(Authors note: Ted Miller has a good post about this same topic in his blog on espn also.)
Dan did a nice job of summing up the possibility of the Pac-10 expanding to the Pac-12. I am not a big fan of this idea because I don’t think the teams that could be added don’t bring a lot to the conference and I don’t like what this could to conferencing scheduling. But I think there could be a way to make me like this move more.
I had thought that if there was an expansion then the pac-10 would split into two divisions, north and south. Competing in the south division would be USC, UCLA, Arizona, ASU, Cal, and Stanford (Cal and Stanford could be in the north). That makes for a north division of Colorado, Utah, Oregon, OSU, WSU and UW. If this were to happen the dawgs would play the 5 teams in their division every year. They would then cycle through the teams in the south, playing 3 or 4 of those teams in one season. If this were to happen the north division would miss out on recruiting. Oregon and UW, who recruit southern California actively, would miss out on playing USC and UCLA some years and thus, would miss out on the exposure those games bring.
But what if the expansion was set up differently? Lets forget about the north and south divisions and set them up differently:
Division 1: Arizona, USC, Cal, Oregon State, WSU, and Colorado.
Division 2: Arizona State, UCLA, Stanford, Oregon, UW, and Utah.
Each team would play their whole division, that sets up 5 games. Then all the natural rivals (UW vs. WSU, UO vs. OSU, etc.) would play every year. That leaves two games to cycle through teams in the other division. I say 2 because then the pac has a chance to load up on non-conference games and has a better opportunity to make it to bowl games (like the SEC does now). The conference would have to set up these divisions correctly; having rivals like Oregon and UW in the same division would be vital. The winners of the division would go on to play in the conference championship game with an automatic BCS bid to the Rose Bowl at stake. Like Dan said, the expansion would increase the chance of having multiple pac-10 teams in BCS bowls.
I don’t know how serious the talk of this expansion is. It might be as serious as they let on but it could also be to take the attention off of the penalties that are about to come down on USC. If it does happen I hope the commissioner realizes that north-south divisions would hurt several teams in the pac.
Andrew (Go dawgs, time for a road win!)