I somehow missed this back in November—or I was paying too much attention to current games to care—but I’ve been looking at the divisional alignments and schedules, and I disagree with putting Colorado and Utah in the South.
There is a wrinkle to this that makes it more digestible to the California teams, since with Colorado in Utah in the South, Cal and Stanford were placed in the North. That wrinkle is that both USC and UCLA will continue to play Cal and Stanford annually.
By the way, the scheduling format chosen continues the 9-game Pac-10 schedule, so of course every team in a division plays one another (5 divisional games per team), and every team also plays 4 non-divisional opponents. So for the California teams, it will be the divisional opponents, two non-divisional California opponents, and two other non-divisional opponents. I’ll call this the California rule.
But apparently the teams want a 9-game schedule. It has served the Pac-10 well with schedule ratings (not always easy to schedule an opponent of a quality conference when they’re all so far away…and now there are two fewer non-conference options in the West), so I can’t say it’s a bad thing for the conference, although the unfairness will continue to bother me. Anyway, my proposal assumes that there will be a 9-game schedule. I don’t think there is much point in talking about what would or should happen under an 8-game schedule.
You might say, “Why bother arguing about it at all? This is the way it is.” The SEC saw after a few years that its initial approach (which was two permanent rivals, meaning 7/8 of the schedule was the same teams every year) didn’t work very well, so it changed the scheduling rules. It did not change the divisional alignment, but in this case, the divisional change if done within a few years would not be that traumatic, since the California teams will all play each other, so that wouldn’t be a problem, and the Mountain teams are new to the conference anyway. There isn’t an alignment that just jumps out as inherently logical here, as there is in the SEC and as there was in the Big XII. The ACC, whose alignment I can’t remember, could still realign, and I don’t think it would upset many people.
I understand the respect for tradition underlying the California rule, but it will cause some problems. This would mean that there would be more games between the Arizona teams (shorthand for Arizona and Arizona St.) and the Northwest teams (shorthand for Oregon, Oregon St., Washington, and Washington St.). One of the benefits of expansion is that there will be fewer such games. Either way there will be fewer Arizona—Northwest games than there were before, but enough travel has necessarily been included due to the selection of Utah and Colorado (I’ll call them the Mountain teams) that the Arizona—Northwest trips should be minimized. I don’t think the Northwest teams even need to play an Arizona team every year, but that was the only way I could see how to get my overall scheme to work, and you have to fill out nine games somehow.
Continue reading... (also note the skipped paragraph above)