As two new 12-team conferences take shape (Utah to the Pac-10 was official Wednesday), the question of the day is: What will the divisions look like?
(The real question is what’s going to happen to the names. Big Ten, Pac-10 and Big 12 better be doing some swapping right about now. But I digress.)
The Pac-10 may settle on a North-South alignment fairly quickly. Various reports indicate part of Colorado’s inclusion was to be placed with the Southern California schools (something about a large alumni base in SoCal, but I’d guess recruiting was equally important), so it’ll dictate 6-team divisions along these lines.
Washington St. UCLA
Oregon State Arizona State
That alignment figures to hurt the north a bit in terms of recruiting and could set up a scenario where one team ends up dominating the north (Oregon in football, Washington in hoops), while the south would be a little more competitive. But that’s at first glance.
Hoops-wise, are divisions even necessary? Would it make more sense to treat schedules like the Big East and vary which teams you play twice every season (not counting your natural rival, of course.) Most of this applies to football.
Maybe the Pac-10 should try a different approach.
A more interesting division breakdown was proposed by Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News: Treat ’em like a zipper, That is, place natural rivals (UCLA-USC, Oregon-Oregon State) in separate divisions. Rivals would be guaranteed to play each other once a year, and go from there.
Such as: Arizona, USC, Stanford, Oregon State, Washington State and Colorado in one division; Arizona State, UCLA, Cal, Oregon, Washington and Utah in the other.
It’s hard to see that proposal catching on – I like the idea of rivals always playing each other and not having geography dictate everything, but what about bragging rights in the standings? – but it’s not a bad start.
Now, about that name…
Mike Miller’s also on Twitter, usually talkin’ hoops.