If the Pac-16 Occurs, How Would Scheduling Look?


There is still a lot of uncertainty about this whole mega-conference expansion talk. Does Texas want to come to the Pac-12 or not? Would they dare risk going independent? There’s even a rumor that Texas is talking to the ACC!  Does the Pac-12 even want to expand (apparently not, if they can avoid it)?  Would the Pac-12 take Oklahoma and Oklahoma State even without Texas coming (I sure hope not)? Can Baylor save the Big 12 by preventing Texas A&M from joining the SEC (maybe that is everyone’s saving grace in this crazy world)?

However, beyond the bragging rights and TV contracts, from the perspective of a Pac-12 fan in general, and Washington Husky fan in particular, the biggest question is what impact would expansion have on scheduling for football and basketball?

For football, it seems like it would be pretty straight-forward. The conference would split into two divisions of eight teams with one essentially being the original Pac-8 schools, but would probably be called something like the “West” division or maybe “Pacific” division. The other division would consist of the Arizona schools, plus the newest additions. It would likely be called the “East” division. Not sure they would want to use “Mountain” since that connotes the MWC, although “Desert” division wouldn’t be too far off.

Washington StateArizona State
Oregon StateColorado
UCLAOklahoma State
USCTexas Tech?

Anyways, for football teams would play everyone in their division once (total of 7 games) and two games against the other division. That would result in a total of 9 conference games, the same as they currently play. It also sets up a very nice even rotation schedule in which you would play each team from the other division once every 4 years, while hosting them once every 8 years. So, imagine every eighth year having Texas or Oklahoma come to your stadium.

As for the conference championship game, I can almost guaruntee you that it’ll go to a “neutral” site at that point. I suspect you may see a rotation between Cowboys Stadium in Arlington and one in Los Angeles, with that new stadium they are proposing being the site once built.

In basketball, there appears to be three possible scheduling scenarios. The first, which I think is least likely would be to have the same divisions as football. You would play every team in your division twice and every team in the other division once. That would result in a 22 game conference schedule. While it would increase the level of competition and the number of marquee match-ups, I doubt the schools would want to go to that many games and give up 4 of the easy non-conference gimme games each team plays currently.

Washington StateArizona State
Oregon StateColorado
CaliforniaRed River
StanfordOklahoma State
CalTexas Tech?

The 2nd, and what I consider most likely scenario, would be to create 4 pods of four teams, in which you play every team in the pod home-and-home. Then you would play each of the other 12 teams once. In that scenario, you would end up playing 18 games (the same as is currently played). In this scenario, you would still play every team at home (outside your division or pod) every other year. But, it is fewer trips to Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and Arizona for Husky fans. I think the pods would just be for scheduling and wouldn’t appear in the standings. It would still be considered a “single table”.

Lastly, they could go with a model where you play everyone once, except your in-state rival who you would play home-and-home. In that scenario, you would actually drop to just 16 conference games. I don’t think this one makes a lot of sense for many reasons, but it would add two more non-conference games, which might result in more revenue and more flexibility in scheduling marquee games out of conference.