Pac-20 Conference? How an expanded Pac-12 Conference could look after merger with Big 12

·3 min read

PHOENIX — The Pac-12 has 12 schools. With Oklahoma and Texas set to leave the Big 12 for the SEC, that conference will soon have just eight.

Might they merge to form a Pac-20 Conference or perhaps a Big 20? How about a Super Pac-20?

According to multiple reports, the commissioners of the Pac-12 and Big 12 met Tuesday to discuss how the conferences might benefit from working together or maybe even merge.

The merging part has us very interested.

A full merger of the Big 12 and Pac-12 would create a 20-team conference with schools in every major U.S. time zone, something no other conference has.

That would make it unique and potentially pretty valuable in the ever-important TV contract discussions for conferences.

What could a Big 12 and Pac-12 merger look like?

Here's some possibilities to split up the conference, should the Pac-12 and Big 12 decide it is in their best interests to join forces.

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Keep the two-division model

It would not be hard for the Pac-12 to continue with a North and South division by just slotting in the Big 12 teams into one of those divisions.

The Pac-12 North could keep Washington, Washington State, Stanford, California, Oregon and Oregon State, and add Iowa State, West Virginia, Kansas and Kansas State.

The Pac-12 South could keep USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Colorado and add Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma State.

Another option in the two division model?

Split the conference by West and East.

The old Pac-12 could be in one division and the conference could potentially put Utah and Colorado in the other division with the eight Big 12 schools.

Either of these potential options would allow the conference to pit the winners of the two divisions against each other in the conference title game.

With OU and Texas leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference, Plan A for OSU could be an expanded Pac-12 Conference.
With OU and Texas leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference, Plan A for OSU could be an expanded Pac-12 Conference.

How about a four-division model?

Would splitting a possible Big-12 and Pac-12 super-conference into four divisions work out better geographically?

It could keep regional rivalries intact, too.

One option in this format could be putting ASU and Arizona with the Texas schools: TCU, Baylor and Texas Tech.

Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and West Virginia could be in another division, with Utah, Colorado, UCLA, USC and either Stanford or California.

The final division could pit Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State and either Stanford or California.

If the conference wanted to split up the Big 12 schools more it could realign the divisions to put Iowa State with the Washington and Oregon schools, West Virginia and Oklahoma State with Colorado and the Kansas schools and perhaps Arizona and ASU with the Texas schools.

Utah could go with the four California schools.

In this situation, the conference could potentially have the four division winners face off in a mini-playoff to determine the conference champion.

Other options

Perhaps the Big 12 and Pac-12 decide it is not in their best interests to merge, or perhaps some teams (like West Virginia or Iowa State) decide to go to another conference closer to them geographically, making a possible Big 12/Pac-12 conference not as big after a potential merger.

Maybe the Pac-12 decides it's best to just stand pat with its 12 teams or perhaps add schools like BYU or Boise State.

But thinking about potential conference expansion and realignment definitely adds some intrigue to the college football season.

Those conferences and their member institutions have some decisions to make that will alter the college athletics landscape.

Follow Jeremy Cluff on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Pac-12, Big 12 merger: How conferences joining forces could look

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