Pac-12 Championship Game: A Change Of Venue Is In Order


Sept. 23, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; General view of University of Phoenix Stadium after the game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cardinals beat the Eagles 27-6. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

The Pac-12 Conference needs to find a way to make its championship game appear to be a championships game and not just another scheduled conference game.  In its current format, the title game comes across as something not very special.

As you look across the college landscape, you will see conferences utilizing destination sites.  The Big Ten will play its title game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.  The SEC will showcase their title game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.  The ACC will hold their game at Bank of America stadium in Charlotte.  Even the MAC has their game at Ford Field in Detroit.

When the Pac-12 announced in 2011 its format to play the title game at the home field of the team that has the best overall record,  the conference was selling itself short.

This is a perfect opportunity for the conference and its members to showcase their product within their footprint.

Fans of the conference, not just fans of the teams playing in the game, should be able to plan a trip in advance to attend the game.  The conference could also set up events around town since they will know in advance where the game will be played to give it more of a bowl game atmosphere.

The conference should consider rotating the game through the various NFL stadiums within the Pac-12 footprint.  For example, one year the game would be played in the Pacific Northwest in CenturyLink Field.  It could then move to University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and so on and so forth.

Here are five prime locations, broken up by regions:

Pacific Northwest RegionCenturyLink FieldSeattle, WACapacity: 65,000, expandable to 72,000

Rocky Mountain RegionSports Authority Field at Mile HighDenver, COCapacity: 76,125

Southwest RegionUniversity of Phoenix StadiumGlendale, AZCapacity: 63,400, expandable to 78,600

Southern California RegionFarmers Field (Opening Fall of 2016)Los Angeles, CACapacity: 72,000, expandable to 76,000

Northern California RegionSanta Clara Stadium (Opening Summer 2014)Capacity: 68,500, expandable to 75,000

Going away from the home field advantage also allows for those magical moments where a David can upset a Goliath on a neutral field.  Playing the game on the home field of the team with the better record almost ensures that team will win.

A rotation format would be a unique opportunity for the conference to set itself apart from the other conferences in terms of fan experience.  No other conference can offer to rotate the title game within its borders at these kinds of quality facilities.