Good morning. Most of you surely recall the late spring of 2010, when relatively new Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott aggressively pursued a plan that probably would have altered the college football landscape forever. Scott wanted to create the first superconference in the land by inviting Big 12 members Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado to form a 16-team league.
Reports seemed to change by the minute, as things constantly shifted from “the Pac-16 is imminent” to “Texas A&M isn’t going west with Texas” to “the Big 12 is disintegrating oh wait hang on the Big 12 is fine but poor Dan Beebe is gonna get crucified” and everything in between. And can you imagine the proliferation of misinformation had Twitter been the medium it is today, and not the relatively nascent platform it was back then?
The fine folks over at The Athletic published a series of conference expansion-related articles this week, and the keystone was David Ubben’s piece examining the machinations of Scott’s daring move to expand into Texas and Oklahoma. I remember thinking at the time how cool it would be to have a conference that spanned from Washington to Texas, while simultaneously returning to WSU’s old Pac-8 roots, seeing as how the western division would have featured the Pac-8 schools.
Apparently Bill Moos and his fellow athletic directors didn’t feel the same way.
For smaller athletic departments like Washington State, there was concern about being lost in the shuffle competitively in a 16-team league. Like the Big 12, the Pac-12 didn’t operate under equal revenue sharing, and the Cougars had already been living with budget gaps between programs like their own and those in bigger markets like Los Angeles.
“I was at the table, and as I recall, it was not a direction we were real excited to go,” said then-Washington State athletic director Bill Moos, who now occupies the same job at Nebraska. “Among the ADs, it was heavily in favor of not going to 16.”
I...uh...I just don’t agree with that. In my opinion, smaller programs like WSU would have benefitted the most, because I am certain that equal revenue sharing (which the Pac-12 agreed to) would have been a part of any rights deal. And can you imagine the financial windfall from a TV deal that included the rights to broadcast USC, Texas and Oklahoma? It would have been staggering, and I guarantee you that the conference’s network would be on DirecTV today.
I also think it would have been fun to see Texas and Oklahoma travel to Pullman every now and again (I assume there would’ve been two crossover games per year, in addition to the seven division games). How about Bevo setting up shop near the east endzone? How cool would that be? Oh, and there’s that little ol’ issue of a Mike Leach return to Lubbock. Probably wouldn’t gain much attention.
Texas was always the long pole in the tent, and whatever they decided was the path the rest of the schools were going to take. Ultimately, I believe their goal was to leverage their way into a deal for the Longhorn Network, using talks with the Pac-12 as leverage. Things certainly worked out well for them in that regard. That said, this quote by former Texas AD DeLoss Dodds struck me as incredibly disingenuous:
“Bottom line, every time we met as a staff and talked about our kids having half of their competition on the West Coast and being on airplanes all the time, we just felt like that wasn’t the right thing,” Dodds said. “I never got to the point where I thought (the Pac-16) was the right move. We had staff meetings with 10 or 12 people in a room. We started every meeting by asking, how would this affect the kids? And the end result was just not good.”
Give me a break. First of all, the teams would absolutely not have been playing half of their games on the west coast. Even for basketball, there would probably have been two road trips per season to a west coast city. Football would’ve had one. Texas’ furthest intra-division trip would have been to Salt Lake City, which is 100 miles CLOSER TO AUSTIN than Morgantown, WV.
This strikes me as Dodds trying to make it look like he had the best interest of the student-athletes in mind, while in all likelihood his primary goal was to maximize the revenue stream for his school. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but hiding behind the “interests of the kids” by using nonsensical logic raises a giant BS flag with me.
One thing that would have been incredibly compelling was the food fight that would’ve occurred had everyone but Texas A&M accepted the Pac-10’s invitation. Would the Pac-10 have taken Baylor (God I hope not)? Kansas? Utah? I’m sure there were reports at the time indicating Scott’s contingency plan, but there’s probably no way - given how often the tides changed over a couple weeks - to know how accurate any of the reports were.
The biggest winners during this turbulent offseason were Utah, TCU and West Virginia, who either escaped a sinking ship (WVU) or were thrown a lifeline to a Power Five league due to all the moving pieces (Utah and TCU). The biggest loser was then-ESPN employee Joe Schad, whose long list of garbage reporting went to another level when he said that Texas was going to the Pac-10 and the Big 12 was finished.
Scott made another half-hearted attempt to bring in Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State the next year, but it was pretty obvious that Texas wasn’t going anywhere. There was even talk of Oklahoma and OK State heading west on their own to form the Pac-14. Speculation was that Oklahoma, and of course OK State, would have left the Big 12 if the Pac-12 had invited them, but the Pac-12 CEOs decided against it.
Admittedly, a Pac-14 would have seemed a little awkward at first, but like everything else, we would have gotten used to it pretty quickly. And heck, maybe Scott reaches out to the Kansas schools to get to 16. Plus, Oklahoma’s presence in the conference would have driven TV rights deals quite a bit higher. Alas, it wasn’t to be. But at least we still get to look at that picture of the absurd placard next to Larry Scott, where the Utah and Colorado logos are obviously gerrymandered to make it look like they’re south of the Bay Area schools. Just another in a long line of league office gaffes, in which they pretend like they’re smarter than the rest of us.
In 2019, which version of the conference do you wish existed?
This poll is closed
The current Pac-12 is perfect
Give me a Pac-16 with the ‘Horns and Sooners
Screw Texas, but bring on OU and the Pac-14 (or even the Jayhawks and a different Pac-16)
Bring back Tom Hansen and the Pac-10, then see yourself off my lawn.
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This Week in Parenting
It was an odd week, as we had just one kid in the house. But on Saturday, seven days, four merit badges, two showers and God knows how many French fries later, the prodigal 10 year-old returned from Croatia (with all of the stuff he left with no less!). No fatted calves were harmed, but mom was thrilled to have both boys back under one roof, and little brother had dearly missed the primary target of his torment.
The conversation on the drive home from the pick-up spot was quite lively, and the 7 year-old dove right in, describing to big brother about how he got sick and threw up, proudly boasting that he “made it all the way to the toilet, unlike you when you threw up in your bed a couple weeks ago.” That’s quite the thing to brag about, I guess.
Old Man Yells at Cloud
When you’re stationed overseas, you have a P.O. box on base as your primary means to receive mail. I drop by the post office a couple times per week to pick up whatever junk mail is in my P.O. box, and I get upset every damn time. Why? Well, the parking lot features angle parking, and damned if there aren’t scores of rubes who pull forward to the space in front of them, thus ruining the whole point of angle parking.
So imagine my joy this Friday when, upon arriving in the parking lot, I spied these glorious little beauties placed between each spot.
Seems to me that someone else was sick of people being stupid at something as simple as correctly parking a car, and that someone had the purse strings to do something about it. Hallelujah. On a related note, if you pull forward through your space and face the wrong way in an angled parking lot, you suck. Stop sucking.
Best beer I had this week: I hadn’t cracked open a Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel in quite some time, so I had one on Saturday and I was reminded why it’s one of my favorite Belgian beers. It also happens to originate in Brugge, Belgium, which is one of Europe’s coolest cities.
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