SEATTLE -- Pac-12 Conference officials have visited eight of the 12 campus sites this spring as they prepare for the league's inaugural football championship game in December.

The conference decided last year to adopt a championship game model -- at least in the initial years of the expanded league -- in which the team with the best record will serve as host for the game.

The conference hired longtime NFL executive Jim Steeg in April to serve as director of the Pac-12 football championship game. Steeg spent 35 years in the pros and is credited with building the Super Bowl into one of the most popular sporting events in the world during his final 26 years in the league.

He visited with other conference officials and athletic directors Friday at the Pac-12 spring meetings in downtown Seattle updating them on his progress.

Boulder is one of the eight sites Steeg already has visited. There were no major red flags that came up in evaluating Folsom Field and Boulder's ability to host the game.

"Each one has got a different set of circumstances, different things that make them tick," Steeg said. "You kind of learn every step along the way. For me, it's been great because you learn so many different ways to do things other than the standard way it's done in the NFL."

Steeg plans to visit the four remaining campus sites in the coming weeks, including USC which is ineligible for the game this year because of NCAA sanctions but could host it in the future.


Fans, preseason magazines and prognosticators might scoff at the idea of Washington State, Colorado or Utah earning the right to host the game in 2011, but that doesn't get the conference off the hook from having a plan in place in case one of those teams becomes one of the major surprises of the college football season.

The game is slated for Friday, Dec. 3 with kickoff at 6:20 (MDT). That's the day Steeg said he will probably finally feel comfortable about his preparation. Playing the game on a Friday complicates the planning because traffic and parking situations are dif-ferent at each campus on weekdays than they are on weekends.

Steeg said he studies "a litany of things" in trying to prepare for each possible site serving as host. Some of the issues are complicated such as finding 1,500 hotel rooms to block out for the weekend six months in advance in every location, including smaller communities such as Pullman, Wash., Corvalis and Eugene, Ore., and Boulder.

Steeg had to do the same thing every summer with 32 NFL cities planning for the possibility that any one of those towns could host either the AFC or NFC championship games.

"We may in the case of Boulder decide to put the headquarters hotel, which might be as many as 500 or 600 rooms, in Denver with one of the bigger hotels," Steeg said. "In the case of Corvalis (Oregon State) and Eugene (Oregon), the headquarters probably goes to Portland.

"Each one of these places has a different set of circumstances to it and how it will work."

Chris Giles, Pac-12 director of business development, spent a week in Orlando in December watching Conference USA conduct its championship game featuring Central Florida hosting Southern Methodist.

Conference USA also uses campus sites to host its championship game in football.

Steeg's initial visits to each site this summer are just the beginning. He will likely return to each site several more times to analyze game operations during the season and to work with Fox Sports on the details of the broadcast.

"We're trying to really vet them to see what is realistic and what are things that are out there that need to be adjusted based on practical ways that they do business," Steeg said. "Then we're also just trying to get to know the people and the venues."