I despise the BCS system, and we’ve already showed how exciting it would be to have the Pac-12 Playoffs. If commissioner Larry Scott would flip the bird to the NCAA and start his own playoff system it would impact the rest of the country and be the first step towards overthrowing the BCS.
I would love to see the Pac-12 scrap the traditional eight or nine game conference schedule and do a full round-robin with only a single non-conference game. This would eliminate the need for the conference to come up with separate divisions or figuring out complex schedule issues.
At the end of the season we would have an eight team playoff with the first two rounds being at the higher ranked team’s home field. The championship game could either rotate annually around the geography of the conference or be played at a centralized and neutral site like Las Vegas.
Since the round-robin schedule is probably unrealistic for the next couple of years, my next favorite proposal of the divisions is on Pac12cooler.com which splits the teams by the geography zipper, but also follows the visible color spectrum.
Here’s where it gets a little confusing. The conference would have two divisions (yet to be named), but within them would be three separate pods (pictured below), California (Cal, Stanford, UCLA, USC), Northwest (Oregon, OSU, Washington, WSU), Rockies (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, ASU).
Every year each team plays the other three teams within their pod, the rest of the teams in their division, and two more games from the other division, one from the two pods. Playing the teams in your pod would maintain the traditional and geographical rivalries. Pictured below is an example of Washington’s nine game schedule. The teams that they would play annually are circled, and the other games from the other pods would alternate so they never go longer than one season without playing a team.
I know that the conference is planning to have a conference championship game with the top team in the zipper divisions facing off. This has worked terribly in other conferences like the BigXII which typically has the top two teams of the conference in the same division. In the ACC and SEC it has often produced a rematch of a game earlier in the year, which doesn’t typically draw much excitement. As you can see from this image, both teams in this match up wear warm colors so wherever you see a blue it’s an empty seat.
What the conference should do is start its own playoff system. The geographical pods set it up perfectly to take the top team from the three pods and one wildcard team (the team with the next best record). Starting a four team playoff would be revolutionary in the NCAA and would take the entire country closer to a playoff system. When the conference is ready for expansion it would be easy to combine with another conference and form a six or eight team playoff. If the Pac-12 teamed up with the Big Ten (+2) here’s how it would pan out if the season ended today based on rankings.
|Northwest||#1 Oregon||#1 Ohio State|
|Rockies||#2 Utah||#2 Nebraska|
|California||#3 Stanford||#3 Michigan State|
|Wildcard||#4 Oregon State||#4 Iowa|
Here’s how the match ups would stack up
I’ll do a series to figure out how the games of the Pac-12 vs BigTen playoff would play out, but here are the early lines.
#1 Oregon vs #4 Iowa – (Ducks -13)
#1 Ohio State vs #4 Oregon State (Ohio State -7)
#2 Utah vs #3 Michigan State (Utah -3)
#2 Nebraska vs #3 Stanford (Nebraska -4.5)