Colorado football is joining the Pac-10 in 2011, bumping up the timetable. With Colorado joining the Pac-10 in 2011, it means that the Pac-10 will suddenly have 12 teams in the conference next year. It had long been thought that Colorado would be coming to the Pac-10 in 2012, but now, according to ESPN, lawyers are finalizing a deal that would move them next year. This is great news for the Pac-10 Conference, as it will bump them up to 12 schools, and allow for a conference championship game in football if they want to ask the NCAA for it.
In addition to the University of Colorado coming to the Pac-10, the University of Utah will also be joining them, leaving their Mountain West Conference behind for the chance at greener pastures in the Pac-10. The new name of the conference will become the Pac-12 as early as next season, and it will give the conference a chance to split in two in order to set up a championship game that has been a great draw for some of the other large conferences. The Pac-10 already controls an automatic slot into a BCS bowl, but that school could now be decided in the championship game each year.
The Pac-10 expansion is taking place a bit more quickly than anticipated, and it will definitely lead to a shift in the scheduling. Right now the Pac-10 is one of the few conferences where every team plays every other team during the season. Moving to 12 teams won’t really make that possible anymore, and sets up an interesting discussion about how many games each school will play. It is very likely that the conference will be split into two divisions of six teams each, meaning at least those first five games are guaranteed. How many more games against the other division could range from two to six, all depending on the discussions that the schools have this next offseason.
The Pac-10 Conference is about to look a lot different, and hopefully Colorado can get a deal done with the Big-12 in order to get the move done and behind them. Most of college football is probably tired of hearing about “impending moves” that schools are going to make, and it is more logical to just get it done and move on quickly. How the divisions will be split up has probably already been decided by the Pac-10, but they haven’t released exactly how it will look. In addition to Colorado and Utah, there are two Washington teams, two Oregon teams, two Arizona teams, and four teams in California, so any way they decide to do it could make the divisions look odd in the end.