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Pac-12 to change conference title game after NCAA ruling

Sportsnaut
Dec 3, 2021; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Oregon Ducks mascot Puddles poses against the Utah Utes in the second half during the 2021 Pac-12 Championship Game at Allegiant Stadium.Utah defeated Oregon 38-10.  Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pac-12 will feature its two top teams in its conference title game rather than one team per division after a ruling Wednesday that cleared the way for conferences to have more flexibility with their decisions.

The NCAA Division I Council announced that it would relax restrictions on conference title games within college football. Conferences that previously had to include two division winners in their title games no longer will be required to do so.

The Pac-12 acted quickly after the announcement, saying that its conference title games would involve the two teams with the highest winning percentage regardless of whether they played in the same division. This change will start with the 2022 season.

“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,” said Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff in a news 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.”

The Atlantic Coast Conference could follow suit, with changes most likely to take effect in the 2023 season.

“The two drivers to this: One, is the opportunity for our student-athletes to play every school in the ACC over a four-year period of time,” ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said last week. “The other piece of it is, I’ve always felt that was a local decision about how you handle your conference. You’re seeing that across multiple conferences that they’d like to dictate what their championship structure looks like, and which will lead into eventually an expanded football playoff.

“You want your two best teams to have a chance to play at the end of the year for a lot of reasons.”

–Field Level Media