First off, this ESPN.com story today details that Seattle is among the sites that would be considered for a Pac-12 title game. This has been long-rumored and isn’t a surprise. Essentially, as the story notes, every city on the West Coast that has a suitable stadium is on the list of possibilities. And there’s also a pessimistic note in the story that weather in Seattle could be an issue (too bad no one ever thought to have a big domed facility in our city that could handle such things and maybe even host a Final Four).
— And some of what is in that story was reported earlier today in the Eugene Register-Guard.
Specifically in that story, Oregon State athleti director Bob De Carolis said his school “prefers a ‘zipper’ approach to divide the Pac-12.”
As the story states:
His preference for dividing the league would be the so-called “zipper” plan that would put each of the league’s natural rivals in separate divisions, though rivals would still play each other every season.
De Carolis said such a plan “equalizes everybody’s opportunity to play” against the Los Angeles members of the conference, and increases the likelihood of games in Los Angeles, a fertile recruiting ground for the Beavers, at least in alternate years.
“With today’s technology, I don’t know how important it is to play a game in Los Angeles every single year” for recruits and players families, De Carolis added.
The conference office, De Carolis said, favors a North-South divisional breakup, with the four Northwest schools in with Utah and Colorado. Part of that reasoning, De Carolis said, is to make it easier for fans “to follow” the league with natural geographic divisons, though he argues that the NFL does fine with the Dallas Cowboys playing in an East division and the St. Louis Rams playing in a West.
If there are North and South divisions, De Carolis said one proposal would be “pod” scheduling where a team might not play every other team in its division. In that proposal, for instance, there would be a North Division of the Northwest schools and the two new members. The four Northwest schools would be a “pod” and always play each other, and then also play three members of the California “pod” and three members of a “pod” made up of the Arizona schools, Utah and Colorado, though those latter four schools would be in separate divisions.
One fear of the zipper, De Carolis and others have said, is the possibility that natural rivals such as Oregon and OSU, if in opposite divisions, could play on the final week of the regular season and then be in a rematch at the conference title game a week later, if they each won their division. One solution to that: mix the rivalry games throughout the season.
The story also said that:
The Pac-10 also wants teams to make sure to schedule all of their nonconference games in the first three weekends of the season in future years, though that might not be possible with USC’s commitment to play host to Notre Dame in alternate years on Thanksgiving weekend.
“Nothing has been decided,” De Carolis said. “They’re narrowing some things down, but there are still a lot of options out there.”
De Carolis predicted that “some recommendations might come forward” when the Pac-10 directors meet in early October, but the final decisions will be made by the presidents of the schools at a meeting later next month.
The divisional setup has to be decided, De Carolis said, before negotiations begin later this year with TV networks.
“They want to know what they’re bidding on,” De Carolis said.
The league will be split into divisions only for football, De Carolis said. In basketball, it will be an 18-game schedule for the men and women. The likely scenario would be to have natural rivals always play each other twice, and a school would then play six other teams twice and four teams only once, with a rotation set up from year to year.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Ted Miller has the info on Jake Locker falling a few spots on Mel Kiper’s Big Board. Miller also details all the other Pac-10 seniors and underclassmen listed. The only other Husky in either group is Erik Folk, rated as the No. 2 underclass kicker.
— Good info on USC, UW’s next opponent, in this story previewing the Trojans’ game at Washington State Saturday.
All for now.