When the Pac-12 changed the format of its championship football game, everyone in the conference knew that a new programming framework would be needed to lead the conference for the next few years.
It’s too late for 2022, but in 2023 the Pac-12 will have a new programming model to go along with the official abolition of divisions. Those splits are still in place for 2022, but they mean nothing beyond shaping the architecture of the conference’s nine-game schedule. In 2023, the divisions will be removed and the all new schedule structure will be in place.
Jon Wilner of the Wilner Hotline has more details.
“We are working on several models,” commissioner George Kliavkoff told the Hotline during a wide-ranging interview. “On football media day we will probably announce how we plan to plan.”
The divisional format has provided a backbone to the nine-game conference schedule since the expansion in 2011, with teams playing each of their five divisional opponents each year and rotating through the other six at varying intervals.
But the need to weight schedules by division affiliation disappeared last month when the Pac-12 announced that teams with the best winning percentage in conference games — not division winners — would meet for the championship from the 2022 season.
“For me, divisions have three meanings,” Kliavkoff said.
“One is how they decide who plays in your league game, and we’ve already solved that with the change we’ve announced.
“Second, they can determine how you plan.
“Three, they reflect how you report results.
“For me, the way you report the results – whether it’s two divisions or a single group of 12 teams – is the least important.”
(As of now, the Pac-12 has not announced any changes to the visual play: how results are reported and the format seen by fans when viewing the leaderboard this fall.)
All decisions involving the model of football should be considered temporary.
What serves the conference best in the past four-team college football playoff years may not work once the CFP expands to 12 teams in the 2026 season.
As with the new championship game determination process, any adjustment to the schedule is essentially a bridge to ’26.