The Pac-12 only started playing a conference championship game in 2011. Since its institution, it has been unique among power conferences for an easy-to-see reason: Unlike the others, which have taken place on a neutral field, it has been played at one of the participants' home stadiums.
That will no longer be the case in 2014, as the league announced that it will start holding its title game at Levi's Stadium in San Francisco, home of the 49ers:
According to a joint report from SI.com, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott confirmed "discussions" were going on before Yam broke the news but wouldn't confirm it for sure. The report also explains some of the logistical problems with the previous model, which ostensibly helped foster this change:
The league found difficulties for schools hosting the game on short notice. Ticket sales were rushed, and athletic directors voiced concerns about potential issues with luxury boxes and season tickets holders needing to be moved to make room for corporate entities. With a game branded in one city -- just like the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta -- the league can sell tickets to the event year-round, not exclusively as a game tied to two specific schools.
The Big 12 only has 10 members and does not play a championship game, but this new model falls more in line with the three power conferences that do: the ACC, Big Ten and SEC.
All three of those leagues don't use just any neutral field but an NFL stadium for their respective title games.
The ACC Championship Game is played in Bank of America Stadium (Carolina Panthers), the Big Ten Championship Game is played in Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis Colts) and the SEC Championship Game is played in the Georgia Dome (Atlanta Falcons).
Now the Pac-12 can join the club—and in style. Levi's Stadium is brand new and considered one of the most modern football stadiums in the country. Even though some, such B/R's Ben Kercheval, were fans of the home-field championship game model, it is hard to argue with the Pac-12's choice of venue:
We'll keep you updated if/when this becomes official.
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT.