With the Pac-16 super-conference idea dead (for now, anyways), the Pac-10 still rose from the ashes with the additions of the Utah Utes from the Mountain West and the Colorado Buffaloes from the Big 12.
The conference now has 12 teams, becoming eligible for a conference championship game. Which of course leads to the question of how the two divisions will be split up.
Larry Scott spoke Thursday evening stating that no decisions on the possible dividing of the conference will be made until the Pac-10 media day on July 29. Conference athletic directors must also decide on how many conference games will be played by each school, numbers that have been thrown around are eight or nine, with the remaining being out-of-conference games.
Commissioner Scott stated "I really want things to slow down now," adding "there's no reason to rush."
Talks have been going around about the Pac-10 possibly pushing for the 12 team conference to become effective in 2011, instead of the original date of 2012.
So waiting a little over a month to make a decision for 2012 is not rushing things? This might be a clue to the Pac-10 trying to get the 2011 start rolling.
Now let's get onto the possible divisions for the Pac-12.
The North-South Divisions
This proposed split-up has been the most popular and probably the most likely to happen.
North: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, and Cal.
South: Arizona, Arizona State, USC, UCLA, Utah, and Colorado.
False reports have gone out that this will be the division markup due to Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn "believing" it was an added promise to the move out west, making Colorado more accessible to their large alumni base in southern California. Larry Scott has since said that this was not a part of the contract bringing Colorado to the conference.
This would please the south division, keeping their yearly ties with Southern California.
On the other hand, there would be debate among the north teams. While getting either three or four out-of-division games, the focus would be on when they get to play USC due to Trojan visiting trips often producing sell out crowds.
The ESPN East-West Divisions
This is an alternative division plan as stated by ESPN. The title does not necessarily fit the actual breakup of teams, as it should actually be called the "Solving the LA problem" divisions.
East: Washington State, USC, Stanford, Arizona, Oregon and Colorado.
West: UCLA, Washington, Cal, Oregon State, Utah, and Arizona State.
This would solve the dilemma of certain teams not having access to LA teams. Both divisions would make a trip to southern California every other year, plus however many times the other LA school is fit into the school's conference rotation.
Traditional rivalries would still be maintained in the conference schedule every season. Although, since every rivalry is split between divisions, it could take the appeal away from the game since it does not count towards division play.
The teams in the east-west divisions can likely be swapped in and out, while still keeping each LA school in each division.
The North-South division play-out is likely the most logical. Both on a regional scale, and in terms of schools still being able to travel together.
As Larry Scott continues to say that things are still uncertain regarding the divisions of the Pac-12, he gave one hint to a Utah blogger for the Salt Lake City Tribune that Utah and Colorado will be travel partners. It is in the "DNA of the Pac-10," he says. "There were five natural traveling partners, and now there will be six."
This statement from commissioner Scott is most definitely leaning towards the North-South idea, one where Utah and Colorado are both in the same division.
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