The NCAA announced on Wednesday that FBS conferences will now have the power to determine how they format their conference championship games.
The PAC-12 responded with an announcement of their own, altering the rules of their conference championship by eliminating divisions within the conference. This means that the two teams with the highest conference winning percentage will play for the PAC-12 title.
This is a major change from the previous way of determining who plays for the conference championship. As the Southeastern Conference does currently, the PAC-12 took the winners of the "North" division and the "South" division as the two participants for the conference title.
The new format could be the first domino to fall in a greater shift in how each conference decides to format its inter-conference play. The SEC may not be far behind when it comes to changing its format. The pending SEC expansion, which will see Texas and Oklahoma join the conference in July of 2025, will push the Southeastern Conference to 16-teams.
Adding in both Texas and Oklahoma could make things very difficult to make sure that both divisions are equal. Thus began the push for the "pod" system which is an idea where there will be four groups of four teams making up the pods. The two teams with the highest conference winning percentage would then play in the SEC Championship Game. That is just one idea out of many others that SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey will have to choose from when the conference expands.
Sankey spoke with Yahoo Finance's Josh Schafer on Wednesday about the recent news.
“Well, almost a year-long conversation when we got to 16 teams, what divisions will look like or what our schedule will look like. Those possibilities include no divisions. It’s on our list. We’re not gonna do it in a knee-jerk way. The divisions work really well for us, but when we got to 16, that possibility is front-and-center for the SEC.”
- Greg Sankey on a possible re-formatting of the SEC
Sankey added that unless the opinions of the league change within the next few years, the SEC will stick with the division format up until expansion when they will make a decision on whether or not they deviate from their current format.
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