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Pac-10 Leaning To Separating Northern And Southern California Schools

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First there was the zipper plan, the pod system, and now the latest odds on favorite for the divisions is to have a North and South split with the California schools separate and would look like this:


Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Cal, and Stanford


Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah, USC, and UCLA

This is what Utah would definitely want because this would allow them to play in Los Angeles every year and play one of those teams each year. Pac-10 guru, but sometimes whack AP voter is putting odds on what the new divisions will eventually look like.

Zipper split: 8:1

North-South split (CA schools together): 3:1.
North-South split (CA schools separated): 2:1
Comment: Get comfortable ...

As I wrote a few weeks ago, I think the Zipper - for all its merits - is on life support. There is strong support among fans and some of the athletic directors, but Scott has been wary of the Zipper from the start.

He's concerned that it would be difficult for fans to identify which schools are in which division the way nobody outside the ACC knows which teams are in the Atlantic and which are in the Coastal.

At the same time ...

Despite recent comments from sources that the "lean" was to keeping the California schools together in the South, I cannot imagine the NW schools agreeing to that ... even with a change in the revenue model ... which is why the Zipper was first proposed. That would be a disaster for them over time, especially on the recruiting front.

(I keep thinking of the comment from Nebraska AD Tom Osborne about the Big 12's "center of gravity" shifting to the South division. Texas is to the Big 12 what California is to the Pac-12.)

So on one hand you have Scott pushing for North-South and on the other you have the NW schools resisting a split along the California-Oregon border.

The only compromise - and remember, this is only for football; there won't be divisions for basketball - is to put Cal and Stanford into the North with the Oregon and Washington schools with the newcomers joining USC, UCLA and the Arizona schools in the South.

Basically, it will be easier to get the CA schools to agree to a separation than it would be to get Scott to agree to the Zipper or the NW schools to agree to total separation from California.

BUT: This only works if there are scheduling guarantees to preserve the California rivalries, which the league can accomplish with a pod scheduling model.

Wilner makes some good points, specifically with the zipper division that could make the divisions just like the ACC. Who knows who is in what division? I am a huge college football nerd and so not know the difference of divisions; all I know is that Florida State and Miami, FL are in separate divisions.

This split up might be the ultimate compromise, because the revenue split is going to be an even 1/12th split to all the members, well at least until Utah gets a full share in year three of the Pac-12. In exchange for that the the Northwest schools may not get a game in Southern California every year. 

To bring it back to a Utah perspective, they would love being in the Los Angels area every because that is area is an already important recruiting area. Being in that area will help them even more, plus the division is easier to win. This may sound like me being a homer, but Utah could be the best team in the division in year one of the Pac-12. USC still might have better talent, but they are short on scholarships and may not be motivated; Arizona is probably going to be the favorite to win that division and could be considered better then Utah, and UCLA is going to improved but they will still be inconsistent. 

The divisions should be decided by the end of this month; well maybe.

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