Pac-10 Expansion: Some Questions for the Future of the Conference

David HedlindAnalyst IIJune 7, 2010

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 04:  Quarterback Matt Leinart #11 of the USC Trojans is sacked by Frank Okam #97 of the Texas Longhorns during the second quarter of the BCS National Championship Rose Bowl Game at the Rose Bowl on January 4, 2006 in Pasadena, California.   Texas defeated USC 41-38.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

With the OK to move forward on expansion, commissioner Larry Scott now has more on his plate than maybe he was expecting this quickly.

At this point, if you are reading this, you have likely already heard most of the potential scenarios for what could happen with the Pac-10.

Anything from nothing changing to adding half of the Big 12 or even all of it in one big two-conference merger have all been floated as rumors for expansion.

Lets talk about these different scenarios to get started.


Leave It

So maybe nothing happens and the conferences stay the same, and we all go about watching college football as it is.

Another side of this is the Pac-10 petitions the NCAA to allow the conference to stay at 10 but still have a conference championship game. Who knows if they would okay it?


Add Two

The longest running rumor was interest in two schools to get to 12 in order to go along with NCAA current rules on having a conference championship game.

This is still possible, but with the other rumors showing that the Pac-10 is willing to make bold moves, the previously rumored Utah and Colorado may not be the only pair the conference is looking at. In fact, just add all the other schools from the Pac-10 and assume any two could be approached.


Add Six

The original proposal was Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Colorado. However, Colorado may be on a chopping block in the scenario. The Texas Legislature may push for Baylor to be a part of the deal.


Full Merger

I have also heard that the two conferences would join forces and be a 22-school grouping of some sort. Of all the scenarios, I see this as the least likely. I really don’t have much opinion on it.


I don’t have anything to add for leaving things because that would need nothing more to say.

Adding two teams would make the conference like the others. All that would really have to change, I would think, is some of the scheduling, such as going to eight conference games from the current nine, and even that isn’t a necessity.

Like I said, I really have no opinions on merging.

The rest of this is going to be about the add six teams scenario.


We already have heard money is a big factor, if not the biggest factor in all this. There are going to be some other things and perhaps some compromises to be made in order to get full approval.

If Texas Legislature says take Baylor or you get nothing, I think in order to get the big dogs such as Texas, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M, the Pac 10 may have to take the runt as well.

From a football standpoint only do I refer to them as a runt, though. If you look deeper at Baylor sports, they actually will fit right in with the conference of champions.

I have another idea for Oklahoma. Promise them that if they come, at least the first time that Oregon comes up as a road game, it will be played at a neutral site. Even let them pick where.

I really don’t think I need to go into detail about this.

Oregon fans might not agree, but they may need to take one for the team on this one to make it happen.


Name and Divisions

What do you call this conference? Pac-16 has been the common name used to talk about this, but I don’t see it. I don’t think Pacific when I think of Texas or Oklahoma or any of those other schools.

Other ideas I have heard include:

Big Pac

Wild West

Big or Great West

South Pacific

To be honest, I don’t know what the name should be.

As for divisions, the consensus has pretty much been that the six Big 12 schools would be joined by Arizona and Arizona State, while the remaining Pac-10 schools would stay together.

I don’t know about Big Pac for a conference name, but I like Big 8 and Pac 8 for divisions, more so than simply East and West.



The current Pac-10 schedules include all nine of the other conference schools. This is obviously going to change.

It is pretty safe to expect that each team will play all the other teams in their division. What about the other side of the conference though?

I say play two teams from the other division, one home and one away.

There are a couple ways to do that. One way is to just set it up as two years play the same two teams and flip the home and away between the two years.

Another way is to rotate a team in and one out each year.

For example, in 2011 a Pac school plays Oklahoma and at Oklahoma State. In 2012 they play Texas and at Oklahoma. In 2013 they play Texas Tech and at Texas. For 2014 they play Texas A&M and at Texas Tech.


Championship Game

Where do you play it?

With all the new markets, it could be almost anywhere in the western half of the nation. Texas, Arizona, and California would present the most logical places.

There is the option of rotating the game among different sites as well.

I think the final option, and the least likely, would be to play it in the home stadium of the highest rated team playing in it. I am not sure how teams from Texas would feel going to the Northwest for a game in early December for a game.



Bowls seem to change partners faster than Tiger Woods, but for the purposes of this we will simply mash up the conference affiliations of the Big 12 and Pac 10.

The Rose Bowl would have to stay and go to the champion. It would stand to reason that the runner-up would be BCS bowl eligible, but I say leave that one up to chance. I doubt the Fiesta Bowl would agree to take on the runner-up every season.

The Cotton Bowl would be the best for the next selection, followed by the Alamo and Holiday, although since the Pac-10 and Big 12 play each other in these bowls, new partnerships would have to be found.

The Alamo should try for another SEC school to bring the matchups to two.

The Holiday being out west will likely go to the champion of the new Mountain West. It would be an upgrade from their current Vegas Bowl deal, although still playing what equates to the sixth place team from the Pac-10/Big 12.

The Sun Bowl, I would think, is next as it is a current Pac-10 bowl in Texas. It is currently scheduled with the ACC.

Insight, Texas, and Vegas Bowls would have to be next. After that the Yankee and Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and Dallas Classic.

That pretty much is all the bowls, but with 16 teams I don’t know how many will actually be needed. This is at least a presumed order of selection though.


Dominant Division

This could happen, but I don’t think it will. I believe that the divisions would be fairly equal.

Some believe that with Oklahoma and Texas in the East/Big 8 division they would dominate in the championship game. A look at the numbers, though, would show that the West/Pac 8 teams have done well against these schools in recent years, and I mean more than just USC.

Now we wait. See what happens. See if invitations are issued and who accepts and who declines. In the end I may have just spent hours working on a piece that is for naught.

Should be an interesting next couple of weeks.


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