I suppose my initial feelings on Washington State University (Wazzu) started with my Pac10 expansion proposal, which was the second part of my how to make life better for Cal fans (new OOC rivalry can be found here, and the Eh bowl can be found here). When Bennett left for UVa, I ruffled the feathers of many a mod with my Wazzu question/comments.
As chowder astutely pointed out in yesterday’s DBD, Wazzu is admittedly in trouble as AD Jim Stern outlined in his chat (credit GoCougs of CougCenter for breaking the story to the blogosphere):
I'd like to point out that in the 1960s WSU's membership in the conference was at stake and only a close vote saved the school from being ousted from the conference. The Pac-10 is one of the most prestigious conferences in the country and allows the WSU athletics program and the university's academic programs to be on the same field and classrooms as Stanford, UC-Berkeley, USC, etc. The athletics program at WSU is the only way this membership is achieved. Our annual budget is currently $14 million below the next lowest member in the conference. If we do not take action to create revenue and level this playing field, we may be at some point in the future be facing another vote. I will do everything that I can on my watch to prevent such an action. This is why I am pushing for Phase III of the renovation [To Martin Stadium] and am considering the Apple Cup move.
In this FanPost, we won’t argue whether Wazzu should/will leave the Pac10. We’ll look past that, fast forward to date 20XX and assume that they have left the Pac10 for either the MWC or the WAC. The question I have…is what will the “Pac10” do? In my mind, there are three options:
Retract: Wazzu’s departure leaves 9 teams (Pac9?), 8 league games, and 4 OOC games. The extra game could be spent wooing a primo BCS team or padding the win column. In doing so, this becomes more like the Big12 & SEC.
Replace: If you had to pick one team to replace Wazzu…who would it be? Avinash likes Hawaii because he wants to get lei’d. I like Boise St for their football success of the past 10 years, but they just don’t fit our conference for a variety of reasons. BYU-Cal could be a Nuclear Prop 8 War. The best school, I believe, would be the University of Utah. They have a decent basketball team (somehow got a 5 seed!), academics that would leapfrog the Oregon and Arizona schools and maybe USC, is located in an up-and-coming SLC (host city of the ’02 Olympics) with a major airline hub (seriously…best layover stop for a Chicago/Northeast bound flight?) and, most importantly, a successful football team that’s busted the BCS system twice.
Expand: I don’t have too much more to add to my previous post, but Boise St, Utah, Colorado, Hawaii (for different reasons!) and BYU are all tempting. I suppose the schools that make the most sense are Utah, BYU, and Colorado – and I’m not sold that expansion is worth it without Colorado (63 % of Buffs fans on the Ralphie Report and 80 % of Utes fans over at Block U are on board). Additionally, this might not be so much of an expansion as it could be a future replacement (I’ll let your minds wander).
Of course, if this bores you check out my NSFW All Conference Cheerleading Team.