June 7, 2010

The Pac - 10 Approves Conference Expansion Plans - Move to Expand to 16 Universities?

In a move that could herald a historic change in the makeup of the Pac-10, conference commissioner Larry Scott was given approval Sunday to pursue expansion. The approval, given by conference presidents and chancellors on the final day of Pac-10 meetings in San Francisco, means Scott can proceed with expansion plans without returning to the board for further consent.

General expansion plans focus on six Big 12 teams — Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado — to join the Pac-10. That would create two eight-team divisions: Washington and Washington State in what would essentially be the old Pac-8, along with USC, UCLA, Oregon, Oregon State, California and Stanford; and the six Big 12 teams with Arizona and Arizona State in the other division. That would set up a potentially lucrative football conference title game, the site of which potentially could alternate between the Rose Bowl and the new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.

Bob Condotta does a nice job breaking down the news in his story. 

Other views on expansion and what it means to other colleges can be found in this set of links.

"Baylor continues to make a major push to be part of any Pac-10 expansion plan with its fellow South members (Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State). In a Twitter post, Pete Thamel of the New York Times reported that Baylor "appears to have bumped" Colorado in the expansion sweepstakes.

"We'd love to see the Big 12 stay the way it is," Texas State Sen. Kip Averitt (R-Waco) told our Austin statehouse bureau today. "But if it doesn't, we want to be where the Texas schools are."
Averitt said he couldn't confirm that an effort is under way to sway Pac 10 officials, if they adopt half of the Big 12, to invite the Bears"

Salt Lake Magazine mentions that Pac -10 expansion unlikely to include Utah
"As sure as the NCAA tournament will include 124 teams (plus three play-in divisions of 12 teams each) and the SEC is about to propose using a NASCAR points system to ensure all its top-tier make it into some gerrymandered and blustery form of a BCS playoff, it's a downright gu-ar-an-tee the Pac 10 will try to make itself over into the gigantor Heidi Montag to its rival Whitney Port of the East Coast/deep south pigskin juggernaut.

At first, talk of modest expansion to 12 teams included (and, was in fact, limited to) the Utes and Colorado with the dark horse/quickly ruled-out BYU.
Made sense.

As political winds shifted, Pac 10 commissioners all but ruled out cash cow BYU based on, well... to paraphrase: "We just don't think Berkeley would go for that."
Fair enough — Cougar boosters like it or not, true or not, BYU = the school that backed Prop. 8 and those dirty old men of the Pac 10 like their politics just like they like their coastline — on the left.
No matter how deserving, looks like the Utes might not schmooze their way in either.
Justifying not kicking out upstarts Arizona and Arizona State — grandfathered into the Pac 8 more than three decades ago during its last expansion — in the wake of its decision to make muddled the musical chair post-post-partisan political shell game of who can stay and who can go, will be tough enough for this crew o'er the weekend.

Bringing in the Beehive rife with headline-grabbing firing squads, fumbled MLK Day celebration plans, proposals to change the state's name to "GlennBeckistan" and Kevin Garn's hot tub party — in spite of the rabid fan bases (which do not ascribe to the aforementioned) — in other words, ain't gonna happen.
And the Utes, unfair as it may seem, will most likely will be the odd man out."

"Iowa State University could become a 152-year-old orphan should some scenarios play out the way they could. If the Pacific-10 Conference does indeed swipe Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and either Baylor or Colorado, the Big 12 is big no more.

It isn’t BCS-big, it isn’t ESPN-big. It’s a ghost league.

Now, it would take some serious doing for the Pac-10 to pull that off. If history has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t know what to believe when it comes to conference-expansion chatter.
But let’s say the Big Ten is as serious about expansion as many think it is, and it grabs Missouri and Nebraska. Suddenly, Iowa State becomes a school without a border neighbor.

In the words of the immortal Chico Marx, thassa no good."
"So here’s the Mountain West, prepared to expand by one, but now presented with an opportunity to expand with the remaining Big 12 teams.

What’s a conference to do?

Reports have been all over the place:
  • The Mountain West could go ahead with its scheduled plan and ignore the Pac-10 report.
  • The Mountain West could hold off on expansion until the Pac-10 and Big Ten send invites, which could happen this week.
  • The Mountain West could now look to expand to 16 teams.
The Mountain West has tried to stay away from massive expansion to avoid what happened to the 16-team WAC (which ultimately created the Mountain West), but Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said the conference presidents talked about the idea on Sunday.

"At the 30,000-foot level, we talked about 16 for the first time in a long time," Thompson told media camped out in Jackson, Wyo.

So, here’s this week’s question: If you’re the Mountain West, do you wait to let expansion play out or take Boise State and look to go to 16 teams? And if the conference does wait, does Boise State fear it might be left out in the cold?

We might find out this answer later today, but I thought I’d let you all play commissioner. Now, we don’t know which teams will be available, but it looks like a four-team mixture of the potential choices -- Baylor, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State -- could be on the table. So what do you think? Should Boise State be sweating"


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