Football/basketball: Building a 12-Pac

Check out our stories this morning on the Pac-10’s difficult task of determining divisional alignment when expansion arrives. The stakes are high in football, where two divisions are necessary for the league to stage a championship game. Divisions may not be necessary in basketballl and other sports, but scheduling will be just as difficult.

Pac-10 athletic directors and commissioner Larry Scott will gather in Los Angeles on Friday to begin the process.

Jeff Faraudo

  • uh oh.

    I hate Scott for throwing this problem on all of us. Was it broke? Or was it greed?

    Nonetheless, if you have to have 2 divisions for football, I sure as heck hope that they determine the division winner based upon the W-L record of “like opponents” only.

    That is, in a Division A of:
    Utah, for instance

    In determining who goes to the Championship game, start by only considering the W-L record of these 6 teams head to head (5 games only).

    If UCLA and CAL, for instance, both finish 4-1, then go to their W-L record of common opponents from the other Division. Presumably, they would both play USC and Stanford. If one team went 1-1 and the other 2-0 or 0-2, then that determines who wins the Division and advances to the championship game. If they are both 2-0, then look at head to head result.

    I would hate it if the randomness of the schedule (who you played in the other division in any given year – whether they be the weak teams or the strong teams for that season) determined who advanced.

    Doing it my way would keep it “fair”, and should allow for rivalries to be maintained without a creating W-L scheduling disadvantage. For instance, I assume that Cal-Furd-USC-UCLA will always all play each other – but that can be a tough gauntlet to run, when other teams might have, say, ASU, OSU, WSU as their opponent. It makes it harder for the Calif teams to advance, so why would they opt for that?

    Here’s my proposal of matchups. Play everyone in your zipper division, plus, from the other division:
    Cal: Furd and USC, plus 2 of remaining 4 by random.
    UCLA: Furd and USC, plus 2 of remaining 4 by random.
    OSU: OU and WSU, plus 2 of remaining 4 by random.
    WU: OU and WSU, plus 2 of remaining 4 by random.
    ASU: AU and CO, plus 2 of remaining 4 by random.
    UT: AU and CO, plus 2 of remaining 4 by random.

    One of the cool things about this zipper plan with core opponents on the other side, is that the zipper alliances could potentially switch after every 2 years.

    For instance, if Cal and UCLA are constantly killing each other for the Division champion, they may like to mix it up and be in opposite divisions after the normal rotation occurs after 2 years. So, then the grouping could be:


    and then 2 years later it could be:

    and then 2 more years later it could be:

    and all the while having the same Core opponents on the other side of the bracket which maintains:
    4 CALIF schools all play each other.
    4 Northwest schools all play each other.
    4 East schools all play each other (ASU, AU, UT, CO).

    Always 5 division games (that rotate and count for going to championship game) and always 2 CORE games from other division + 2 random games from other division = 4 games from other division that maintains conference semblance, rivalries, and decides tie breakers for division winners.

    Yes, you could have a Division winner that was 4-1 in Division, but 0-4 outside of division, but at least it would be FAIR because the other teams (who were no better than 3-2 in division, but potentially 4-0 outside of the division) had the same schedule. This would mean a team that was 4-5 could go to the champ game ahead of a team that was 7-2. Oh well… I can live with that better than advancing a cupcake schedule team ahead of someone who beat them, but lost to more difficult opponents.

  • Juancho

    Split them into two divisions, the Oregon schools, Washington schools, Cal & Stanford would be one division. Then have all teams play every other team in the conference. This means only one out of conference game per year. Then the team with the best record in each division play each other for the title.

  • For me basketball is more interesting!

  • BlueNGold

    Here is a radical notion: how about setting up 3 or 4, or some other number of, different configurations, then rotating between them on a yearly basis? That way all of the schools in the conference would be able to play all the others, even if not on a yearly basis. I don’t know if the NCAA allows this, but if the rules are an obstacle, perhaps a waiver or rule modification could be obtained to make it happen.

    The reason this might make sense is that any permanent split into divisions is going to, in effect, create 2 separate conferences, or ‘bifurcated’, as someone quoted in the BANG article said.