simple majority vote to approve their recommendations to the Pac-12 voting presidents/CEOs. But the final vote will require a 75% approval or 9 of 12. So there still remains a chance that the California schools will be able to change some minds. Because if all 4 California schools vote against the proposed split, we’ll be at another impasse.
But whatever the final decision is, it’s clear it’s all about money.
All 10 schools outside of Los Angeles want to be in a division with an LA school. A proposed “zipper split” in which 1 school from each region would be in another division is losing steam due to how difficult it would be to manage.
Sacrifices will need to be made, but right now, it’s clear that the Los Angeles schools will be making the largest sacrifice along with the Bay Area schools. The Pacific Northwest schools in Oregon and Washington are making the next largest sacrifice as they have had traditional rivalries with all 4 California schools. The winners are newbies Utah and Colorado, along with Arizona and ASU, who look like they’ll be tied in with the coveted LA schools.
Meanwhile, it seems that the old adage of “what’s good for Schools X & Y is good for the conference” is no longer a factor.
The Pac-12 could go with a traditional split:
North: take the 6 schools most commonly associated with the region…
Washington, WSU, Oregon, OSU, Utah and Colorado
South: the 4 California schools along with the 2 Arizona schools
Arizona, ASU, UCLA, USC, Cal, Stanford
But instead it appears we’ll have something aimed to make the most money for the conference members…which will require robbing the California schools to fund the non-California schools.
Democracy in action.
We’ll have the final decision perhaps by Thursday.