Outside of the California Pac-12 programs, each conference member will play five division games and four cross-division games. The remaining eight programs will play their cross division California Pac-10 rival every other year because of the nine-game schedule.
Commissioner Larry Scott named four factors for determining the divisions.
Importance of Rivalries
The graph used by the Pac-12 to determine competitive balance used conference games from 1997-2009, where Cal ranked behind Oregon and Oregon State in the North Division.
For the first time in its history, the Pac-12 will host a conference championship game. However, unlike other BCS conferences, a conference member will host the Pac-12 title game. The school with the best overall conference record will host the championship game. Scott said in case of the tie, a "tie-breaking mechanism" would be used to determine the host school.
Scott also noted that football would be the only sport with divisions, since the NCAA requires it for a conference championship game. Every other Pac-10 sports schedule were also approved on Thursday, said Scott. Basketball, for instance, will have an 18 –game conference schedule with locked home & home with traditional rivals – USC, UCLA, and Stanford for Cal – and rotating home & home with six schools.
The money the new conference will bring forth with the championship game and increased television revenue should appease those – Northwest schools – who may feel slighted with the rotating schedule.
"We will have equal revenue sharing going forward," said Scott.
Referring to the media share agreement that will kick in at the start of the new contract in 2012.