SBN Pac12 Sites Roundtable the Expansion

Yes, roundtable is a verb now.  I just did that.  Just right now.  We can even conjugate!  Roundtabling.  Having had roundtabled.  It works great in the pluperfect subjunctive.

And it works great when the SBN Pac12 sites get together for an expresso-fueled rants about expansion.  Expansion really sucked all the oxygen out of the site for a few weeks there.  Everything was expansion this and expansion that.  There was a real immediacy to it that made it difficult to look at the bigger picture.  Rumors abounded and one Chip Brown sold a buttload of subscriptions to what I can only assume was Rolling Stone magazine.  They get *all* the scoops!

Now, with the historic perspective of approximately two weeks, us SBN Pac12 sites can provide that bigger picture.  We can take that step back and look at all the angles on this one.  So, follow us after the jump to see what some of your favorite sites, like Addicted To Quack and more from Addicted To Quack, had to say.  I knew that Addicted To Quack was great for more than just eye candy!  GO BEARS!

Nuss from CougCenter: Let's just say we Coug fans are tickled pink by this expansion. I was against it initially because of, you know, all that tradition crap -- round robin, true champion, blah blah blah. But that was before I realized just how badly WSU needed money. Suddenly, I was changing my tune. Sixteen teams? Bring it on!

Of course, that didn't work out. But expanding to 12 teams will undoubtedly lead to a substantial increase in revenue for the conference, which will lead to increased revenue for WSU. And while I thought initially that six-team divisions were kind of stupid and contrived, I've warmed incredibly to the idea of being in the same division as the other northwest schools. Not that anything will be on the line in that way for WSU for some time, but someday maybe ...

 

Avinash from CGB:  It had the conference championship game, the unbalanced divisions (Texas and Oklahoma have won, what, the last eight to ten conference titles?), but still a general level of respect from playing by the BCS's rules. We, on the other hand, had USC and the nine dwarves and no one paid us much heed. Now the tables have turned!

Yeah, Colorado and Utah aren't King Kong, but people miss the bigger picture. We have a twelve team conference, a title game, and a little more leeway when it comes to wins and losses. Most importantly, we earn a chance to play a final title game on the last week of the season with the rest of the big boys, something that matters a lot when working our way up the BCS totem pole (which is pretty much what this whole game has been about, right?).

And if I'm thinking along the lines of Commissioner Scott's overall goals, I doubt we're done with expansion. It's been delayed, but any more steps we can make toward a bigger conference bring us closer to a playoff and the most coherent system to decide who the best team in the country is.

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via 3.bp.blogspot.com

AndyPanda from Building the Dam: think the 12 team format we wound up with is the best reasonable solution available at this time. And it strikes a balance between mass expansion and the traditionalists, which, since they also happen to include a number of top contributors to the various programs, shouldn't be totally ignored.

While not huge, the Denver and Salt Lake markets are a significant addition, and they are growing.

Like many, I think long term, Texas would be a problem. They would try to take over, and probably succeed. If they didn't, they would eventually jump ship.

Being at 12 with these specific additions also positions the conference well for the next realignment cycle down the road. The Big XII-II could well be headed for another serious problem in another contract cycle or two, with possibly valuable fallout to others. And despite some of the obvious issues, long term, the Mt. West, and even Fresno St. and Nevada, are potentially viable future considerations. The Pac-12 will be agile enough to still go in a lot of different directions depending on what happens.

The addition of the football conference championship game is the crucial accomplishment. The next one will be adding at least one, preferably two, bowl tie-ins, though that second one may take a while, and maybe some creativity. Larry Scott and the consultants he hires were put in place to be creative, though, so I see that as just a matter of him doing his job, rather than something that should prove to be a big problem.

I think the key to the divisional alignment fuss, which may be already settled anyway, but could still be a sore spot, is to play 9 conference games, not 8.

That allows everyone in the opposite division from the LA schools, which it appears will be the bay area and northwest schools, two trips to LA, and two visits from LA, every three years, which will come much closer to satisfying everyone than two trips and two visits in four years, when combined with the conference championship game's exposure, and payoff.

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"They are going to have to update this *and* include two new coaches!" via s2nblog.files.wordpress.com

It is also important to understand the difference between the culture of football in the other big divisional conferences and the Pac-10/12 when evaluating the issue of 9 games vs. 8.

In the SEC, there are ample local pushovers to fill four non-conference schedules with three home games and a blockbuster, AND Florida, LSU, Alabama, etc. will sell out if they schedule a Division II opponent. Only Oregon and maybe Washington if they get rolling again, consistently sell out, and for many of the Pac-12, four non-conference games will often mean two road games, and it is already a problem to fill three games. Witness ASU this year. That ninth Pac-12 game will be the most valuable property that can be delivered to Pullman, Corvallis, Palo Alto, Tucson, and probably Salt Lake and Boulder, especially in years they do not have a divisional championship contender. Probably even Berkeley and Westwood.

I think the zipper approach would be a colossal mistake, marketing wise. It would confuse and aggravate the marginal and distant fan, which are the ones the conference is trying to attract. Because these are the swing viewers. There is no need to hold onto those of us that are deeply dedicated to our teams and conference, we are staying anyway.

I also think getting going in 2011 would be the right thing to do, EVEN if there are temporary complications with the existing TV contracts. It is important (read valuable) to get the fan base energized and keep them that way, again, for the less than 100% devoted fan, the ones we are trying to reach.

 

 

TwistNHook from CGB: If we lose annual games with UCLA or USC (especially our Southern branch), I will be upset. And I doubt I will be alone.


AddictedToQuack from Addicted To Quack: I was all pumped for the 16 team conference at first, partly because I loved the idea of Texas and Oklahoma coming in on a regular basis, and partly because I loved what basically amounted to a return to the old Pac-8, but once it became clear what Texas really was, I'm glad the whole thing fell through.  Its evident that the whole thing would have lasted maybe a decade before the Texas schools and California schools got in a giant dick measuring contest.

 
Now, onto the divisions.  Its pretty clear that north/south is the only way to go, and its pretty clear that the Washington/Oregon/NoCal schools are going to be the north, while the SoCal, Arizona, and new additions are going to be in the south.  There is the idea that the NW schools will throw a fit about not being able to go to southern california every year, and how bad that will be for recruiting, but I think that's overrated.  The key is to be on TV in that market, and one would think that our new TV contract will ensure that for any team that is competitive (sorry Washington State).  I know Cal is freaking out about losing their annual games with the SoCal schools, but, everybody's going to lose something that they want in this deal.  Everyone wants to play USC every year, but there are sacrifices to be made.  Everyone will play their geographic rival every year, and Oregon will get to play Washington every year, so I'm generally pretty happy.  The 'zipper' idea is a joke.  Not only does it make it confusing for casual fans but, in a year like last year, Oregon and Oregon State would play the Civil War, then play again the next week in a CCG.  You have to avoid that scenario like the plague, because it will guarantee that the CCG is a failure.

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"We get to do this to new teams now!"  via imgs.sfgate.com

 

Utah is a good football school, Colorado will be again.  Solid additions, solid markets.  As long as we get a Pac-10 network, I'm good.


JazzyUte from BlockU: Shocker! I approve of the expansion plans. I think Utah will make a fantastic entry into the Pacific-Ten (Twelve) and am excited to see what we can do with BCS status.

 
For most Ute fans, this has been a dream. We've talked amongst ourselves for years about the potential of being invited to the P-10 - but it seemed every hint of a chance was soon derailed. Well now we've got our chance and I'm sure we'll make the best of it.
 
Of course, it isn't a surprise Ute fans would want this move. Being stuck in the Mountain West in 2004 and 2008 kept us out of championship consideration. We know that if another undefeated season happens, it's very unlikely we're left out. So we've believed for quite some time now expansion was the right move. We're now glad it happened.
 
On the Pac-Ten side, I'll readily admit there are some questions. Utah isn't the most desirable place in the western United States and there is certainly a stigma attached to its name. We also compete with BYU, a religious institution that does dominate the state. With that said, Salt Lake is untapped. It is not a Pac-Ten market and has never been a Pac-Ten market because outside of the Arizona schools, neither the Cougars or Utes have had any real connection with the current Pac-Ten teams.
 
Opening that market up will boost the conference because it is one of the largest untapped markets in the western United States. Granted, it is assumed the Cougars own the market, but I believe this to be untrue. Utah has grown its fan base by a wide margin in the twenty or so years they've been able to go toe-to-toe with BYU. Yes, the Cougars still have an advantage because of their affiliation with the LDS Church and success in the 1980s. But it's important to point out that prior to the 1970s, when LaVell Edwards took over down in Provo, the Utes were the dominant team in the state. Hell, BYU wasn't even second. That was Utah State. Their stadium only sat roughly 30,000 fans and they only managed to expand their base by winning. That with being an LDS school in a state with an even larger LDS population than it has now.
 
Well that's exactly what Utah has done over the last twenty years. They've won and bested BYU almost in every aspect since the 80s ended. The Cougars are good and I expect them to remain good, but they're not great and they haven't been great since probably 1996. Utah, though, has had two seasons that a good number of college football programs will never experience. Over time, that success has been able to create a solid foundation for the program and has really pushed it in front of BYU this last decade. That's important because I believe with the Cougars remaining in the Mountain West and Utah now finding itself in the BCS, the margin will only widen.
 
The beauty of this market argument is the fact that a great deal of BYU fans are casual fans. They're not entirely disgusted with Utah and won't have any problem watching them on television. I know this because KSL - which is BYU's flagship station here - did a poll in 2008 that showed 51% of Utahns considered themselves Ute fans. Only 43% said they cheered for BYU. Now I'm sure that number varies from year to year depending on success, but overall, when Utah is doing something the Cougars aren't (whether it's going to the BCS Bowl or now playing in a BCS league), those casual fans often drift toward the U.

 
Which really cuts into the argument that the Salt Lake market isn't viable for the Pac-Ten because BYU is a team that dominates the state. When you look at it rationally, without a bias (and I know that might not be possible on my end), it isn't hard to admit fans here - whether they cheer for BYU or not - would probably be inclined to watch Utah take on SC or Cal or UCLA or Colorado. Now they've got a connection. Before, like I mentioned, they didn't. There was no connection. None of us here in Utah, beyond the small number of outsiders who continue to cheer for their home team, really invested a great deal into what Oregon and Oregon State and Cal and Stanford and Washington did because it didn't matter to us.
 
But now, even for BYU fans, those games mean something. The drapes have been pulled open and I suspect it won't be only Ute fans peering through the window.
 
Because of that, I believe it's already an advantage for the Pac-Ten. It's a market they can exploit and it isn't like they're not getting a return investment on the athletic side. It's not like Colorado where the Pac-Ten is getting a program with great potential, but limited success these last ten years in the two important sports. We've got a solid football team. A team that is probably ready to step right in and win. Our basketball team has struggled lately, but their history of success should provide little concern to Pac-Ten programs that have, over the years, fantastic basketball teams (UCLA, Arizona, Washington State, Washington and Oregon).
 
Overall, this is a good move. The Pac-Ten is stronger today than it was this time last year. Utah has always had the potential to be a great program and it took a while to reach that potential, but once they did, they've not looked back.
 
The Pac-Ten offers another chapter in their ever expanding endeavors.
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