Since bringing the Utah Utes and Colorado Buffaloes into the mix, the Pac-12 has held a conference title game between the winners of the North and South divisions. For the past three seasons, the game has been held on the home field of the team with the better regular season record, moving from Eugene to Palo Alto to Tempe. But with the game firmly established, the conference is now considering take the title game to a neutral location and it’s a great idea.
As of now, the Pac-12 is the only major conference that doesn’t play their title game at a neutral location. The SEC plays their games in Atlanta, the ACC is in Charlotte, the Big Ten in Indianapolis, and the Big 12 doesn’t have a conference title game anymore but had a rotating title game at numerous neutral locations in the conference’s territories. While it’s taken a while for the Pac-12 to expand enough to warrant a title game, the move to a neutral site is a sound decision that is past due.
The novelty of the Pac-12 title game has not been enough to create a packed house when the games are played at one team’s home field. Often times, the home field advantage isn’t decided until the week prior to the game being played and that short notice can make it difficult to get the proper buzz generated at a site to create the kind of environment that a real conference championship deserves.
By moving the game to a neutral site like the new Levi Stadium, set to open in August, or University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, the conference can build up the game with a bit more pomp and circumstance and give more credibility to the nation’s youngest conference championship.
As the Pac-12 makes their case for being one of the toughest football conferences in the country on the field, giving a boost to their conference title game with a neutral location will only help their image heading into the college football playoff era.