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Summertime in the Pac-12 means speculation time

No live sports, so let the guesswork begin

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 11 USC at Colorado Photo by Marc Piscotty/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Greetings from Dublin! (Ireland, not Ohio) If you’re reading this, you’ve volunteered to consume yet another edition of my feckin’ gobshite. I apologize for none of it.

Last week, we groused in this space about the paucity of Washington State Cougars content around the interwebs, and this week is not very different. Matter of fact, this week may be even worse! How do we know? Mostly because we’re hanging our hats once again on Jon Wilner’s musings. Desperate times do indeed call for desperate measures.

In his mailbag segment this week, Wilner answered a reader’s question about the possibility of conference expansion / contraction. If I were a betting person (and I am) I’d put my money on this question being posed by a Washington fan because those folks are dim enough to believe such a thing would happen. Wilner gave a long(ish) answer, but all he had to do was make a bigger generalization of this line.

Attempts to separate WSU from Washington would be taken up in Olympia, while a similar pursuit in Oregon would end up in Salem.

As for expansion, the only viable candidates have always been and always be Oklahoma and Texas. Rumor has it they aren’t coming.

Another question dealt with this ambiguous “Alliance” thing between the Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC. The important part of Wilner’s answer is here:

Although the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 had different reasons for voting against expansion, it appears the alliance created a level of trust and communication among commissioners that, in subtle fashion, helped bring the process to a halt.

The only thing left for the alliance to accomplish, in our view, is a scheduling agreement that would create new inventory for the conferences to dangle in front of their media partners.

Oh, Jon. Poor, naive Jon. When will you ever realize that these conferences and their commissioners are only looking out for themselves and their constituents (rightfully so)? They don’t trust each other as far as the space between their nostrils. And as far as the “only thing left”? We’ll believe it when we see it (and we will probably not see it for several years, if at all).

Elsewhere in “we’re desperate for Pac-12 stuff so let’s turn to Jon Wilner please don’t hold it against us” territory, Jon is writing a series on the Pac-12’s upcoming media rights renewal, and part 4 is hot off the proverbial presses.

The most important aspect is the projection that the schools will nearly double their annual television revenue shares, from about $21 million now to north of $40 million. That’s good! Also, as the article states, the Pac-12 will be marketing all of its content at the same time (apparently “coterminous” is a word), so it will be able to maximize the guarantee.

On the other hand, the conference will be asking for payouts from networks - principally Fox and ESPN - that are already highly leveraged with the two kings of the content game, the SEC and Big Ten. That means that the Pac-12 needs to get creative in terms of how it markets its live content. The one thing I am curious about is where CBS goes, now that it will lose the SEC cash cow. I don’t know how much, if at all, the network will look to mitigate that loss via the Pac-12, but it sure would be cool to hear the world’s best sports theme music leading into a game at Martin Stadium.

Pundits everywhere will write thousands of words on this topic between now and the announcement of a new deal, and the only certainty is that most of those words will turn out to be incorrect, mine included.

Football

Pac-12 mailbag: The chances of expansion, and contraction
From here, it’s clear the Pac-12 would only expand if new members could increase media value for the collective and maintain, or improve, the league’s competitive position.

Projecting the value of the Pac-12’s next media rights contract: Will it approach the SEC and Big Ten deals?
The Pac-12’s upcoming media rights negotiations will result in what many longtime observers consider the most important contract in conference history.

Ranking college football coaches 1-131 for 2022 season | Sporting News Hong Kong
Here are Sporting News' 1-131 coach rankings ahead of 2022 (last year's ranking is in parentheses).

Basketball

Predicting WSU's starters and how Kyle Smith divvies up minutes for the 2022-2023 season | krem.com
We took a stab at Gonzaga’s starting lineup for next season and how the staff will divvy up minutes on Wednesday. Now it’s WSU’s turn as their roster came into shape just a few days ago.

This Week in Parenting

I mentioned that we’re in Dublin, which means that, by Irish law, every living person is required to drink some Guinness. At least, that’s what I told the boys. We ventured over to Kehoe’s Pub, renowned for having the best pint of the black stuff in all of Dublin. Here goes.

Attempt #1:

And...

Could it be? Does the kid who hates all things “fizzy” actually like Guinness? Not really (he was putting on a brave face for some reason). Next up was the oldest.

Going ok so far.

Welp.

tl;dr I’m pretty sure I’ve fallen even further down the dad rankings due to this experiment. I regret nothing.

Elsewhere in our Dublin adventures, we took a free walking tour on Sunday (walking tours are criminally underrated), during which a great guide named Tara showed us around. At the beginning, she said she shares a name with the Hill of Tara, and asked the crowd if any of us know what that is. One hand went up - my teenager’s. I immediately challenged him, and he described it well enough that the tour guide was impressed, saying that he was the first person who had ever correctly identified it during one of her tours. As with the Private John Steele episode a few years ago, he made me proud while also making me feel stupid. I’ve gotten rather used to the latter.

We then ventured past the gelato stands to an authentic Irish ice cream spot, where they hand out samples as though there’s a fire sale taking place. The 10 year-old tried the butterscotch, and liked it well enough to order a scoop. Later on, as he finished up his cup, he said, “the butterscotch wasn’t very good.” “But you sampled it before ordering!” was my incredulous reply. For the first time in his life, he had no comeback.

Non-Sports

Inside a Ukrainian Military Unit Evading Russian Artillery Fire - Rolling Stone
A trip to the front lines reveal Putin’s ’scorched earth‘ strategy and the Ukrainian troops trying to hold on.

Norm Macdonald's 'Nothing Special,' filmed just before he died, is the comedian’s final Netflix offering - The Washington Post
‘Nothing Special,’ filmed just before he died, is the comedian’s final Netflix offering.