Posts Tagged ‘Pac-10’

How I Would Reorganize College Football…… Part IV: West of the Mississippi

In College Football, Realignment on October 27, 2011 at 3:42 PM

Earlier Entries to Series:
Part I: Intro
Part II: SEC/Southern Conference
Part III: Big East/ACC Recombination and Big Ten+2+4

Only a few teams I’ve placed previously are West of the Mississippi: Arkansas and Texas A&M of the SEC (or soon-to-be); and Minnesota (which is actually on both side of the river), Nebraska, and Iowa of the Big Ten (+6). If you were wondering, LSU is entirely on the East Bank of the Mississippi.

Big 8/SWC Revival

Geographical notes out of the way, the more central part of the West seems the most problematic lately. Colorado has become a far-eastern outgrowth of the former Pac-10. Nebraska and Texas A&M, as mentioned, have been lost to the so-called Big Ten and SEC, respectively. There seem to be new rumors of defections and expansions every week. I don’t know if my proposal would make everyone happy, but I think it would work.

As before, there is one division on the left, one on the right…North and South work, could also be Midwest and Southwest or something of that nature. They’re lined up so that proposed annual opponents share the same line.

Colorado-Texas Tech
Oklahoma St.-Tulsa
Air Force-TCU
Iowa St.-Rice
Kansas St.-Baylor

This is the easiest solution for the West-Middle (to distinguish from Midwest and Far West). Colorado could conceivably be replaced by BYU though. But since we’re talking about what my ideal would be, I’ll just concentrate on what I’m putting up there. The Northern Division is the Big 8, replacing Nebraska with Air Force to give Colorado a more local rival. There is also national interest in Air Force, and part of my idea would be to set it up in such a way that more out of place teams like that would want to be in the newly created set-up. I think pairing Colorado with the West Texas team is more helpful to both than the alternating home-and-homes of the Big XII.

The Southern Division is 7 Southwest Conference teams plus Tulsa. Rice might be a stretch to have in a major conference, but I think their history justifies inclusion in the top 80 to start with. There is no better place to go either to the West or to the East. I think it would make sense to see who does well in the lower divisions and have that make the decision though, even assuming Rice would eventually get demoted. Just some of the teams that would make sense if they were to get promoted from the bottom 40 grouping: La. Tech, Tulane, ULL, ULM, Arkansas St., Memphis, North Texas, New Mexico, New Mexico St., UTEP, Colorado St.

As far as the other permanent rivalries, Oklahoma-Texas is a given, and Oklahoma St.-Tulsa is obvious. Air Force-TCU would be a good MWC holdover. There is no real logic for the other 4 sets of permanent opponents. Missouri-SMU aren’t that far away from one another. I believe that trying to have a selection of teams close to one another is worth adding a little bit to the distance in the other “rivalries”. For example, Oklahoma St.-SMU and Tulsa-Missouri might be less combined travel distance, but I think Oklahoma St.-Tulsa is just more likely to catch on for obvious reasons.

Western/Pacific Conference

I continued to follow the North-South model for my first draft of the Far West/Pac-whatever group, with the Arizona-New Mexico and Colorado-Utah border as the basic dividing line. I had mentioned I didn’t like California teams being place in the North. So this is the first draft.

UCLA-Washington St.
Stanford-Oregon St.
San Diego St.-Boise St.
Arizona St.-Utah

As recent BCS teams that don’t fit elsewhere, Boise St. and Hawaii are sort of obvious as additions. A lot of Pac-10 teams played Hawaii anyway. Boise St. is a natural rival of the Pacific Northwest teams (and in their short history have played at least one of them fairly regularly). BYU has history as well as strong academics. San Diego is an under-utilized market. That was more about potential than how great of a program San Diego St. is right now, although it has been improving.

BYU-Arizona is a classic WAC rivalry, although I don’t remember Arizona being in the WAC. I thought Utah-Arizona St. made a good rivalry between big city teams that happen to be almost at the same line of longitude. I wasn’t completely insensitive to television markets. Washingon-USC seemed like it worked as well. Nevada-Hawaii is another traditional WAC rivalry. Nevada would also be the closest Northern team to Hawaii. Reno might even have direct flights. It seems like there has been more of a rivalry between Cal and Oregon at least until the last couple of seasons. Maybe Oregon and Oregon St. could be switched though.

Then I had another idea. What if I took more of the model from the Western-Middle/Big XII grouping? So why not just make it traditional and leave the former Pac-8 together. San Diego St. and Hawaii would be more out of place, but it might work. The names of the divisions could refer to the conferences from which the teams are taken, such as Pacific and Western divisions. They’re also vague enough titles that it wouldn’t be weird. Hawaii would seem silly in an Eastern or even Southeastern division.

UCLA-San Diego St.
Washington-Arizona St.
Washington St.-Arizona
Oregon St.-Boise St.

USC-Hawaii and Oregon St.-Boise St. have been playing one another with some regularity anyway. Cal-BYU might work. Mormons vs. Hippies. People talked about BYU being relatively incompatible with the former Pac-10, but I thought they could just embrace it. Stanford-BYU might not be bad either, with the private-school, named-after-rich-guy thing. Nevada would be a good permanent opponent for a Bay Area team since it’s basically the closest point in Nevada to the Bay Area. I went for another big-city nexus with Washington-Arizona St. They’re both NFC West cities, so there could be some carry-over from the NFL in getting fans excited. Oregon-Utah seems reasonable since I decided to pair Nevada and Boise St. with other teams. Also (if you count Portland anyway) quasi-big markets, big enough to support NBA teams (both in the same division as well). UCLA and San Diego St. both play in major stadiums in Southern California and are more populist teams. I think that would work well. I sense there might be less complaining by the more traditional Pac-10 fans in this format overall. The non-research-oriented WAC/Mountain riff-raff would be in the other division, so they wouldn’t feel as violated.

I have one more of these to do. Next time, I’m just going to talk about how I would organize the bottom-40 teams.


Pac-12 Gets It Wrong

In College Football on June 27, 2011 at 5:44 AM

I somehow missed this back in November—or I was paying too much attention to current games to care—but I’ve been looking at the divisional alignments and schedules, and I disagree with putting Colorado and Utah in the South.

There is a wrinkle to this that makes it more digestible to the California teams, since with Colorado in Utah in the South, Cal and Stanford were placed in the North. That wrinkle is that both USC and UCLA will continue to play Cal and Stanford annually.

By the way, the scheduling format chosen continues the 9-game Pac-10 schedule, so of course every team in a division plays one another (5 divisional games per team), and every team also plays 4 non-divisional opponents. So for the California teams, it will be the divisional opponents, two non-divisional California opponents, and two other non-divisional opponents. I’ll call this the California rule.

To get some grumbling out of the way, I really don’t think this approach is fair because not only does 9 games mean some teams will get an extra home game, but there is greater potential disparity between non-divisional schedules this way. Consider this scenario. Team A and Team B are in the North, which is relatively weak. Team A beats every team in the North, including Team B. But Team A loses twice against the South, possibly against the two best teams in the conference and possibly against teams that Team B does not have to face. Despite the loss to Team A, Team B would still win the division by being undefeated outside of the division. Of course, a similar scenario can take place with an 8-game schedule, but it’s less likely that one team in this scenario would be 1-2 and the other 3-0 against the other division. That’s 33% versus 100% in the 8-game schedule rather than 50% versus 100% in the 9-game schedule.

But apparently the teams want a 9-game schedule. It has served the Pac-10 well with schedule ratings (not always easy to schedule an opponent of a quality conference when they’re all so far away…and now there are two fewer non-conference options in the West), so I can’t say it’s a bad thing for the conference, although the unfairness will continue to bother me. Anyway, my proposal assumes that there will be a 9-game schedule. I don’t think there is much point in talking about what would or should happen under an 8-game schedule.

You might say, “Why bother arguing about it at all? This is the way it is.” The SEC saw after a few years that its initial approach (which was two permanent rivals, meaning 7/8 of the schedule was the same teams every year) didn’t work very well, so it changed the scheduling rules. It did not change the divisional alignment, but in this case, the divisional change if done within a few years would not be that traumatic, since the California teams will all play each other, so that wouldn’t be a problem, and the Mountain teams are new to the conference anyway. There isn’t an alignment that just jumps out as inherently logical here, as there is in the SEC and as there was in the Big XII. The ACC, whose alignment I can’t remember, could still realign, and I don’t think it would upset many people.

I understand the respect for tradition underlying the California rule, but it will cause some problems. This would mean that there would be more games between the Arizona teams (shorthand for Arizona and Arizona St.) and the Northwest teams (shorthand for Oregon, Oregon St., Washington, and Washington St.). One of the benefits of expansion is that there will be fewer such games. Either way there will be fewer Arizona—Northwest games than there were before, but enough travel has necessarily been included due to the selection of Utah and Colorado (I’ll call them the Mountain teams) that the Arizona—Northwest trips should be minimized. I don’t think the Northwest teams even need to play an Arizona team every year, but that was the only way I could see how to get my overall scheme to work, and you have to fill out nine games somehow.

Of course, my suggestion is not that we leave the divisional alignment alone and eliminate the California rule. That would probably expose further weaknesses in the chosen alignment. It’s a choice between having the four California teams play one another as an exception to the rule (causing the adverse consequences mentioned) or as part of the rule.

USC will only play two Northwest teams to go with the two Northern California teams (Cal and Stanford). UCLA will also play two. Since there are four Northwest teams, that means there will be an average of one game per year played by the Northwest teams against an L.A. team (being USC or UCLA). So the Northwest teams will each have to play a combined three games against the Mountain and Arizona teams every year. I can’t see how that could be desirable.
So this is the current format:

Washington St.
Oregon St.

Arizona St.

Inter-divisional Scheduling—

L.A. teams: Both Northern California teams annually, two rotating Northwest teams
Northern California teams: Both L.A. teams annually, one rotating game against Mountain teams, one rotating game against Arizona teams.
Mountain/Arizona teams: three rotating games against Northwest teams, one rotating game against Northern California teams
Northwest teams: three rotating games against Mountain/Arizona teams, one rotating game against L.A. teams
This is my proposed format:


Washington St.
Oregon St.


Arizona St.

Inter-divisional Scheduling—

All California teams: One rotating Mountain team, three rotating Northwest teams
Mountain teams: Both Arizona teams annually, two rotating California teams
Arizona teams: Both Mountain teams annually, two rotating Northwest teams
Northwest teams: three rotating games against California teams, one rotating game against Arizona teams
Admittedly, moving the Mountain teams to the North would mean that each Northwest team would play both Mountain teams every year, but under my proposal, they would only EVER play one Arizona team per year. That seems more logical than sometimes playing two Arizona teams and one Mountain team. The two Mountain teams aren’t ideal, but someone has to play them.

By the way, Salt Lake City and Boulder are to North of Stanford/Palo Alto and Berkeley. People don’t always realize this, but there is geographically a lot of California between the Bay Area and the Oregon border, and then it’s a decent trip to get to Eugene or Corvallis from there.

Granted, a little bit would be lost from the Northern California—Northwest rivalries, but there would still be three games a year between Northwest teams and California teams. I don’t think it’s a catastrophe if the Northwest teams play the Northern California teams three years out of four (there were also such breaks in series with the L.A. teams before the 9-game schedule began), plus it’s an added bonus that they will also play the Southern California teams three years out of four. I think playing all California teams most of the time (which was same basic frequency before the implementation of the 9-game schedule) is more acceptable than playing the Northern California teams all the time and the L.A. teams rarely. If someone with an understanding of the Northwest disagrees, let me know, but watching the coverage and talking to people around here, it’s certainly the impression I get from this end that there is strong feeling by L.A. teams and their fans about playing the Northwest teams.

The Mountain teams would only play one L.A. team per year instead of two, but my proposal would still ensure they play two Arizona teams per year. I think it makes more sense for the Northwest teams to each L.A. team more routinely than the Mountain teams would.

Also, from the perspective of the Arizona teams, I think they’d rather play two Northwest teams per year than three.

I also prefer the idea of playing a home and home and then taking a break in the series, to playing (for instance) Cal one year, Stanford the next year, and having a return trip against Cal the third year.

Those are my abstract arguments. My more concrete arguments relate to how far the various teams are from one another geographically.

I’ve spent a lot of time crunching the numbers to determine what the average road trip is for a visiting team. Under the current format, it is 740 miles, and under my proposal, it would be 731 miles. But the average isn’t really that important anyway. I think it’s more important to consider what a reasonable trip might be.

Ideally, you would want the trip to be under 400 miles. That’s the kind of game that you can get excited about generally anyway, because if you’re a local fan, you may know someone who has something to do with that team, or it wouldn’t be unusual to live closer to the other team that you live to your team. Teams of that closeness tend to have better rivalries than those significantly farther apart. Also, I personally would generally choose to drive that distance, even if there weren’t a difference in price. That way, I would be comfortable leaving when I wanted, stopping to eat, etc. Same thing with going back.

I also looked at trips of 600 miles and below. That’s too much for one day for sure, but if you want to take a long weekend or something of that nature, even that might be something you would consider driving, and if you did fly, it would be around an hour. Even if you missed your flight, you could probably still get there without great expense or inconvenience on another flight. That’s not too far for a bit of a rivalry to develop either. Of course, Notre Dame and USC is a rivalry, but regional rivalries are more common and seem to develop quickly if they’re not already there. I anticipate that very soon, assuming a couple of competitive games at least, Utah and Colorado will have a rivalry despite being over 500 miles apart.

In divisional series, there would be 4 more trips a year of under 400 miles than there will be under the current format. There would be 1 more trip of under 600 miles.

There aren’t many relevant inter-divisional games, but of course under the current format, there will be the in-state California games (all of under 400 miles). Under my proposal, there will be the games between the Oregon teams and the Northern California teams (the farthest of those trips is Stanford—Oregon St., which is almost exactly 600 miles) but no inter-divisional games of under 400 miles.

Obviously, the way it’s set up, the California teams get the best deal of all because of the “California rule” I mentioned, but that wouldn’t even be the case every year. For instance, USC plays Oregon, Stanford, Cal, and Washington this year. Some years they might play Oregon, Oregon St., Washington, and Utah, and that would actually be less travel in the overall conference schedule. Regardless, I think my proposal is a good arrangement for the California teams and even if it’s USC making an extra trip to Seattle instead of to Salt Lake City, I think a lot of fans would rather have the former series.

Also, I don’t think the Arizona teams really want to play three Northwest teams per year instead of the two that I propose.

Any way I look at it, my proposal seems to make more sense overall.

My only guess as to why it came out this way was they said Washington and Oregon teams had to be in the North, L.A. and Arizona teams had to be in the South (a logical first step of course). Northern California teams are closer to Oregon, and Mountain teams are closer to Arizona. And then they said, “Wait a minute, what about the in-state California rivalries? Let’s fix that.” They should have started with, “Let’s try to keep the California teams together and make the divisions from there.” There may also have been other political considerations to which I am not privy.

This press release ( details how the Pac-12 will work and includes a chart in case my explanation was too hard to visualize.

I’ve made a chart for my proposal, but I don’t know how to make the fancy Adobe link, so I’ll just post it the best I can here. I’m just doing the inter-divisional games. I included a total of 8 years for USC and showed which ones would be away games, assuming two inter-division road games and two inter-division home games every year (which seems like the fairest approach). The only reason I chose USC was because that was the first real schedule I came across, and I had looked at relative differences in distance, as mentioned above. The rest are by alphabetical order in the respective divisions. The abbreviations shouldn’t be too hard to understand.


(They could also make it “@Colorado, Utah, Colorado, @Utah”; but I’d rather play the same team two years in a row.)


Arizona St.








Oregon St.




Washington St.

Final 2010 Conference Report

In College Football, Conference Reports on February 5, 2011 at 5:36 PM

I had this mostly completed before the national championship game. I just hadn’t gotten around to finishing and posting it. Things were really tough with work for a few weeks after the holidays. With the last game of the NFL season tomorrow, I thought it wasn’t too late to write a little more about college football.

The only other thing I might do in reference to the 2010 season is to analyze pre-season predictions and how they worked out. I have some thoughts about LSU’s new offensive coordinator and their recruiting class, but those are 2011 preseason topics. I also have a baseball series I was working on, but I don’t know when I’ll get to that.

I’m trying to get into college basketball, but that’s not something I often blog about. I had a rankings system I last used a couple of years ago, less complicated than the one for football (I could never input that many specific results), but if I post rankings, it would probably only be around tournament time. There are too many games to see, and things are in constant flux. One reason I like to blog about football is that usually you have a full week to take a step back and gain perspective on everything. There are a few weekday football games of course, but their significance is slight as compared to basketball.

Anyway, here is my final confernce report:

Final rankings
Rank, conf., overall, FBS, AQ
1. SEC 44-12, 34-11, 14-10
2. Pac-10 23-12, 16-12, 12-7
3. Big XII 42-13, 35-12, 11-9
4. Big Ten 38-14, 29-13, 10-9
5. ACC 30-17, 18-16, 6-12
6. MWC 21-20, 17-20, 7-10
7. Big East 28-18, 19-18, 6-14
8. Ind. 22-13, 20-13, 7-6
9. WAC 25-19, 18-18, 6-9
10.CUSA 20-32, 14-32. 6-24
11.MAC 17-38, 9-36, 3-25
12.Sun Belt 6-31, 4-31, 0-24

Bowl results
ACC 4-4
Big East 4-2
Big XII 3-5
Big Ten 3-5
CUSA 2-4
Independents 2-1
MAC 2-2
MWC 4-1
Pac-10 2-1
SEC 4-5
Sun Belt 2-1
WAC 1-2

The Mountain West had the best bowl season by record at 4-1, with the only loss being to one-loss Boise St. But that doesn’t make it the strongest conference. Going into the bowls, it was 17-19 overall against other conferences, only 13-19 against other FBS/I-A conferences. So 21-20 or 17-20 clearly isn’t the best.

So basically, we have to go to the Big Six/BCS/AQ conferences. The Pac-10 had a strong bowl showing, but going in, it had three more losses than the SEC did, in 15 fewer games. The SEC played only 4 more I-AA/FCS opponents, so that doesn’t really alter the calculus. So, not surprisingly, I’m going to go with the SEC as #1 despite the mediocre showing in bowl games.

But I’ll give the Pac-10 the benefir of the doubt for second. Arizona had no business beating Oklahoma St., the best non-BCS Big XII team in my opinion. Washington upset Nebraska. Notre Dame, who beat USC (who was of course not bowl-eligible) and lost to Stanford, really made itself look good as the season went on. Stanford of course beat Virginia Tech, which isn’t all that impressive, but it wasn’t a cupcake either.

The Big XII, which was #2 almost all season, holds onto third, as the Big Ten didn’t do much to improve its standing. The three Big Ten co-champions were 1-2, and the win by Ohio St. was not against the SEC Champions. Ohio St. beating the #2 SEC team going in doesn’t trump Michigan St.’s loss to the #4 SEC team going in. I’m not going to be too harsh about Wisconsin. It was a good match-up. The Big Ten and Big XII had identical bowl records.

#5 is the highest spot I think you can realistically argue for the MWC. It barely had a winning record and only if you factor in I-AA/FCS teams. It won only 41.2% of games against AQ conferences, better than the ACC and Big East, but over 10 points behind the Big Ten. I decided to put the ACC ahead though. It just didn’t have the ugly losses. The MWC lost to Colorado, UTEP, Miami U., Idaho, Utah St., and New Mexico St. Apart from James Madison and Kansas, every other loss suffered by the ACC was to a bowl team (USC is a bowl team to me even though they didn’t play in one).

I do give the MWC the nod over the Big East. Best of luck to the Horned Frogs, by the way.

I put the Big East ahead of the Independents. The Big East beat Maryland, Miami, Clemson, and Kentucky. Even though it’s quantity ahead of quality (it’s also more teams getting the wins), I think that’s just a little better than beating Utah and USC. Tulane was a bad loss by the Big East, but Duke and Rutgers (a member of the Big East) were bad losses by the Independents

I’ll put the WAC in at #9, followed by the CUSA, the MAC, and the Sun Belt. I don’t think there is anything inexplicable there. It is worth considering how good the AQ opponents (especially) were, not just whether they were AQ, but it’s still useful in a superficial analysis.

Below are the results since the last Conference Report:

Duke beat Navy
Boston College beat Syracuse
Florida St. beat Florida
Wake Forest beat Vanderbilt
N.C. State beat West Virginia
Maryland beat East Carolina
North Carolina beat Tennessee
Florida St. beat South Carolina
U. Miami lost to South Florida
Clemson lost to South Carolina
Georgia Tech lost to Georgia
Georgia Tech lost to Air Force
Clemson lost to South Florida
Miami lost to Notre Dame
Virginia Tech lost to Stanford

Big East
South Florida beat U. Miami
Louisville beat Southern Miss
Syracuse beat Kansas St.
South Florida beat Clemson
Pitt beat Kentucky
Syracuse lost to Boston College
West Viginia lost to N.C. State
Connecticut lost to Oklahoma

Kansas St. beat North Texas
Texas Tech beat Houston
Texas beat Florida Atlantic
Oklahoma St. beat Arizona
Texas Tech beat Northwestern
Oklahoma beat Connecticut
Missouri lost to Iowa
Baylor lost to Illinois
Kansas St. lost to Syracuse
Nebraska lost to Washington
Texas A&M lost to LSU

Big Ten
Iowa beat Missouri
Illinois beat Baylor
Ohio St. beat Arkansas
Illinois lost to Fresno St.
Northwestern lost to Texas Tech
Michigan St. lost to Alabama
Penn St. lost to Florida
Michigan lost to Mississippi St.
Wisconsin lost to TCU

Tulsa beat Notre Dame
Tulsa beat Hawaii
Central Florida beat Georgia
UTEP lost to Arkansas
East Carolina lost to Navy
Houston lost to Texas Tech
UTEP lost to BYU
Southern Miss lost to Louisville
East Carolina lost to Maryland
SMU lost to Army

Notre Dame beat Utah
Notre Dame beat USC
Navy beat East Carolina
Navy beat Central Michigan
Navy beat Arkansas St.
Army beat Kent St.
Army beat SMU
Notre Dame beat U. Miami
Army lost to Air Force
Notre Dame lost to Tulsa
Navy lost to Duke
Navy lost to San Diego St.

Ohio beat ULL
Northern Illinois beat Fresno St.
Miami beat Middle Tennessee
Central Michigan lost to Navy
Kent St. lost to Army
Ohio lost to Troy
Toledo lost to Florida Int’l

Air Force beat Army
San Diego St. beat Navy
Air Force beat Georgia Tech
TCU beat Wisconsin
Utah lost to Notre Dame
UNLV lost to Hawaii
Utah lost to Boise St.

Washington beat Nebraska
Stanford beat Virginia Tech
USC lost to Notre Dame
Arizona lost to Oklahoma St.

LSU beat ULM
South Carolina beat Clemson
South Carolina beat Troy
Arkansas beat UTEP
Georgia beat Georgia Tech
Alabama beat Michigan St.
Florida beat Penn St.
Mississippi St. beat Michigan
LSU beat Texas A&M
Florida lost to Florida St.
Vanderbilt lost to Wake Forest
Tennessee lost to North Carolina
Georgia lost to Central Florida
South Carolina lost to Florida St.
Arkansas lost to Ohio St.
Kentucky lost to Pitt

Sun Belt
Troy beat Ohio
Florida Int’l beat Toledo
ULM lost to LSU
ULL lost to Ohio
North Texas lost to Kansas St.
Arkansas St. lost to Navy
Troy lost to South Carolina
Florida Atlantic lost to Texas
Middle Tennessee lost to Miami U.

Fresno St. beat Illinois
Hawaii beat UNLV
Boise St. beat Utah
Fresno St. lost to Northern Illinois
Hawaii lost to Tulsa

Welcome to 2011: Updates and Previews

In College Football, Me, NFL, Uncategorized on January 6, 2011 at 12:24 PM

I’m just starting to work on the all-important LSU-Texas A&M rivalry post. Obviously, I didn’t get around to any type of bowl preview or pre-bowl conference report, but I’ll at least to the conference report after the season.

The holiday season was a little crazy, first in trying to work ahead to make room on my schedule, then in getting ready to go back to Louisiana, then once I was there I got sick. Things have just calmed down enough and I’ve caught up on sleep enough that I can even think about posting things.

As far as the conference report, while the SEC hasn’t been exactly stellar in bowl games, the Big XII and Big Ten haven’t done well, and the Pac-10 didn’t have enough games. Also, the USC-Notre Dame game hadn’t been factored in previously. But those results, combined with successes by the Mountain West could mix up several of the other conferences.

I think next year I’m going to start posting NFL picks. I got about 10 games right per week (on weeks that I made the cutoff anyway) this year. Of course, I probably won’t do as well if I do that.

I just wanted to share these thoughts and let you know that I’m still here. And Happy New Year.