Tag:Pac 10
Posted on: March 23, 2010 3:35 pm

Expansion-Pac 10 Wondering If It Needs It

CBS'  Dennis Dodd reported today that the commissioner of the Pac-10 has had conversations with the Big 10 and Big East about holding a championshp game with less than the NCAA-mandated twelve teams.

The article notes that there's not a lot of value for the Pac-10 adding teams.  Unlike the Big Ten, it does not have a cable network that is driving the expansion issue.   (Although, there reportedly have been talks about the Pac-10 and/or Big 12 joining forces to form one.)
Dodd's article leaves the impression though that the Pac-10 might be interested in staying at ten teams but having a championship game.  What stands in the way are NCAA bylaws that require a conference to have 12 teams to hold a conference championship.

So I'm reading this article and I'm thinking, well good luck with that Pac-10.  If I remember correctly the ACC wanted to do the same thing but was told they needed twelve teams.  That set them on the path to expansion and the Big East raid.   So why is the Pac-10 commissioner bothering to talk to the Big East and Big Ten about this?  Well they're the only BCS conferences that don't have a conference championship.  Maybe he's trying to cobble together some support to get the twelve team rule overturned?

Here's another thought.  What if the Pac-10 decided to set up a championship game that involved not one but two or more conferences?   Suppose the Pac-10 approaches the Big East and says, "Hey let's soak up some of this post regular-season, pre bowl time TV time  and maximize our TV revenue by staging a Pac-10/Big East championship?"  Now I'd include the Big Ten in this idea because it, or at least Joe Paterno and Barry Alvarez are concerned about the Big Ten disappearing from the public eye after conclusion of the Big Ten season.  Expansion, however, makes more sense for the Big Ten because of the potential for further profits from their Big Ten Network cash cow.

The Big East and the Pac-10 don't have that option.  If Dodd reports that the Pac-10 is having trouble finding schools "valuable" enough to support expansion, how do you think the Big East feels?  The Pac-10 targets could be Utah, BYU, and Colorado.  The Big East gets to look at UCF, Memphis, and East Carolina.  Now don't get me wrong, I think any of these schools could become valuable members of the Big East, just as USF, Cincinnati, and Louisville did.  "Become" is the operative word though.  They're not going to come in and immediately increase the pie.

But a Pac-10/Big East championship would increase the TV revenues of both conferences.  Some hungry network would be happy to pick it up during the week of the other conference championships.  You don't have to expand to do it.   Finally, it gets you back in the public eye during conference championship week.  Alternate the site between the Pac 10/BE champ for the first few years so you don't have the embarrassment of an empty Gator Bowl like the ACC had.  If you get a really prime matchup like a highly ranked West Virginia and USC you can always move it to a larger pro stadium nearby if deamand warrants it.  In fact most of the teams in these conferences line up pretty well with nearby pro stadiums.  Just look at the BE:  WV and Pitt- Heinz Field in Pittsburgh,  Cincy and Louisville-Paul Brown Stadium, Rutgers, UConn, Syracuse-The new Meadowlands, USF- Raymond James Stadium.  The Pac 10 already has USC, UCLA, in the LA Coliseum and Rose Bowl, Cal's Memorial Stadium seats 75,000, Stanford can play at Candlestick, Husky Stadium holds 72,500,  (Sorry Oregon, Oregon State and Washington State, you get to schlep to Seattle), and Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium and Arizona at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Now, I'm sure the bowl interests would fight this tooth and nail.  The Big Ten wouldn't like it.  But, hey, with the Big Ten's potential expansion, it' a bold new world in college football right?

Now, will this stave off expansion for both of these conferences forever?  No.  But not a bad interim step to make some money.

Posted on: March 9, 2010 5:54 pm

The Gorilla Speaks-ND Starting to Look Interested

Well that didn't take long.  Sunday I wrote that despite the recent rumblings about Rutgers being the front runner in the Big Ten sweepstakes, no one should forget Notre Dame who could decide to make a late entry at any time.  Well today Jack Swarbrick definitely left that possibility open.

"Our preference is clear," Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said Tuesday. "I believe we're at a point right now where changes could be relatively small or they could be seismic."Swarbrick said it will be up to him and university president Rev. John Jenkins to "evaluate the landscape" if realignment happens."You can each come up with a scenario that would force our hand," he told a small group of reporters at a Manhattan restaurant.

Nothing really new here.  It's just getting a lot more attention this time.

So what would this doomsday scenario be?  Well emergence of the superconference for one.  If the Big Ten, Pac Ten, and SEC all go to fourteen or more,  I think ND jumps.  Even if just the Big Ten looks like it's going to fourteen Notre Dame could jump in, just because this could decimate the Big East where Notre Dame's non-football teams reside.  So basically Swarbrick has just given the Big Ten the recipe on how to make Notre Dame jump.  Create a big enough landslide so that the tectonic plates of college football start moving.  The B10 goes to 14, Pac Ten goes to 14, SEC goes to 14, hell who's going to be left to play Notre Dame?  This nuclear option I think also spells the death of the Big East and Big Twelve as we know it.  That to me stinks.  Many storied rivalries will go down the tubes on this realignmnent.  Why?  Because $20 million per team per year is not enough for the Big Ten.  Oh well, rant over.

There may be some hope and it involves a huge game of chicken.  My bet is the Big Ten's preference is still to go to just twelve by adding Notre Dame.  So, if Delany can convince Notre Dame that the Big Ten is willing to push the button on a massive three team raid, probably on the Big East,  Swarbrick cries uncle.  So Notre Dame goes to the Big Ten, and the Big East and/or Big Twelve survive for the time being.  The Pac Ten keeps pace and adds one as well.  If it's Colorado, does Arkansas jump back to its old Texas buddies in the Big 12 and the SEC poach one from somewhere else?  Who knows?  But this isn't the big seismic shift at least.

Even if this is the present end game, one gets the feeling the Big One is still coming.  If twenty million is not enough for the Big Ten teams, the SEC won't stand for the status quo either.  The Big East and Big 12 will continue to be in the crosshairs of the other BCS conferences.  Eliminating the Big 12 and Big East from the BCS bowl picture gives the other conferences a second team to cash in on the BCS riches every year.  So even if Notre Dame finally climbs into bed with the Big Ten, that won't be the end of the story.

So when will we know?  My money's on the end of June.  When the Big East expanded last time, the original members got a "get out of jail free card" that said they could leave any time before June, 2010 with no penalty.  After that I believe it's a 5 million goodbye letter.  What a coincidence!  Isn't that what's been bandied about being the "entry fee" to the Big Ten that Barry Alvarez has been alluding to?  Should be a lot of shaking and baking before June this year.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com