The 2011 Pac-10 Championship Game location will come under debate soon. The 2011 Pac-10 Championship Game location would come into play because Utah and Colorado joining the conference would finally give them 12 teams. The Pac-10 Conference would then become the Pac-12, get split into two divisions, and the winner of each division would play to decide which team gets an automatic spot in one of the BCS bowl games. Now the question becomes whether a fair discussion can be had as to where that Pac-12 Championship Game would be played.
According to ESPN, several cities are going to enter the discussion, including Las Vegas, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Glendale (AZ). ESPN also suggested that San Francisco, Oakland, and San Diego could enter into the fold if they decide that an NFL stadium would be a good place to host the game. Then there is the idea of simply having the highest-seeded team in the championship game hosting in their own home stadium, making it a safer bet when trying to sell tickets to the game. This is where the Pac-10 Conference needs to look closely at how the ACC and Big-12 conferences have done over the years.
In NCAA basketball, the Pac-10 has their tournaments in Los Angeles at the Staples Center. Many have raised the question about an unfair advantage given to the Los Angeles-area teams, and it is one of the points that should be given the most attention when trying to figure out where to schedule a football championship game. Is it really fair to have a team like UCLA play a team from Washington State University in downtown Los Angeles? It turns into a home game for UCLA, and unless the conference wants to declare that one team is getting a home field advantage (like the highest seed), then they need to commit do doing something different.
It would seem that the best option available to the Pac-10 Conference is to go with a city like Las Vegas. It is in a location where no team in the Pac-12 would gain a home field advantage, and it is also a location where fans wouldn’t mind traveling. Fans of someone like the Washington Huskies could enjoy a nice vacation in Vegas while taking in the game, and it is also about as central a location as you are going to get without being hosted in an unfair location. Hopefully the Pac-10 athletic directors are smart in their discussions, and they don’t just bow to what the big California schools demand.