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Pac-12 Announces Changes to Football Championship Game Format

The news stems from the NCAA's announcement that FBS conferences have the freedom to determine their championship game participants.

The Pac-12 Conference announced an adjustment to its football championship game selection process Wednesday.  The participants in the conference title game will now be the two teams with the highest-winning percentages in conference play.

This new format differs from how the game's participants were decided for the past 11 years since its inauguration in 2011. Champions of the Pac-12's divisions earned automatic bids into the conference title game, but the NCAA Division I Council's announcement Wednesday allowed conferences to choose how participants are selected.

The Pac-12 was quick to announce its adjustment after the Division I Council relaxed its restrictions on conference title games. The format change was passed unanimously by the Pac-12's coaches, athletic directors, and board of directors.

While the Division I Council's decision could begin the disbandment of divisions in college football, the Pac-12's division-based schedule in 2022 will remain in place.

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“Our goal is to place our two best teams in our Pac-12 Football Championship Game, which we believe will provide our conference with the best opportunity to optimize CFP invitations and ultimately win national championships,” Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff said in a press release. “Today’s decision is an important step towards that goal and immediately increases both fan interest in, and the media value of, our Football Championship Game.”

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Had this format been in place since the Pac-12 Championship Game first took place in 2011, five of the 11 title game matchups would have been different. Oregon would have appeared in the 2012 and 2015 conference title games and would not have earned a spot in the 2020 game, in which the Ducks defeated USC.

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