Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pac-12 Finalizing 2012 Conference Volleyball Schedule

There's bad news for fans of balanced scheduling.
The Pac-12 is proceeding with plans—announced last fall—to have each of its volleyball teams play two fewer conference matches each season. That means some teams will miss marquee matchups, others will avoid near-certain losses or victories. And the final standings may leave room for debate.
This fall, Washington will play Arizona State in Tempe and host Arizona … but will not reciprocate with a home match against the Sun Devils or a road trip to Tucson. Next season, the Huskies will also miss one match against each of the Arizona schools, with the venues switched. Washington State—as the Huskies’ travel partner—will also skip two Arizona matches each of the next two seasons, but in reverse.
The other “skip partners” for 2012 & 2013:
  • Cal/Stanford miss one each against Colorado/Utah
  • UCLA/USC miss one each against Oregon/Oregon State

Washington coach Jim McLaughlin is not a big fan of the new schedule. “I came to Washington, in large part, because the Pac-12 is the best conference around,” he says. “I came because I can play Stanford twice, the Bruins twice, the Trojans twice, Cal twice. Playing teams in this conference is as good as it gets.”
At first glance, the teams that could see the biggest benefit the next two seasons are Oregon and Oregon State. The Ducks and Beavers avoid four total matches against UCLA and USC. On the other hand, Cal and Stanford miss what would likely be four wins each against Utah and Colorado.
Why the change?
Remember that Pac-12 schools were hugely disrespected by the NCAA tournament selection committee last fall. It seeded USC #7, despite the fact the Trojans were #1 in the polls. The Trojans went on to reach their second consecutive Final Four. Even more glaring, eventual National Champion (and #4 in the polls) UCLA was seeded #9.
The Pac-12’s 20-match schedule gives conference teams an additional weekend to try to schedule top-flight nonconference competition to help boost RPI at the end of the season. The problem, of course, is that other top conferences may have already started league play by then. And—as coaches frequently note—there are only so many RPI-attractive teams to go around. If a team like up-and-coming Pepperdine—a possible high RPI team—has the choice of scheduling either, say, Arizona or USC, it only gets RPI credit if it wins, and it wants to win against a team which might have a high RPI in late November. So, if it schedules Arizona and wins, but Arizona ends up low in the RPI, it’s a bad bet. If it schedules USC and loses, it doesn’t get a big boost. So, while both Arizona and USC might find Pepperdine attractive, the reverse may not be true.
There has been considerable conversation about arranging more Pac-12/Big-10 matchups in several sports, none more attractive than in volleyball, since a current team from one of those two conferences has been national champion 13 years in a row (and 19 times in the past 22 years). It won’t happen in 2012, but there has been talk about matchups in either midseason or just before the tournament starting in 2013. Stay tuned for those conversations.
Here, then, is the 2012 conference schedule on the table for approval next week. Teams still might have flexibility to move both matches against their geographic rival to the last week of the season, as six teams did last year: The schedule assumes mostly Friday/Saturday matches, though travel and/or football conflicts are likely to push several matches to Thursday or Sunday.
Week 1: (Sep 21/22)
  • Washington @ Washington State
  • Oregon @ Oregon State
  • California @ Stanford
  • UCLA @ USC
  • Arizona @ Arizona State
  • Colorado @ Utah
  • Washington @ Arizona
  • Washington State @ Arizona State
  • Oregon @ USC
  • Oregon State @ UCLA
  • California @ Colorado
  • Stanford @ Utah

Week 2: (Sept 28/29)
  • California @ Arizona State
  • Stanford @ Arizona
  • UCLA @ Washington
  • USC @ Washington State
  • Colorado @ Oregon State
  • Utah @ Oregon
  • California @ Arizona
  • Stanford @ Arizona State
  • UCLA @ Washington State
  • USC @ Washington
  • Colorado @ Oregon
  • Utah @ Oregon State

Week 3: (Oct 5/6)
  • Washington @ Utah
  • Washington State @ Colorado
  • Oregon @ Stanford
  • Oregon State @ California
  • Arizona @ USC
  • Arizona State @ UCLA
  • Washington @ Colorado
  • Washington State @ Utah
  • Oregon @ California
  • Oregon State @ Stanford
  • Arizona @ UCLA
  • Arizona State @ USC

Week 4: (Oct 12/13)
  • Washington @ Oregon State
  • Washington State @ Oregon
  • UCLA @ Stanford
  • USC @ California
  • Arizona @ Utah
  • Arizona State @ Colorado
  • Washington @ Oregon
  • Washington State @ Oregon State
  • UCLA @ California
  • USC @ Stanford
  • Arizona @ Colorado
  • Arizona State @ Utah

Week 5: (Oct 19/20)
  • Oregon @ Arizona State
  • Oregon State @ Arizona
  • California @ Washington State
  • Stanford @ Washington
  • Colorado @ USC
  • Utah @ UCLA
  • Oregon @ Arizona
  • Oregon State @ Arizona State
  • California @ Washington
  • Stanford @ Washington State
  • Colorado @ UCLA
  • Utah @ USC

Week 6: (Oct 26/27)
  • Washington @ UCLA
  • Washington State @ USC
  • Oregon @ Colorado
  • Oregon State @ Utah
  • Arizona @ California
  • Arizona State @ Stanford
  • Washington @ USC
  • Washington State @ UCLA
  • Oregon @ Utah
  • Oregon State @ Colorado
  • Arizona @ Stanford
  • Arizona State @ California

Week 7 (Nov 2/3)
  • California @ Oregon
  • Stanford @ Oregon State
  • UCLA @ Arizona
  • USC @ Arizona State
  • Colorado @ Washington
  • Utah @ Washington State
  • California @ Oregon State
  • Stanford @ Oregon
  • UCLA @ Arizona State
  • USC @ Arizona
  • Utah @ Washington
  • Colorado @ Washington State

Week 8 (Nov 9/10)
  • Washington @ California
  • Washington State @ Stanford
  • UCLA @ Colorado
  • USC @ Utah
  • Arizona @ Oregon
  • Arizona State @ Oregon State
  • Washington @ Stanford
  • Washington State @ California
  • UCLA @ Utah
  • USC @ Colorado
  • Arizona @ Oregon State
  • Arizona State @ Oregon

Week 9: (Nov 16/17)
  • Oregon @ Washington
  • Oregon State @ Washington State
  • California @ UCLA
  • Stanford @ USC
  • Colorado @ Arizona
  • Utah @ Arizona State
  • Oregon @ Washington State
  • Oregon State @ Washington
  • California @ USC
  • Stanford @ UCLA
  • Colorado @ Arizona State
  • Utah @ Arizona

Week 10: (Nov 23/24)
  • UCLA @ Oregon
  • USC @ Oregon State
  • Arizona @ Washington State
  • Arizona State @ Washington
  • Colorado @ Stanford
  • Utah @ California
  • Washington State @ Washington
  • Oregon State @ Oregon
  • Stanford @ California
  • USC @ UCLA
  • Arizona State @ Arizona
  • Utah @ Colorado

2 comments:

  1. Has the PAC-12 finalized this schedule?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As of this week, a couple of teams were still trying to swap some of those matches in the first and last weeks. I'd say the schedule is 95% as posted, with a possible final tweak in the days ahead. BTW, UCLA, WSU and Stanford have already put their schedules on their websites.

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