Playing With Politics

A Blog on Law, Politics, Planning, Development, and Other Vices


Posted by Roobs on June 4, 2010

This is not a blog for sports.  I don’t know enough about sports to even pretend to blog about it and i refuse to create a “Sports” category.  This is why I file this post under “Pop Culture”.  That being said, I enjoy college football and I love my California Golden Bears!!

The rumor that has been spreading hit a tipping point the other day as Pac-10 leaders seem to be hinting at the idea of expanding the conference in response to the Big Ten’s rumored expansion efforts.  Pac-10 Commissioner, Larry Scott on Tuesday was quoted saying

“It really is over the next six to 12 months that we’ll start having serious analysis and serious conversations,” Scott said about potential expansion.”

According to Zack Weilgus at the New England Sports Network, Scott meant something a little more imminent than 12 months:

He meant more like four months, as the Pac-10, in the midst of its annual spring meetings, is rumored to offer six Big 12 schools an invitation to join the Pac-10 as early as this weekend. Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Colorado would be plucked from the Big 12 and join current Pac-10 members Arizona and Arizona State in one eight-team division, and the other eight Pac-10 members would be in the other division, comprising a massive, 16-team football conference, the first of its kind.

From my understanding, the whole idea behind expansion is about money.  The bigger your conference with more quality teams means more TV time and more money for the programs and the schools that host them.  Thats what Scott is quoted saying on the ESPN website:

“It makes sense [to consider expansion], if you are going to do it, to do it when you can monetize it and get value for it commercially,” Scott said.

It also appears that some sort of Pac-10 network — it could be a partnership with another BCS conference — will get serious consideration. Scott said Weiberg’s experience building the Big Ten network was “very significant.”

“A network is absolutely one of the solutions we will look at,” Scott said.

I suppose that can make sense but come on!  Pac-16?  Two divisions?  It will be like Division 1 will be the better (and more name appropriate given Pac = Pacific) division with California, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Oregon State and Washington and Washington State and Division 2 of the Pac-16 will be Arizona, Arizona State, Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado.  That just seems so odd and uninteresting.  Not to mention it will get really confusing if the Pac-10 grows to 16 teams and the other conferences go through their own version of penis envy and start growing on their own.  The NESN website again sums up this confusing cocktail of football frenzy far better than i could ever hope to:

If the Pac-10 actually sends out those six invitations, and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe’s pleas to stay unified fall on deaf ears, here’s what will happen:

  • The Pac-10 becomes the Pac-16 with Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Colorado, Arizona and Arizona State in one division. The other division will have Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, USC, California, Washington, Washington State and UCLA.
  • Displeased that the Pac-10 just invaded its turf and scooped up an enormous portion of the southern viewing networks, the SEC will respond by offering Texas A&M — a rumor that has already been swirling, to which A&M athletic director Bill Byrne told the Houston Chronicle, “It might be [true]. You know what? It might be.”
    In need of a 14th team to even the divisions out, the SEC could entice Texas, the biggest fish in the pond, with its 15-year, $3-billion TV deals and football prowess. Mack Brown and the Longhorns oblige.
  • After Texas A&M and Texas defect to the SEC (now 14 teams big), the Pac-16 adds Baylor and Kansas State, two of the four teams remaining in the now-extinct Big 12, to replace the two original squads from the Lone Star State.
  • The Big Ten will also act swiftly if the Pac-10 sends out these invites, bringing in Missouri and Nebraska, as expected. Of the four teams without a home in the Pac-16 (Baylor, Kansas State, Kansas and Iowa State), the Big Ten salivates at the chance of adding Kansas and Iowa State, two more members of the Association of American Universities (AAU), augmenting the Big Ten’s commitment to balancing both athletics and academics. This would expand the Big Ten to 15 schools, all of which are members of the AAU.
    To keep up with its pride of all-AAU schools and in need of an even 16th, the Big Ten offers Pittsburgh a chance to leave the Big East — an opportunity the Panthers can’t refuse given the conference’s devotion to both football and basketball, as well as its own TV channel, the Big Ten Network. It likely will need to change its name to the Big Sixteen Network (which just doesn’t have the same ring).
  • With the loss of Pittsburgh, the Big East is at an awkward seven teams in football and 15 teams in basketball. The only solution is for Notre Dame to finally relinquish its spot among the Independents and join the Big East in football. It’s already a member of the Big East in basketball, and it knows that this massive expansion effort will further single them out.
    It does leave the conference with an odd number of teams in basketball, but does 1-17 DePaul really deserve to make it to the conference tournament? Of course not, so the conference could create a 14-team bracket. But if the conference insists on having all teams make the conference tournament, surely it can draft a 15-team one. It’s worth adding Notre Dame football to them — and what other choice does the Big East have? It needs an eighth football team.
  • Lastly, and least obnoxiously, Boise State heads to the Mountain West, giving the conference 10 teams and national powerhouses in the Broncos, BYU, Utah and TCU. It also could potentially replace the Big 12 as the sixth major conference in the BCS standings, though the competition would certainly be weaker from top to bottom.

Are you confused?  I know i am.  This shifting, expanding and reorganizing of college football just seems like it will create more problems that it actually solves.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love college football and i love a good rivalry.  Nothing gets my blood pumping like a good Cal/USC game.  But this doesn’t seem like its going to end well for anyone.  At least, thats just my sense on it.


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