CU may get its way in new conference, embarrassingly




There is good news for the University of Colorado as the Pacific 10 Conference moves closer to deciding its football division alignment for 2011 and beyond.

But though Colorado might get its wish in its division assignment, the reason actually is, shall we say, humbling.

Officials of the Pac-10, which will call itself the Pac-12 starting next July when CU and Utah join the league, reportedly are close to announcing their plans for divisions and for the site of a conference championship game beginning in 2011.

Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn has made it known that CU would prefer to be in a division with Southern Cal and UCLA, because so many alumni from the Boulder campus live in the Los Angeles area.

Latest rumors suggest that will happen, with Colorado and Utah in a division with Southern Cal, UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State. The other division would include California, Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State.

But the maneuvering apparently isn't intended to satisfy Colorado. Instead, it's mainly driven by other factors, including the fact that CU's football program is considered to be a doormat in the Pac-12, coupled at the bottom with Washington State.

Other media, including the Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard and the San Jose Mercury News, are saying that league members agreed on having the two Oregon and two Washington schools in one division, with the two Arizona members plus Southern Cal and UCLA in the other. That left Colorado and Utah, as well as California and Stanford.

Cal and Stanford would rather be in the division with Southern Cal and UCLA. But that would put Colorado and Washington State in the same grouping, and the conference apparently doesn't want that to happen. An apparent compromise would be that Cal and Stanford would be allowed to schedule Southern Cal and UCLA every season, not just on a rotating basis.

No word yet on whether the Pac-12 would mandate eight or nine conference games in football. It might be nine in order to accommodate the Cal-Stanford-USC-UCLA idea.

As for the conference championship game, possible sites being mentioned include Las Vegas (Sam Boyd Stadium), San Diego (Qualcomm Stadium, home of the NFL Chargers), Phoenix (actually Glendale, Ariz., where the NFL Cardinals play) and San Francisco (Candlestick Park, home of the NFL 49ers). Also, there has been talk of the inaugural title game being played in the home stadium of a conference member, to help ensure a capacity crowd.

Recommendations on these matters will go to the league's school presidents by a decision now expected on Oct. 21.

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