The Pac-10 conference, which will become the Pac-12 in 2011, has announced their new divisions and their Championship Game format/site.
The new divisions in the Pac-12 will be called the North and South. The North Division will include California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington and Washington State. The South Division includes Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA, USC, and Utah in the South.
From the Pac-10:
Each school will play five divisional games, and four cross-divisional games each year. To preserve all of the historic rivalries, including those among the California schools, the new scheduling format locks in annual inter-divisional games between the Northern and Southern California teams, that date back to the 1930s.
The traditional rivalries like Oregon-Oregon State (113 meetings), Cal-Stanford (112), Washington-Washington State (102), Arizona-Arizona State (83) and UCLA-USC (79) will continue to be played at the end of each season. Not to be lost, USC has played Stanford (98 times) and Cal (89) more than it has faced cross town rival UCLA (79). Meanwhile USC, Cal and Stanford tie as UCLA’s most frequent opponent at 79 meetings apiece. The divisions were formed based on the combination of rivalries, location and competitive balance.
The Pac-10 also announced their format for the Championship Game that begins in December 2011. The game will be played at the home stadium of the team with the best overall record in the conference. In the event of a tie, the higher ranked team in the BCS standings will host the game.
It’s a little surprising that the future Pac-12 decided to go with this format, rather than the neutral site model that the ACC, Big 12 and SEC use. But the primary reason they decided to go this way is attendance. The game is sure to be a sellout.
The Big 12 and SEC have had a lot of success with the neutral site model, but not the ACC. The ACC has consistently struggled to sell out their Championship Game, possibly due to the wide footprint of the conference.
With the addition of Colorado and Utah, the future Pac-12 will have a wider footprint than they currently do and this may help ensure that the seats are filled.