October 21, 2010
Many applauded the way the conference dealt with its football alignment, scheduling and conference championship, but let us take a minute to look at how hoops was handled.
The Pac-12 (was today the official switch? Are we no longer referring to this conglomerate as the Pac-10?) brass decided that, while football would have to be split into two groups to make way for a conference championship game, basketball will remain as one. There will now be revenue sharing among all members, too, with mild exceptions/benefits for media-market-heavy USC and UCLA.
The AP's story focuses primarily on football, while tagging the b-ball nugget at the end:
There will be no divisions in other sports. In basketball, instead of playing a home-and-home round robin, teams will play their traditional rival twice each season. They will also play six other teams in a home-and-home each season with one game against the other four teams. Those will rotate to guarantee an even distribution of games. Utah and Colorado will be considered rivals for that purpose.
Ah, that Utah-Colorado rivalry we all (don't know) and (don't) love! But still, the 18-game schedule is what the Pac-10 did before, and any more than that is too much to schedule around. So no more true round robin, which is too bad, but when football calls the shots, you have to make due.
Given the expansion, the Pac-12 made good for basketball in that they didn't really screw anything up. (When that's the expectation level, you know the status quo for these kinds of proceedings.) My pipe dream? Make the conference tournament competitive and create urgency: only let the top eight teams in.