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Golden Nuggets: "Not Every Team is Going to Be Thrilled"

This Friday Pac-10 officials will meet to discuss how to separate the conference into divisions after Utah and Colorado join.  One of the most contentious issues is playing the LA teams, as teams want the annual exposure by playing a game in the conference's largest recruiting hub.  Everyone wants to make an annual trip, but under the new format, it's likely that several teams will go years at a time without a visit to an LA school.  To solve this, coaches and officials have been pushing for all sorts of "zipper" plans.

A geographical split could result in a "North" team not playing either USC or UCLA in a particular season and, worse, going several years without having a game in Los Angeles.

Another way to arrange divisions is to split the natural rivals (for instance, Cal in one division, Stanford in the other) but with the assurance that they would play every year.

This format, which has become known as the "Zipper Plan," would assure every school of a game against USC or UCLA every year and a trip to Southern California every two years. "We're looking at several 'Zipper' options," Scott said.

One variation, the "California Zipper," would place one Bay Area school and one L.A. school with the Oregons and Washingtons in the North and one Bay Area school and one L.A. school with Utah, Colorado and the Arizona schools in the South.

Critics of the "zipper" arrangement believe the natural rivals must be paired together, but the concept is gaining traction within league circles. Bowlsby said the schools Stanford plays every year is more important to him than divisional alignment. In other words, he's fine with Cal being in a different division as long as the Big Game is played every year.

Bellotti said he favors the "zipper" format, and believes it can be tweaked to preserve long-time rivalries. He suggested that in an eight-game conference schedule, teams would play five games within their division and could include one or two traditional games on an annual basis from outside their division.

After the jump 20 coaches shine some light into the dark corners of college basketball, JO places Cal at 7th in his Pac-10 ballot, and more.


  • 20 anonymous coaches give their opinions on what's wrong (and to a lesser extent, what's right) with college basketball.  They discuss recruiting, rules violations, trust, dirty play, and more.  It's a very revealing and intriguing article.