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In the Palouse, this Saturday night, the Pac-2 Bowl will take place.

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The two remaining members of the imploding Pac-12 conference, Oregon State and Washington State, face off in a top-25 team game. Amid a series of giant matchups this weekend, the Pac-2 battle is slipping under the hype despite the stakes.

The Cougars are 3-0, ranked 21st and have defeated Wisconsin with FCS-turned-Power Five dual-threat quarterback Cameron Ward. The Beavers are 3-0, ranked 14th, and have allowed 33 points in three games with former Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei running the offense.

But it’s off the field where so much interest lies in these two programs. As they team up for a court fight for the survival of the Pac-12, their future affiliation with the conference is in doubt.

Will they disband the Pac-12 and join the Mountain West?

Will they merge with the Mountain West under the Pac-12 banner to preserve the league and its assets?

Will they rebuild the Pac-12 by eliminating other members of the Group of Five?

Or… Will they do something unconventional, creative and, some would say, totally eccentric? Will they jump with both feet into a puddle of uncertainty, overhaul the way university lectures are structured and remake the industry’s long-standing model?

“We have to think differently,” said a Mountain West athletic director who preferred to remain anonymous. “We’re always trying to put things in a box and we’re always late to the party. How can we deal with this?

Some believe the Pac-2’s answer should be to create a two-conference partnership with the Mountain West around a model similar to European soccer leagues, using a relegation and promotion system for soccer (and potentially other sports).

Could the Pac-12 survive in a new format?  (Illustration from Yahoo Sports)

Could the Pac-12 survive in a new format? (Illustration from Yahoo Sports)

The goal is to create high-stakes matchups, schedule alliances and a points system to fuel interest and excitement at the lower level of college football. In theory, such a system would make these lower-resource football programs more attractive to linear and live streaming partners in a world where the industry depends on those revenues to survive.

“It’s time we admit what college football is: an entertainment product,” one Mountain West administrator said.

Officials who spoke to Yahoo Sports for this story did so under the agreement of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the discussions between the two remaining Pac-12 schools and those in the Mountain West.

While the parties continue to deliberate on options, there may not be a resolution for weeks, until a Washington County court resolves a dispute between Pac-2 and the other 10 schools over control of the team’s decision-making powers. the league. That includes control over the conference’s liabilities and assets, two important factors in determining the future course of action for the Beavers and Cougars.

The idea of ​​relegation/promotion is just an idea, for now. While the concept has been explored by many officials in both the Pac-2 and Mountain West, it is just one of a number of possible options in the early stages of consideration.

“It’s brilliant,” said a Group of Five sporting director. “The reason this wouldn’t happen is that people wouldn’t get into something if they risk losing something big (like being relegated). But the economics might make sense.”

The first step

The idea is not completely misplaced.

Developing an English soccer-type system in college soccer is a long-talked-about effort for powerhouse soccer programs that appear to be establishing themselves in a couple of leagues. The idea among many in college sports is that the 30 to 50 most valuable college programs will break away and form a semi-pro division that could one day include that relegation and promotion.

But what if he other Did the boys do it before them?

Preserving two separate conferences is perhaps the most important part of this concept. The Mountain West and Pac-2 would partner around a relegation system for football and be administered by a single commissioner, although their membership can fluctuate, at least in football, on an annual or biannual basis.

The conferences, if kept separate and recognized as such by both the NCAA and the College Football Playoffs, would do the following:

  1. Retain the millions of dollars in existing assets within the Pac-12, including at least $50 million in NCAA basketball tournament stock, more than $40 million in reserves and anything else (Pac-12 network infrastructure , etc.).

  2. Preserve automatic qualifying spots in the NCAA championships for the champion of each league in all sports except football.

  3. Maintain the distribution of CFP revenue for each league (a real issue).

The idea starts with the Pac-12 and Mountain West, each with at least eight members for a total of 16 teams. Think of it as a Pac-12 division and a Mountain West division under the umbrella of this football and downhill association.

As it currently stands, the two leagues combine for 14 football-playing members. For regional purposes, as well as historical success and resources, North Dakota State and South Dakota State are obvious expansion targets.

Every year or two, two teams from each conference are relegated and promoted: two are promoted from the Mountain West to the Pac-12 and two are relegated from the Pac-12 to the Mountain West.

To begin Year 1 in this concept, Oregon State and Washington State remain in the Pac-12. The two expansion additions agree to join together starting in the lower tier, Mountain West. How are the other 12 schools divided: six in the Pac-12 and six in the Mountain West? Is it because of conference standings over the last decade or two? Is it for general revenue figures? Is it an NBA-style lottery drawing made for television?

Whatever is done, things could get politically complicated.

The programing

The goal here is to create interesting, high-stakes matchups for the fan experience and television purposes, relying on the previous and current season’s standings to orchestrate the matchups.

A team’s schedule would include two non-conference opponents, seven intra-conference games and three crossover games. For example, in Year 1, Oregon State plays two non-conference games they schedule, seven games against all other Pac-12 teams and three games against those in the Mountain West.

The results of the previous season determine a hierarchical order to organize confrontations, such as:

– a rematch of Week 1 of the previous year’s Pac-12 championship game.

– a Week 1 game between the two teams promoted from the Mountain West to the Pac-12 and two teams relegated from the Pac-12 to the Mountain West.

– a qualifying weekend in early to mid-November, where pairings are determined two weeks in advance and are based on the current standings with the intention of organizing attractive crossover matchups.

The entire season reaches a crescendo of a final week featuring three games:

– A relegation game between the sixth and seventh ranked teams in the Pac-12. The loser is relegated to the Mountain West. The eighth place finisher of the regular season is automatically relegated.

– A Promotion Game between the second and third place teams in the Mountain West. The winner is promoted to the Pac-12. The Mountain West regular-season champion is automatically promoted to the Pac-12.

– The Pac-12 championship game, where the winner has a great opportunity to advance to the newly expanded College Football Playoff.

Washington State and Oregon State face off on the football field this weekend, but the schools are partners in an effort to keep the Pac-12 brand alive.  (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Washington State and Oregon State face off on the football field this weekend, but the schools are partners in an effort to keep the Pac-12 brand alive. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

The money

Invariably, the differentiating factor from one conference to another is money.

In theory, the conferences would enter into a joint media rights agreement that would distribute a higher base revenue to teams in the Pac-12 and a lower base revenue to teams in the Mountain West, with an incentive structure that includes completion bonuses. a school in the positions.

For example, if the leagues reach a media rights deal worth $100 million per year, Pac-12 programs would earn 60% ($7.5 million per school), while Pac-12 schools would earn 60% ($7.5 million per school). Mountain West would earn the other 40% ($5 million per school). Schools could receive bonuses for winning each league and be promoted from the Mountain West to the Pac-12.

This is where the real problem lies, said one conference administrator. With the decline, budgets will change and fall between 3 and 5 million dollars a year. That’s a topic for athletic directors in annual budget projections. A balance must be achieved in the base distribution that allows annual budget projections to be made.

“If a school receives $15 million this year, its budget will be $15 million next year,” the conference official said. “Well, if we go down, we can’t do that.”

There are many more problems and unresolved issues with this concept.

For example, what about men’s and women’s basketball and Olympic sports? An administrator suggests relegation in each sport. Another believes the relegation should only extend to the soccer and basketball teams, leaving Olympic sports to create a regional calendar among the 16 teams.

After all, one sporting director said, football is responsible for at least 90% of media rights deals.

One of the key questions: Will the NCAA and CFP even consider two separate conferences?

How the classification is administered is another unresolved question. The natural way is through winning percentage and tiebreakers. But what if college football started using a football-style point system?

Three points for any victory. One point for losing in extra time. Zero for any other loss.

Should a bonus point be awarded if a Mountain West team beats a Pac-12 team?

The questions persist. The issues are unresolved.

But as the Pac-2 Bowl unfolds Saturday night, the two programs, off the field, have a chance to dive into an unconventional, creative and, yes, maybe eccentric model.

They will do it?

“Everything is on the table,” said a senior source with knowledge of the discussions between the leagues. “We are analyzing many options. This one included.”

#Promotionrelegation #college #football #Innovative #idea #save #Pac12

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