SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JUNE 17: PAC-10 Commissioner Larry Scott talks to the press after admitting the University of Utah into the PAC-10 June 17, 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The University of Utah was invited to join the PAC-10 for the 2011-12 athletic year. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

Pac-10 Is Leaning Toward North And South Split On Division Alignment

Pac-10 discusses scheduling, divisions, and where to host a title game when the league expands to 12 teams in 2011.

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Pac-10 Is Leaning Toward North And South Split On Division Alignment

The Pac-10 is having a tough time deciding how to divide their divisions once Utah and Colorado join the league, because the all the schools -- specifically the Northwest grouping -- want a game either in Los Angeles or one of the Los Angeles teams coming to their town.  Those games help with recruiting when on the road and help sell tickets for home games, but now those games may not be happening with the new Pac-10.  

The zipper model gained a lot of traction and would put a rival in opposite divisions and guarantee a game against a Los Angeles based team every year.  Here is what the projected zipper model would look like:

Arizona State, UCLA, Cal, Oregon, Washington and Utah in one division.

Arizona, USC, Stanford, Oregon State, WSU and Colorado in the other.

An announcement is expected to come sometime in October, but the zipper model is losing some steam and possibly being replaced with a variation of a North/South splits:

According to those same sources, the current "lean" - and that's all it is right now - is to split the league in a North/South manner with all four California schools together in the South with the Arizonas.

When I expressed mild surprise ("The Northwest schools are OK with that?"), the response I got was: Expect to see major scheduling concessions for schools in the North and perhaps even changes in the TV revenue distribution.

That would make the division look like so:

South: UCLA, USC, California, Stanford, Arizona, and Arizona State

North: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah, and Colorado

The major concessions must come in terms of scheduling with the Northwest block and assuming Utah and Colorado have no vote at this time they will be somewhat left out in the cold in regards to the Southern California market.

Other items discussed in the meeting was that a nine game conference schedule is going to happen, and that should help in getting the Northwest schools games against USC and UCLA more often.

One other item on the agenda was the location of a title game, this is going to happen but where the game is going to be played is the issue. The league is split on whether to have a guaranteed sellout and have the game played at the higher seeded campus, or take a risk and have it in a pro stadium.  A pro stadium there are only a few options out West and a chance for an ACC type crowd if the game is in Seattle, Denver, Northern California, or Southern California and no local schools in the game.

Expect all or most of these decisions done sometime in October.

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