There’s officially a change in how the Pac-12 determines its two participants in the league’s football championship game.
The league announced Wednesday that, beginning with the 2022 season, the two teams with the highest conference winning percentage will face each other in the Pac-12 championship game.
In previous seasons, the championship game participants were filled by the winners of the league’s North and South divisions during the regular season.
This comes after multiple news outlets reported that the NCAA ruled earlier in the day it would relax regulations on how FBS conferences determine their championship game participants.
That ruling includes that leagues won’t be required to determine those teams based on division winners.
NCAA Division I Council relaxes restrictions for FBS football conference championship games, allowing conferences to determine their championship game participants with or without divisions— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) May 18, 2022
“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,” Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff said in a 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.”
Under the change, the Pac-12 football championship game would have resulted in a different matchup in five of the previous 11 games, the league said.
For reigning Pac-12 champion Utah, which has played in three of the past four Pac-12 championships, the Utes would have still played in the title game in 2019 and 2021.
In 2018, though, Utah would have been replaced by Washington State, which would have faced Washington that year.
The conference said its 2022 schedule, which was based on two divisions, will remain in place. The Pac-12 will continue to review scheduling scenarios beyond this upcoming season.