The announcement last week regarding the future divisional split of the Pac-12 Conference was met with mixed reactions.
Coaches and players have grown accustomed to playing each conference opponent in the Pac-10, but with the 2011 arrival of Utah from the Mountain West Conference and Colorado from the Big-12 Conference, a complete round-robin is out of the question.
Commissioner Larry Scott, last week, presented the proposed North and South divisions. Oregon State will play with North foes Washington, Washington State, Oregon, California and Stanford; with Utah and Colorado joining the Arizona and Southern California schools in the South, Northwest programs will have to settle with a visit to Los Angeles–a major recruiting hot-spot–every other year. The new alignment plans have teams play three non-conference games, each member of its division and four of six cross-division members every season.
“I don’t think I’m a real big fan of the way they split it up,” safety Lance Mitchell said. “We like to play those Arizona teams, those Southern California teams.”
Mitchell is just one of many Beavers on the roster from the Southwest region. Recruiting in talent-rich California is important for the OSU program to continue, and some speculate not having annual games in Los Angeles will hurt the team.
“I don’t think it’s going to affect the recruiting of Oregon State, because of the program we have here,” Mitchell said. “But I would rather go down to L.A. every year.”
Quarterback Ryan Katz, however, thinks it might have more of an impact.
“There’s a lot of people from Southern California on this football team and a lot of the Northwest football teams, so not going to play in front of your home crowd, taking another trip back home, I think that’s a big deal in the sense of kids from Southern California,” he said.