Where Should the Pac-12 Championship Game Be Held?

The Pac-10 is about to be the Pac-12 in a year, meaning that some fundamental things about the conference will be changing next season. With the heads of the Pac-10 families meeting, we've decided to take a look at the upcoming pressing alignment issues and wonder what you think we'll happen, how it'll affect the conference for the better or for worse.

Monday we looked at divisional alignment. Tuesday we looked at the possible pod and zipper formats. Today we look at the least pressing of the issues, the Pac-12 Championship site.

Now it doesn't make much of a difference where the Pac-12 Championship is played. They could put the game in Alaska for all I cared and I'd still be willing to buy a ticket if the Golden Bears are the last of two teams standing for the Pac-12 title. But the destinations do all have their pros and cons, so I'd like to lay them out after the jump.

Home field of the team with the best record.

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via farm2.static.flickr.com

Although Cal will never finish first in the Pac-10 EVER, the thought of Memorial hosting a Pac-12 title cool would be freaking sweet.

Pros: Guaranteed to be a sell-out. A neutral field will have very variable attendance numbers and depend a lot on how many people are willing to travel a great distance. Plus it would give added incentive for a team to still finish with the best conference record rather than the best division record and play every game equally hard until the end of the season.

Cons: Favors the home team by an inordinate amount depending on the fans and the stadium. Could diminish the value of the game over time if the home team constantly wins over and over. Also, the stadium sizes vary and some of the locations are far from desirable--who wants to travel to Pullman in December (you know, when the Cougars have a decent team again)?

 

Oakland/San Francisco

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level playing field (via Chas.™)

Pros: The most central location. Tourist-friendly location, very likely to draw a huge crowd. Probably the most temperate weather every season, especially if it's played in Oakland--very mild and modest temperatures with only the Pacific winds possibly playing a factor.

Cons: Favors the Bay Area teams. More importantly, these are terrible football stadiums to choose from, especially for what's likely to be a primetime Saturday night game. Even Niners fans can't stand going to Candlestick; the Raiders would be a little bit better because of the BART system, but not by much. The situation might improve once the Niners move to Santa Clara, but for now, the stadiums are simply unappealing.

Las Vegas

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UFL Championship Game (via cammyjams)

Pros: Becomes Vegas's premier team sporting event (not sure about premier sporting event yet; it doesn't quite get up there with heavyweight fights, even though boxing is dead), thus will get heavily pimped out with all sorts of travel deals available to alumni. It's not like students don't need incentive to go there. They just need a ride.

Cons: Weak attendance factor. It's a small college stadium, which could also be viewed as a pro, since it's not a certainty that the Pac-12 title game selling out any of the big pro arenas.

Los Angeles, most likely the Rose Bowl

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Rose Bowl Stadium.. (via Bill Humason..)

Pros: Will draw the largest audience every season--huge alumni sections, the easiest location, the best site for TV purposes (similar to why the Pac-10 basketball tournament is held in LA every year, so FSN doesn't have to haul their lazy selves on the road).

Cons: Favors the LA teams. The only two football stadiums in Los Angeles house the two major programs, so it'd be akin to a home game for either of those schools. Also, how bizarre would it be to play in the Rose Bowl for the right to go to the Rose Bowl?

Also if they choose the Rose Bowl, I can imagine the thoughts of Pac-12 fans everywhere...

"Oh yay, we're in the Rose Bowl! Wait...this is to get into the Rose Bowl? Holy recursive loop Batman!"

Phoenix/Glendale

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University Of Phoenix Stadium (via orclimber)

Pros: Probably the best stadium in the conference in terms of comfort, a big deal when you're talking about a huge money event like a conference title game and alumni fans willing to buy high-priced tickets the week before the game. The only one of these stadiums with a dome, thus sealing the teams off from the elements and providing a true neutral field. Could rival Jerry-ville in Dallas (Big 12 title game) and the Georgia Dome (SEC Title Game) in prestige.

Cons: Favors the Arizona teams. Not exactly a huge travel spot and fairly remote from the rest of the conference. Remote possibility of liquid courageous students being imprisoned and ethnically different athletes being deported.

San Diego

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The Sun Sets on the Broncos (via bridgepix)

Pros: Most weather-friendly of all the destinations + most neutral of all the sites, although it could be seen to favor the LA schools due to the proximity of location. Still, for a December game, it's a very attractive location. Weather should be very temperate and fans wouldn't really need an excuse to hit up this site.

Cons: Probably the furthest destination for most fans outside of California--it's uncertain how strong the alumni bases for Pac-12 schools are in San Diego compared to Los Angeles or the Bay Area.

Seattle

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Stadium City (via Surrealize)

Pros: Architecturally, probably the best stadium on the West Coast. Can get very noisy with the right set of fans. Close to one of the most underrated cities in America, and a definite tourist/alumni-friendly destination that people would flock to.

Cons: Favors northwestern teams, particularly the Washington Huskies; inclement weather very likely, could be quite a messy game, especially it involves southern teams. Might not attract huge travel numbers

Rotating sites.

Pros: Allows for the greatest degree of fairness for schools and no one would have to worry about favoritism. Fairly exciting to have a new site every year and could keep fans intrigued.

Cons: A logistical nightmare, which is a part of the reason the Pac-10 tournament refuses to rotate (well, other than the fact that they're lazy and the LA schools got all the power). This could result in exhausted fans who might not want to travel to particular locations they find less desirable, which could also result in similar horror photos like these:

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via nittanywhiteout.com

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