Larry Scott and the Pac-12 are working feverishly to get the Pac-12 Network up and running this summer. Stewart Mandel has an extensive piece on what the network means to the visibility of the conference--for both olympic and revenue sports. Best of all, he has some quotes from an excited Marshawn Lynch.
Standing in the cold, gutted 70,000-square foot space of a downtown San Francisco office building, Lynch was noticeably giddy about the opportunity.
"I like the idea of the network," said the running back from nearby Oakland. "I kind of lost touch with my Cal Bears roots on the East Coast for four years [with the Buffalo Bills]. We might get a game or two every so often, but I never really got to watch the guys I'd built relationships with."
Predicaments like his are precisely what Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott set out to eradicate upon his July 2009 hiring, but last year's 12-year, $3 billion conference deal with ESPN and FOX was just the beginning. If all goes according to plan, there will be seven new Pac-12 cable networks -- one national, six regional -- on the air starting August 15. Together they will combine to air 850 live events next year, including every football and men's basketball game not aired by one of the league's partners.
And they won't just be showing the games on television, either.
"Everything that's on the Pac-12 Network, from day one, is going to be available on your iPad or on any mobile device," said Scott.
Scott and the growing staff of Pac-12 Enterprises -- which will encompass the TV networks, a conference digital network and a sponsorship department -- have just over six months left to pull off what can certainly be considered the most ambitious sports start-up venture to date. Pac-12 Enterprises President Gary Stevenson, who helped launch Golf Channel in the mid-'90s, began the job last fall, scouting potential headquarter locations (they settled on San Francisco in November) and hiring an executive team. He currently has about 25 employees on staff and is looking to add roughly 100 more between now and launch day.
After the jump basketball sweeps the Pac-12 Player of the Week awards and Cal stays put in the latest bracketology.
- Justin Cobbs was named Pac-12 Player of the Week. He combined for 38 points and 21 assists to help lead the Bears to a sweep of the Oregons. Justin is the first Bears to win the award since Jamal Boykin won it in March of 2010.
- Layshia Clarendon also earned the Pac-12 Player of the Week award. She had 49 points and 10 rebounds in the Bears' pair of victories over the Oregon schools. The last Bear to win the award was Gennifer Brandon, who earned the award earlier this season.
- Cal climbed from 36th to 29th in the RPI ratings. Two Pac-12 teams broke the top-60, Washington (54) and Oregon (55). Cal is 28th in the coaches poll and 34th in the AP poll.
- Cal stays put as a 9-seed opening the tourney in Omaha against Southern Miss, with a potential second-round matchup against Missouri. Elsewhere in the Pac-12, Arizona drops to a 12 seed and Washington climbs to an 11 seed. Oregon is among the first four out.
- ESPN breaks down the impact of the Pac-12's perceived weakness on its bubble teams. Thankfully, they believe Cal is a definite tournament team.
- Cal finished the weekend series with a 9-3 win over Pacific. The Daily Cal has a photo gallery from the game.
- The top-ranked Bears notched a mercy victory against their toughest opponent of the weekend, no. 24 LSU. Cal had two six-run innings to put the game quickly out of reach of the Tigers.
- Valerie Arioto brought home another Pac-12 Player of the Week award.
- Cal opened the season with an 18-6 win over Saint Mary's. Melissa Humphrey tied a single-game school record with 9 goals and set a new single-game school record with 6 assists.