PAC-10 EXPANSION: Utah to begin play in 2011

Larry Scott shows off his new team at a press conference in Utah today. The Utes become the 12th member of the Pac-10 and will begin play in 2011. via www.deseretnews.com

We've tried to answer the how, looking at divisional alignment, but many of you may be wonder when the Pac-12 will begin play. Some of those questions are beginning to be answered, with Utah announcing today that they'd be joining the Pac-10 in 2011.

As a side note, If you haven't welcomed Utah or Colorado to the Pac-10, hop over to BlockU (Utah) and Ralphie Report (CU). Not only have we added two great schools, but their SBN blogs are just as good.

While we thought any additions to the conference would take effect in 2012, it appears that timetable has been accelerated. This will be the last year of a true round robin and both Colorado and Utah may be brought in for the 2011 season.

Still on the table for Colorado is how to handle the Big 12 buyout. While there is no explicit bylaw detailing an exact penalty for leaving the league, the Big 12 makes it clear there will be financial repercussions. At stake is somewhere between $6-10 million in television revenues from the Buffalo's last two years in the league. The good news for Colorado is the Pac-10 has offered to soften the immediate blow on Colorado in the form of a loan. Isn't it nice having a warm welcome into a new conference?

The final attempt to stick it to the Big 12 may come from both former Big 12 North members Colorado and Nebraska. If Dan Beebe thought the two schools would roll over and pay the penalty while they were two-year lame ducks, he was probably wrong. Both the Cornhuskers and the Buffs are maneuvering to fight the buyouts. Don't cash those checks just yet Texas, Oklahoma, and A&M.

The timing of Colorado's exit hinges on how they can minimize the penalty in the long run. Since that's well above my pay grade, we'll have to wait and see how it all plays out. It is starting to look like 2011 is the year of the Pac-12, though.

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