Forget Tradition, Pac-10 Expansion a No-Brainer
They love the history of the Pac-10 and claim that the league's five sets of natural rivals (USC and UCLA, California and Stanford, Oregon and Oregon State, Washington and Washington State, and Arizona and Arizona State) not only gives the conference a perfect balance, it also makes it unique.
To Pac-10 old-school lovers, adding greedy powerhouses like Texas and Oklahoma would only generate problems.
Thankfully, first-year Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott doesn't seem to be listening to those traditionalists.
Scott, who previously worked six years as chairman and chief executive officer for the Women's Tennis Association, is not afraid of change and appears determined to move the Pac-10 forward.
"It's a direction that the CEOs clearly wanted to go when they picked Larry as our commissioner," Washington athletic director Scott Woodward told the Seattle Times.
If the league goes on and extends invitations to six Big 12 schools (Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech along with Baylor or Colorado), Scott would immediately send a message to the college football world and place the Pac-10 in a leadership role instead of one as a follower.
And no matter what Pac-10 traditionalists say, that has not been the case over the last two decades.
Despite the success USC has had under Pete Carroll, who left for the NFL earlier this year, the Pac-10 has had to face a losing battle in terms of respect when compared to other conferences around the nation, mainly the SEC.
Think about how many times a Pac-10 team was overlooked for a BCS bowl game? Or how many times a Pac-10 team suffered a double-digit drop in rankings following a conference loss? Too many times to count.
The general perception around the country holds the SEC in a higher regard. It's that simple. Just ask Oregon and Cal, which unfortunately have had to play in more than their fair share of Holiday Bowl games over the years.
That would change with a Pac-16 mega-conference. With an end-of-the-season title game, the league's champion would almost be guaranteed a spot in the BCS championship game.
OK, maybe not a lock in a national championship game but there's no denying that the winner of a souped-up Pac-16 has a much better chance playing in a BCS title game than the league's top team under its current format.
And let's not forget the money angle.
For years, Pac-10 schools have lagged behind their counterparts due to questionable television deals. But those contracts are about to expire and negotiations for the next round will start at the beginning of 2011. Leverage for the Pac-10 to generate more broadcasting rights money along with the creation of its own network only improves with any addition of teams from the Big 12.
That just adds up to too much cash to pass up for the Pac-10, which has an opportunity to boost revenue in three ways.
First, the league would be able to add money from its own championship game. Conference schools would also gain funding with more teams expecting to receive bids to play in higher profile bowls, starting with likely additional appearances in BCS games. And finally, with a big-money program like Texas in the fold, the Pac-10 would generate more money from broadcasting deals.