Arizona’s Greg Byrne on Pac-10 expansion (plus new Pac-10 logo)by Anthony Gimino on Jul. 13, 2010, under Sports
The Pac-10 athletic directors will have a conference call Wednesday — and will meet in Los Angeles on July 30 — but Arizona’s Greg Byrne doesn’t expect a decision to be made by then on how the league will realign with expansion.
“I think there are a lot of issues we all have to work through,” Byrne said Tuesday in a press conference at McKale Center to discuss various matters. “And it’s a critical decision for everybody involved.”
Utah will join the league from the Mountain West Conference for the 2011-12 school year, with Colorado set to come on board the following season, although it’s still possible the Buffaloes could move up that timetable.
Byrne estimated there are six to eight different scenarios for creating football divisions.
“How many are really legitimate, I don’t know,” he said. “But there are choices, that is for sure.”
The league could opt for a geographic split, with Arizona, Arizona State, USC, UCLA, Cal and Stanford in the South division, with Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Colorado and Utah in the North.
Another idea is the “zipper” approach, which splits the six traveling pairs down the middle, putting one from each pair in opposite divisions (a cross-division game between natural rivals, such as Arizona-ASU, would remain a guarantee).
“From a competitive standpoint and a recruiting standpoint, I think it’s important to stay connected with California,” Byrne said.
“I think right now the Pacific Northwest schools are concerned with that, understandably. And so, how do we find that balance that can positively affect everybody in the league?”
The Pac-10 has been playing a full round-robin in football, which means nine conference games. The other major conferences play eight league games, usually filling that extra non-conference game with a lesser opponent and near-guaranteed win.
Byrne said he expects the league to continue to play nine league games.
“I’ll be surprised if it’s not nine. I know there has been discussion about eight. I had even heard one person say 10. I don’t think 10 will happen,” he said.
For now, Byrne is not publically supporting any of the realignment possibilities within the Pac-10.
“I want to hear everybody else’s arguments and debate on it,” he said.
“We have to make sure the presidents, the CEOs of the universities are comfortable with it as well. One way or another, we have to make sure we’re tied to California, and Southern California specifically in what we do.
“I think we’re in good position to do that.”
Related link on TucsonCitizen.com: Greg Byrne on his scheduling philosophy in football