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New Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff visits CU Buffs’ Folsom Field

Pac-12 leader discusses football, basketball scheduling

BOULDER, CO - Sept. 18, 2021: ...
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
BOULDER, CO – September 18, 2021: CU Athletic Director, Rick George, left, and new Pac-12 Commissioner, George Kliavkoff, at Folsom Field. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
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The Colorado Buffaloes hardly put on an impressive show for the new boss in the Pac-12 Conference.

It turned out that new boss’ pregame comments might have been the most interesting part of a beautiful day at Folsom Field stained by an embarrassing 30-0 defeat against Minnesota.

For the first time, new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff visited Folsom Field on game day. While the product on the field surely wasn’t what the new commish wanted to see, Kliavkoff offered more than a few interesting thoughts on the league’s new alliance with the ACC and Big Ten during a pregame media session.

Kliavkoff didn’t say exactly when new scheduling agreements will become a reality in Pac-12 football, but he did note a pending shift to an eight-game conference schedule ultimately will allow for additional national matchups for programs like Colorado.

“The North Star for the alliance that we announced with the Big Ten and the ACC when it comes to scheduling of football is what we call eight-one-one,” Kliavkoff said. “So, the Buffs will play eight conference games, one game against the ACC, one game against the Big Ten that would be home and away that would switch every year. And then the last two games Rick (George, CU’s AD) and his team would have the opportunity to schedule to make sure you have seven home games and make sure you get to play a couple teams you want to play.

“Uniquely about that is the idea that we wouldn’t be schedule 10 to 15 years in advance. Which, as an outsider coming into college athletics, never made any sense to me. What we would be doing is focusing on scheduling after the end of the previous season so we could create really interesting matchups that are in the moment.”

Although it’s difficult to speculate what exactly future CU football schedules will look like until contracts are signed and changes implemented, adding home-and-home sets with teams from the ACC and Big Ten may not force too much shuffling on the future dates already locked down by CU.

The Buffs complete a home-and-home series at the Big Ten’s Minnesota next year, and they already have home-and-home sets scheduled in the near future against the Big Ten’s Nebraska (2023-24) and the ACC’s Georgia Tech (2025-2026). There also is a home-and-home series scheduled with the Big Ten’s Northwestern (2026-27).

Except for a lone open date in 2029, the Buffs’ nonconference schedule is filled through 2030, though that will change if (or when) the league moves from a nine-game league slate to an eight-game conference schedule.

Kliavkoff also touched on basketball scheduling, noting that not only will the Pac-12/ACC/Big Ten alliance lead to early-season matchups of national intrigue, but there are plans to launch a mid-conference schedule showcase or tournament between alliance teams as well.

“For women’s  and men’s basketball, it is early-season interconference games against other alliance members,” Kliavkoff said. “And it eventually will be the creation of new events. We’re looking at those events and determining which ones will be the best for the alliance. One of the things we’re considering is whether or not to add a midseason tournament similar to what’s done in most European basketball leagues.”

Kliavkoff did decline to offer a public stance from the Pac-12 on the consideration of expanding the College Football Playoff until he visits the final two schools on his league tour.