September 22, 2010
Utah is in. As of Tuesday night, Colorado makes an even dozen. The lineup is set. Now, the Pac-10 only needs to figure out a few of the logistics of its upcoming transition to the Pac-12 – beginning with how and particularly where to to stage the first championship game in 2011:
Glendale, Ariz., Los Angeles, Seattle and Las Vegas are among sites being discussed as Pac-10 title game locations, sources said Wednesday.
Other sites that could be suggested are San Francisco, Oakland and San Diego. The game could also be played at the campus of the highest-seeded team, but this is a concern given the geography of the conference.
The ACC has been hurt by poor attendance when the participants were not conveniently located near the site of the championship game. Las Vegas would be considered because of its centralized location and attractiveness as a destination, though stadium size would be a concern.
The ACC has also been hurt by the fact that its teams haven't been very good on a national level (of the ten outfits to play in the championship game, only Virginia Tech in 2005 and 2007 came into it ranked in the Associated Press top 10) and haven't once had the BCS championship stakes on the line that they routinely play for in the Big 12 and SEC. That may or may not be a problem for the Pac-10/12 next year, depending on whether Oregon (or perhaps Stanford, with a potentially frightening lineup coming back) can stick as a national contender in place of USC: The terms of the Trojans' NCAA probation bar them from the inaugural title game, no matter what happens in the regular season. It's too bad, really, because their L.A. fans were looking forward to an excuse to get up to Seattle in December.
The other burning question under the "Pac-12: How Does It Work?" heading (besides the expansion and distribution of television money, of course) is how to split up the divisions. The San Jose Mercury News' Jon Wilner still envisions a North-South split with all four California schools joining the Arizona schools in the South, the new additions joining the Oregon/Washington quartet in the North and a pod-tastic compromise in the scheduling format to ensure the northern schools aren't frozen out of their regular forays into the rich recruiting grounds of Southern California. As everybody's logo gets air time in L.A., the suits can do whatever they have to do.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.