To Grow Or Not To Grow
The Pac-10 expanded this year to become the Pac-12, adding Colorado and Utah to an already packed conference. In fact, Pac-10 fans are still having a hard time saying Pac-12. But as we get used to this current change, there is speculation brewing that more changes are coming and that the Pac-12 will soon become the Pac-16.
Many people have argued for it, many against it. Others ask how will the 16 teams be aligned and how the conference division would work. Here are the pros and cons and the possible new look of the possible expansion and what it could mean for The Conference of Champions.
I’ll start with the naysayers.
Adding the proposed 4 teams could spell trouble for teams already struggling in the conference. With more competition of championship caliber, it will make it harder for those teams to succeed, thus limiting their programs. People ask about revenue money and about the advantage the newly created Longhorn Network gives Texas. Others worry about the domino effect of teams leaving their original conference to join new ones, and the eventual destruction of those conferences. They argue the history, the rivalries and the tradition will die.
Let’s try and put those minds at ease, shall we?
The Pac-12 has a revenue sharing program already in place, much like the NFL‘s supposed revenue sharing program, but this one works. Teams actually get equal amounts of money, if you can believe that. Although Texas does have an apparent advantage with it’s Longhorn network, they may have to split revenue from that venture with the rest of the conference as well. Those details are still being hammered out, it seems. Longhorn Network, though, would still air and feature Pac-16 coverage, rather than just Texas by itself.
As for the competition against the struggling schools, it is what it is. Schools will sink and schools will float no matter what the conference looks like. With the new demographics of the conference, though, these struggling schools could potentially strike gold with new recruiting opportunities and bring some prestige back to their programs. With more teams in the conference comes more revenue. More revenue means more scholarships. With more scholarships comes more players. See where I’m going with this?
As for tradition and history, it will still be there. Things change, that is the eventual way of life and people need to learn to deal with it. The only history being removed in this supposed move is the loss of Texas A&M. From the sounds of it, the 4 new schools don’t mind it one bit, so why should you? Adding them to a bigger conference will bring about new rivalries for years to come.
Now, for the good side of the situation.
Like I mentioned earlier, more teams means more money. Schools can use this money to recruit more players from new areas and use the money to help their programs and upgrade their facilities. More teams also means more opportunities to recruit from new areas.
Texas is rich with great football players and teams could find themselves landing more talent from further East.
Expansion will also most likely bring more automatic bowl bids. The Pac-16 would get to send even more schools to bowls, also meaning more revenue for everyone, especially the schools who make those bowls. The Conference of Champions would have a much larger chance to bring even more of those titles back home.
For the faithful Pac-10 fans, this will also help us with our long-standing argument against other powerful conferences who say they’re the best. This will help with media bias of West Coast teams and establish some more recognition for a mostly looked over conference of teams who already challenge each year for top honors. 4 more schools would bring even more prestige to this conference and can only add to the value of it.
And for those wanting to just see good football, this is a great opportunity. Can you imagine seeing the likes of Oregon and USC taking on Texas and Oklahoma every 2 or 3 years? It wouldn’t be an over-hyped non-conference game anymore and would bring a lot more added excitement to these games.
The alignment of the schools has already been speculated as 4 groups of 4 teams with the team with the top conference record going to the conference championship game. The 4 new schools would be in their own division within the conference and would play a different division of 4 teams each year on top of the teams in their division. With Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State already in a division this leaves the 12 other teams to be sorted out.
I See 2 Scenarios
I see Washington, Washington State, Oregon and Oregon State being a conference in both scenarios. The other 8 teams could be a toss up. Do they throw the California schools (Stanford, Cal, USC, UCLA) into a division with each other and then have Utah, Colorado, Arizona and Arizona State grouped up or do they group them for a north/south setup? In that case, we would see Stanford, Cal, Utah and most likely Colorado grouped together, with USC and UCLA grouped up with Arizona and Arizona State.
The possibility of added excitement to a conference already filled with powerhouses and rivalries gives lots of hope to the future of this conference. I, for one, am excited at the possibility. Expansion or no expansion, this just brings us face to face with the reality that things change. I’ve laid out the supposed plans and changes for you to assess for yourself. What do you think?
If this happens, though, it will happen quickly. Look for an announcement in the next week or two if this will or won’t happen.