This FanPost is Part Two of a Three Part made-for-blogging mini-series. Part One is found here addressing the need for OOC Rivalry Games. Dave over at Maize n Brew (Michigan) and irish1611 over at The Ralphie Report (Colorado) put my FanPost regarding potential OOC Rivalry Games on the front page of their respective blogs (thank you!). Both schools were tired of their rivalries (Michigan-Notre Dame and Colorado-Colorado St) and welcomed the opportunity for a rivalry game with Cal. Why rivalries over random home/home sequences with other good BCS teams? Rivalries create hype which creates media exposure and increases cash flow while improving prestige. Here was my general intro to this mini-series:
For awhile I’ve been thinking about how to boost the prestige of Cal football and the Pac-10 conference. Opinions in college football count more than opinions in any other sport until computers replace humans. The Bay Area (thank goodness!) is not the South or the Midwest so it is nearly impossible for Cal and other members of the Pac-10 to surpass rural America with established programs. My friend is an OU Sooners fan and I tell him college football has the ability to make schools and states relevant. I’ve developed three ideas that are fun to think about that would help boost the image of Cal (if it wins) and the other teams involved. I welcome any comments or critiques.
2) The Pac-10 Conference Expands and Reshuffles. I’m sure there are lots of Cal fans who enjoy the 9-team round robin format and that “10” follows nicely after “Pac.” There are a lot of benefits to that and it is an easy way to establish the best team in the conference. However, the #2 in the conference gets the Holiday Bowl and that is a major drop off. The Sun, Vegas, Emerald, Poinsettia, and Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl are perceived as equivalent of one another and generally are pathetic. Only the Ivy League has had the same teams in a conference longer then the Pac-10. That matters if you like tradition. I’m proposing the Pac-10 agrees to invite two teams into the conference to make a Pac-12 (weird!).
This isn’t as crazy as it sounds. In fact in 1959, the five PCC teams (Cal, Stanford, UCLA, USC, and Washington) started talking about forming a new conference. Retired Admiral Thomas J. Hamilton interceded and suggested the schools consider creating a "power conference." Nicknamed the "Airplane Conference", the five PCC schools would've played with other big schools including Army, Navy, Air Force, Notre Dame, Penn, Penn State, Duke, and Georgia Tech among others. The effort fell through when a member of the Pentagon vetoed the idea and the service academies backed out (source). The football prowess of the service academies plummeted after Vietnam. That would have been a lot of traveling and I wonder if they ever looked at a globe.
Texas nearly joined the Pac-10 after collapse of the Southwest Conference. I thought Colorado also nearly joined but I couldn’t find any links. A Ralphie Report blogger thought 1994 was the year they almost joined the Pac-10. Utah, BYU, and TCU (Mountain West Conference) as well as Boise St. and Fresno St. (WAC) usually field solid to good football teams. Utah and BYU seem like schools that are academically on par with some of the Pac-10 universities. If invited, I think Colorado would at least consider moving to the Pac-10 to have a better shot at football glory than being in a league that has been dominated by the Big 12 South since Osborne retired. The Buffs were national champs in 1990 and I think they should be considered a program that is currently down but has history of being successful. The Buffs got rolled by Chase Daniel’s video game offense last week. Moreover, their fans are open to a move to the Pac-10 (read the comments)! An expansion, in my opinion, would require an established BCS team to come along with a non-BCS team and Colorado is the only school that makes sense from so many different angles.
So who to choose out of Utah, BYU, Boise St, Fresno St., Hawaii, TCU, and New Mexico?
Likeliness of defection:
Boise St. > Fresno St. > Utah > BYU >> Colorado > TCU.
Likeliness of Invitation:
Colorado > Utah > BYU > Boise St. = TCU > Fresno St.
Let’s start with the WAC since they are the most fragile. No way would 4 California Pac-10 schools feel good about Fresno St joining their BCS conference (Oregon as well for that matter). Boise St, which has built an impressive program, doesn’t really fit academically and I would argue isn’t well rounded athletically. Hawaii and New Mexico aren’t good enough (next!). TCU has access to Texas talent and plays in a weaker conference. I doubt they’d like to move and they are significantly more east than any other school. BYU and Utah make the most amount of sense from an academic, geographic, and athletic perspective. BYU is a good school but the Pac-10 only has ‘Furd and $C as the other private institutions; the ‘furd isn’t doing so hot and $C has loose academic standards (well, they also have loose women so it’s not all bad!). Frankly, BYU could get its ass handed to it in the new Pac-12, much like the ‘furd. A Utah fan suggested that the TDS (Team Down South; BYU) is very well off financially (on the order of Notre Dame) and that they have national recruiting capabilities since it is Mormon U. I’d counter that ‘furd is only behind Harvard in terms of cash flow and that hasn’t solved all of their problems.
From a scholastic perspective, Utah and Colorado make the most amount of sense. The Chancellor’s at both schools should feel good about rubbing elbows with the likes of UW, UCLA, Cal, and ‘furd. Utah’s fans have been talking about this already over at Block U and they are on board. In fact, they’ve talked about it three other times (see links within the comments of that FanPost).
I’m doing this assuming all of the athletic programs will compete in the Pac-12. There is precedence for a school having different conferences for football and everything else. If I ruled the land (hey, it’s my FanPost!) I would love to take Colorado and Utah. I might settle for one of Boise St/BYU and Colorado. I mean Wazzou and ASU are also Pac-10 teams so Boise St. shouldn’t feel like the dumb kid in the room.
You might be wondering if non-BCS teams can compete regularly with BCS teams. UofA and ASU were once WAC powerhouse teams, too. I think a school like Utah would have less of a chance at losing a coach like Urban (Rban) Meyer if Utah was a BCS team in the Pac-12. Utah, Boise St., and TCU are ranked very high right now. BYU had Corso and Herbstreit drooling not that long ago. These teams, I believe, are ready for BCS caliber play and will help reduce the number of weird non-BCS buster teams.
Hell, I’d almost dump Wazzou and add Utah, Boise St/BYU, and Colorado. I don’t care about Bledsoe, Price, or Leaf…Wazzou is an embarrassment to the Pac-10 right now. A move might be best for both Wazzou and the Pac-10/12.
Why expand, you ask?
This would allow us to make Pac-12 North and South or West and East divisions…much like the Big 12 N/S and SEC W/E. To compete with superiors we need to be like superiors and that means an over-hyped Conference Championship game, more OOC games to keep interest and intrigue high, and have bloated rankings so conference L’s don’t hurt so bad (see Big 12 S).
Washington St./Boise St./BYU
U$C (farthest east out of all of the other West schools)
I think the W/E divisions are more equivalent than the N/S divisions. The N looks too weak to me. We don’t want the Big 12 N/S disparity but I could be overrating Cal, UCLA, and ASU.
Each team plays each other in their division with two randomly scheduled cross-divisional games (7 conference games). This is followed by a Pac-12 Championship game. This will allow for 5-6 OOC games (the Big East has six OOC games I believe!). Rivalries, such as the Apple Cup and the Victory Bell, could be scheduled in lieu of an OOC game but would count as a non-conference game (hey, L’s still matter!). This flexible OOC schedule with 5-6 open dates will allow for Utah and Colorado to play TDS (BYU) and Nebraska, respectively. The Pac-12 will require that each team plays at least two OOC BCS teams (and no FCS teams!) in their schedule and with 5-6 open dates this should be easy. I’d be interested in hearing others scheduling ideas.
Conference prestige would be increased with two respectable football programs (perhaps three if we dump Wazzou and add Boise St/BYU). Combined this with a new OOC Rivalry Game and we have a conference that has the potential to compete with the SEC and the Big-12 while distancing itself from the Big-11, the Big East, and the ACC. What happens to the WAC, Mountain West, and or Big 12 conferences? Not sure. They can figure it out just like the Big East figured it out when VaTech, The U, and BC left for the ACC not that long ago. The Big-12 could dump Baylor and become the Big-10 that actually has 10 teams in it. The Mountain West or WAC can have Wazzou and Baylor (and who cares, really?). Defecting is rather easy: a conference invites them and the team/school agrees to leave. I might even be open to welcoming the four non-BCS teams in the Pac-10 that are excelling right now (BYU, TCU, Utah, and Boise St.) and having a Pac-14 (but only if we dump Wazzou and add Colorado). That would remove nearly all of the non-BCS busters (I do not believe in Tulsa or Ball St). However, I think it helps to bring Colorado’s street cred to this effort and adding four (!) non-BCS teams is a little scary when we already have an FCS team (Wazzou). I’d much rather have a Pac-12.
More teams mean less dollars to go around and college football is a huge cash cow. A Buffs fan pointed out that the Big 12 brings in more revenue than the Pac 10 currently does. I have no idea if that is true or not. However, this would put college football teams in nearly every major market in the West (LA x2, Bay Area x2, Seattle, Phoenix area, Denver area, Salt Lake City, and some could argue the greater Portland area. Moreover, this increases the likeliness of having two teams in the lucrative BCS bowls in addition to having a Conference Championship game late in the season between two good (perhaps ranked) teams. I think BCS victories give the conference on the order of $15 million/game (is this right?). The current Pac-10 has proven twice that it can’t get into two BCS bowls/yr (#4 Cal of ’04 and #13 ASU of ’07, the latter of which fell 7 spots in the polls from the previous week following a victory). How the revenue generated from the new Pac-12 would compare to the old Big-12?
Decisions like this have to be made carefully (see the ACC). I bet I’m violating some big no-no’s and I’m sure AD’s and Commish’s have safety nets in place. Pretend I just cut the nets. Feel free to add your thoughts and ideas to this and be sure to vote in the poll if you’re a Cal fan. I’ll have polls at your SBN blogs for fans from other schools. A decision of this magnitude needs input from other Pac-10 teams so I’ll post similar things at the schools that have entered the 21st century and have SBN blogs (I’m looking at you ‘furd!). This includes ATQ, Conquest Chronicles, House of Sparky, Bruisnation, Building the Damn, UW Dawg Pound, and CougCenter, as well as Block U and The Ralphie Report. I also e-mailed Dr. Saturday (formerly SMQ), Ted Miller, and Jon Wilner to get their input.
I’ve addressed OOC and conference games…it will soon be time for my last idea that I’ll release in the coming days.
I am carp and I approve this FanPost.