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Soundoff: Is Pac-10 Expansion A Good Idea?

Looks like our conference is trying to move its way up the pecking order among the big six, especially in terms of the football side of things. Cali49a alerted us to the story yesterday.

Utah possibly to the Pac10?

This is all speculation…but sources are telling ABC 4 Sports that Utah will be invited to join the PAC 10 conference, but not BYU. The Cougars could wind up in the Big 12…or staying put in the MWC.

Several dominoes have to fall first, but here’s how it could all play out…

The Big 10 wants to expand to a 12 team them a conference championship game in football, like the SEC and Big 12. Pittsburgh could be asked to join the Big 10..or possibly Rutgers.

The PAC 10 would then follow suit, and it would need to invite 2 schools, and it could be Utah and Colorado.

We've discussed the theoretical prospect of moving the conference from ten to twelve teams a few times on this site (mostly one commenter who also wants to demote Wazzu to Division II, but for the most part he comes with good intentions); there are plenty of pros in a pragmatic sense, although some cons come with it as well.

Well, now it looks like Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott is exploring the idea pretty seriously. Better start firing up the opinions again.

"It is really over the next six to 12 months that we'll start having serious analysis and serious evaluations," Scott said.

While there has been major upheaval in conference alignments in recent years, the Pac-10 has remained stable for more than three decades. But with a new commissioner and television deals that expire following the 2011-12 academic year, the time is ripe for a fresh look at the issue.

"To me, the logic if the Pac-10 is going to think about expanding, now is our window," Scott said. "The reason being if you're going to consider a reconstruction of the conference, there's a value proposition associated with that. Given that we're about to have negotiations regarding our media rights, it makes sense that if you're going to do it, to do it when you can monetize it and get value from it commercially."

Should the Pac-10 expand? More importantly, will it?

After the jump, take a look at some of the viewpoints our commenters espouse on the issue.

carp (the biggest Pac-12 proponent) has pointed out how the biggest flaws of the conference (relative to other big conferences) could get solved rather quickly.

Sure Utah might not have that sparkling record like in 2008. However, they’re a solid Western football program. Colorado was highly competitive until the Southwestern Conference dissolved and became the Big12S. The Big12N has practically no shot consistently winning the Big12 as currently constructed.

So, simply put the Pac-10 has four major problems:

1. Inferior television deals;

2. Weak bowl tie-ins;

3. Low revenue relative to other top conferences; and

4. Poor conference national perception.

This allows for 8 conference games (adding some matchup novelty every year), 4 OOC games, and a highly overhyped Conference Championship game against (likely) a ranked foe late in the season.

In other words, ESPN would probably be more likely to schedule games for a Pac-12 rather than a Pac-10, there would be opportunities for additional bowls and more plum matchups cross-conference, and put the conference on a more equal footing with its Eastern counterparts. Whether that'd actually happen is another story altogether, but expansion does sound like it could resolve some of these bigger issues.

concordtom explains how the Pac-10 would lose some of its singular identity if they decided to go all-out with that:

The Pac 10 is the best conference in terms of both football and basketball. In football, they play a true round robin where everyone plays everyone once. It works out perfectly. The other conferences are totally lame and chance of schedule plays into who the conference champion, which cheapens it.

In basketball, everyone plays everyone twice, once at home and once away. Again, the crowning of a Pac 10 champion is complete.

Why mess with a good thing?

Indeed, the Pac-10 would probably become similar to the Big 12 and the SEC--a few more cupcakes to fill the schedule. The conference championship game would make up for that lost round robin game. However, anything special about the Pac-10 would be lost, replaced with a more homogenous product of twelve teams, two divisions that fits the distinctions of other big power conferences.

Finally, Cali49a does point out that this might makes the BCS situation even more intractable, as we'll now have more conferences on equal footing.

I prefer to keep the Pac10 the way it is, but the conference is going to be jockeying for a new tv contract ($$$$$$) soon and having a 12 team conference with 2 divisions like the Big 12 is more appealing to the networks. The Pac10 needs to get with the times or it’s going to fall further behind the other BCS schools.

Personally, I don’t want the expansion to happen and wish the Rose Bowl would get out of its contract with the BCS. I don’t think that’s going to happen. Once again, the BCS and how it’s tied into the MNC is the biggest root of the problem.

The BCS can suck my Campanile.

What almost every reasonable college football fan wants is something other than the BCS. A Pac-12 might very well pull us away from that objective, with another extra game making it difficult for anyone to advocate playing any more games. Oh wells.

Where do you stand?