Friday, May 9, 2014
Neutral site or home host for title game?
By Ted Miller
One of the major items of interest coming out of this week's Pac-12 meetings in Phoenix was the possibility of moving the Pac-12 championship game to a neutral site -- specifically the San Francisco 49ers' new home, Levi's Stadium, in Santa Clara, California.
A neutral site would take the pressure off the host institution to prepare for a major event in just six days. It would provide a showcase game in a major population area in a shiny new venue. It would have the potential to become a major event.
That said, it also could feature a lot of empty seats, as the Pac-12 is spread out more than, say, the SEC or Big 12, which use a neutral sites for their championship games. Empty seats do not look good on television.
It also would go against the original justification for the home-host model: It provided an advantage to the team that had the best regular season in the conference. That not only seemed reasonable, and by extension, it also provided protection for the conference's No. 1 seed as it jockeyed for postseason position. That might be even more important with the advent of the College Football Playoff this fall.
Jon Wilner provides some cogent analysis here.
Pac-12 coaches and athletic directors seemed intrigued but also skeptical about moving the game to a neutral site, particularly for teams that had short-term visions of hosting the game.
Said USC athletic director Pat Haden: "I think the current model has actually worked pretty well, the home host. I know the CEOs are debating that and discussing that. I don't think any decision has been made. Quite honestly, at USC, we don't mind the home-host model because we think we've got a chance of hosting."
Still, a packed house at sparkling new Levi's Stadium on Dec. 5 would be a pretty compelling image to showcase the nation.
So what do you think?
Do you favor the home-host model or moving the Pac-12 title game to a neutral site?