Thursday, June 03, 2010

Pac-10 Expansion Rumors

Some new Pac-10 Expansion Rumors have the Pac-10 inviting Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Colorado. Basically, they take the Big-12 south, but exchange Colorado for Baylor. (Will some politicians come to rescue Baylor this time?)

If this comes to fruition, Baylor and Iowa State will probably be in the most trouble. The other four teams could probably fend for themselves. One possibility would be a merger of the remaining teams with the Mountain West. If the 6 remaining teams could claim to be the "Big-12", they could invite Utah, BYU, TCU, Colorado State, Air Force and one other team (Boise State?) and maintain their BCS qualification.

If the Pac-10 forms a mega-conference, a more likely scenario would see the Big-10 doing so also. Nebraska and Missouri would be logical choices. Pittsburgh and Rutgers from the Big East would also be likely. Who would the final school be? Syracuse? Notre Dame? This would leave the Big East all put dead as a football conference. If the ACC is willing to jump in the mega-conference game, it could add a few of the remaining teams. South Florida could even hope that the SEC goes the mega-conference route.

As for the remaining Big-12 teams, the Mountain West conference seems like a good fit for Kansas and Kansas State. If they add Boise State, that will give them 12 members. Baylor could probably find a home in Conference USA, with Iowa State struggling to find a fit. (Perhaps the MAC will work for geographical expediency.)

However, there are a number of big why's. Why would the Pac-10 stoop so far below themselves? Texas is a good fit in everything but geography. The athletics, academics and culture all mesh well with the Pac-10. Colorado is another great fit with the Pac-10. It doesn't have a TV market as large as Texas, but Colorado is growing nicely. Texas A&M is decent, with similar academic and athletic performance, though it is culturally more conservative. The TV market would significantly overlap with Texas, but would help to lock in the state of Texas.

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are a little more dicey. They both have strong athletic records. However, they are a step below the Pac-10 academically. Oklahoma is not a big TV market. However, they do have somewhat of a national following.

Texas Tech is the big question mark. Their teams are ok. The academics are so, so. And the TV market? Well, Lubbock does rank in the top 150 TV markets. You will find some Tech fans throughout the state, but not much to worry about. Tech also breaks with the nice two-symmetry in the conference. Why not add Utah instead and get a better institutional match, along with a Colorado/Utah mountain pair. Or perhaps Air Force and get a Colorado pair.

Perhaps it is simply a plot to reduce travel. Send the Arizona schools off with the others, and you have a nice West coast mini conference that only has to head over the mountains for a championship game. Or perhaps it is an attempt to totally break the Big-12 in order to make it easier to get the prize (Texas). We will see.

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