Thomas C. Hansen, Commissioner, Pacific-10, 1983-present
Back in the early 1990s, when we considered expansion, one of our big concerns was that if we went to 12 members and had two divisions, not all of our members would get to play in Los Angeles every year. Recruiting that area is so critical to all our teams, and we couldn't have teams playing there some years but not in others.
After we were unable to expand [the league pursued Texas], the tone was set that our members did not want to be in two divisions. That's the cornerstone of "Do you want to have a championship game?" and our members did not. For us, it has a lot to do with geography.
The second thing that our folks have pretty much unanimously decided is that it is not the best thing for a conference to subject its best team to another very, very challenging game prior to the BCS. I realize I'm speaking from one of the conferences that hasn't had a wild-card berth in the BCS, but it's just hard to see how a championship game helps you get another team in. The Big 12, and, on occasion, the SEC have been hurt. Two of their best teams have had to play another final, major game, and you've got some losers coming out of that who don't get to go where they might have otherwise. . . .
Another factor for us: Because of our geography, we don't have the luxury of having everyone being able to drive to a site. If we had a game between a state of Washington team and a state of Arizona team, you'd have a real question of how many people would travel.
I also think it's very true that the championship game could diminish the importance of the regular season. You don't have as interesting a race. You're not picking a champion based on strictly the regular season. And in two divisions, where you don' t play everyone, there's some inequity if one division is much stronger than the other.