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Potential Divisions for An Expanded Pac-12

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This is possibly might be the last speculation post in regards to conference expansion, well until there is some tangible evidence which looks like there is with the Big 10 speeding the expansion process up (more on that later today) plus I have been sitting on this post for awhile mostly done.  This will focus on football schedules in a two division format within a potential new Pac-12.  This is assuming Utah and Colorado will be in the new league. 

The divisions will be tricky because all schools want to have one trip to southern California each year to assist in their recruiting efforts, as well as a return trip in the same time frame for season ticke sales.  The previous facts are more important to the Northwest schools, but it still holds weight with the rest of the league.  This will be difficult to accomplish for teams not in the UCLA or USC division since they would not play every year, but with the hope of playing at least one every year if they were in the same division.  That would create at least a trip to the Los Angeles area every other and then depending on the scheduling it could be every year or twice a year depending on the cross divisional games.  The best case would an every other year to southern California or attempt to create an SEC style scheduling where there is one team in the other division that plays each year.

There are two options that can be had in the divisional lineup: 1) North/South or 2) An ACC style where geography is disregarded.  The North/South would not work because it would pit Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Cal, and Stanford.  Then the southern division would be Utah, Colorado, USC, UCLA, Arizona, and Arizona State.  In a nine game non conference schedule there would be the five games in their division and then four games in a cross over which could have teams playing neither southern California team, and makes this option not happening.

The second would be a non-geographical model known as the zipper model and would look like this:

* Arizona State, UCLA, Cal, Oregon, Washington and Utah in one division.

* Arizona, USC, Stanford, Oregon State, WSU and Colorado in the other.

The nine-game conference football schedule would involve playing every team in your division, plus your natural rival, plus three teams in the other division.

This model is more like the SEC in terms that each team has a cross division rival.  At first glance this would seem odd with all the natural rivals in opposite division.  However, when you look deeper this is the best way to have each team play a school from the Los Angeles area every year and a guaranteed game in Los Angeles every year.  Then with the three other cross over games there is a chance to be in Los Angeles more then every other year.

This is the best compromise for the LA situation which should satisfy the Northwest schools get to be in LA every other year for recruiting (and possibly more).  The teams in the first mentioned division may not like it that much since they would not be guaranteed to play USC every year which could be the only potential hiccup in voting in expansion.