Expansion: The Pacific 16

I promised to avoid expansion talk this summer until there was something more than speculation on the table.  I’m breaking that promise, because the latest rumor is just too juicy to resist.

The Pac 10 is prepared to invite six Big 12 schools to join the conference, according to Rivals.com and its sources.  It’s not the number of teams that grabs my attention.  It’s who they are.  If the report is correct, the invitees will be Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Colorado.

Such a merger between the six Big 12 schools and the Pac-10 would build a conference with seven of the country’s top 20 TV markets (Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco, Houston, Phoenix, Seattle and Sacramento). And such a league would likely command attention from every cable system in the country and command a premium rate from every cable system west of the Mississippi.–Rivals.com

Even the traditionalist with longstanding love for the current membership and round robin format, like myself, would salivate at the thought of this occurrence.  With the Big 10’s obvious intentions to expand, and the SEC possibly looking to tack on a couple more programs, ignoring this option and the opportunity it provides would be asking to be left behind.

The Pac 10 has often been a victim of its own marketing failure.  In a six horse race with each stallion showing identical numbers, it’s the most popular and recognizable breed collecting more votes for a championship run.  Expand the conference and the market and you increase national recognition and the chance for votes to be cast in your favor.

Of course, Money is at the root of it all, and the potential draw is astronomical.  More money leads to better facilities and enables the hiring of top rate coaches.  Put it all together and the ugly duckling of a conference has grown into a swan, appearing even more attractive to the nation’s top high school prospects.—We’ve learned something from the SEC, haven’t we?

Another thing to consider is the door opening for Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron to recruit Texas.  I’m all for it, until someone can list all the negatives that will be created by the new bond.

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~ by Anthony on June 3, 2010.

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