DAYS UNTIL FALL CAMP BEGINS: 7
DAYS UNTIL CAL VS. HAWAII: 33
THINGS LEFT TO ANALYZE AT THIS POINT IN THE OFF-SEASON: NOTHING
In many ways, this off season has been kind to people who write about Cal sports. Unexpected recruiting and transfer sagas, unwelcome controversy, and plenty of uncertainty after losing a healthy chunk of the talent that turned Cal football around meant plenty of off-season fodder.
But the simple reality is that there's no more to talk about until fall camp finally starts next Monday. We've spent months analyzing the schedule and sorting games from must wins to tough games. We've spent months speculating which seniors (and one junior) can be replaced with the current talent on the roster, and which players leave shoes that might be tough to fill. Until we start getting practice reports and/or coach quotes, there just isn't anything left to say.*
Wait, what's that I hear?
Houston athletic director Hunter Yuracheck recently met with Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, the conference confirmed Monday.
The Cougars, currently a member of the American Athletic Conference, have been rumored to be looking to join a new league.
"I have the upmost respect for Commissioner Scott and used my time with him to pick his brain on a myriad of topics related to the future of college athletics," Yurachek, UH's vice president for intercollegiate athletics, said in a statement released to the Chronicle.
IT'S TRUE IT'S TRUE CONFERENCE EXPANSION RUMORS! THE LIFEBLOOD OF A BLOGGER WITH NOTHING ELSE INTERESTING TO WRITE ABOUT!!!
The meeting did indeed happen last month. But the misguided assumption was that the meeting took place so Houston could promote itself for admission into the Pac-12. One problem: The Pac-12 isn't expanding.
"There was no pitch or anything," Yurachek said. "There's no substance to that [report] at all."
Or, maybe the opposite of 'No.' The Pac-12, unsurprisingly, is not looking to expand, which is something it evidently has in common with every single power conference other than, perhaps, the Big 12. I'd be relieved if I had ever actually been concerned that the Pac-12 would make the same mistake as the Big-10 and water down their product by adding iffy programs for a quick and potentially temporary cash grab.
If nothing else, this little nothing of an off-season story did hand us one excellent quote:
"Larry told me they're not interested in expanding," Yurachek said. "He said, 'I had to pull teeth just to get them to add Colorado and Utah.'"
Honestly, even as a thought exercise, I can't come up with a viable option to even consider Pac-12 expansion. Expansion would 1) water down the league 2) create complicated and/or stupid scheduling systems 3) replace games against teams we all find interesting with teams that are almost certainly less interesting 4) Likely not make member institutions more money, which 5) pretty much none of the schools actually need more money, based solely on coaching salaries and monies spent on athletic palaces around the conference 6) all just to accommodate new teams that likely aren't very good cultural fits for the conference.
*please keep reading our very important blog
TV Money Stuff
The ACC is getting paid, which puts the Pac-12 in 4th place in the revenue race unless the Pac-12 Network finally starts printing money like our unrealistic expectations promised. On one hand, there's a pretty clear relationship between revenues/spending and winning. On the other hand, spending on college sports has been exploding at such a rate that I wonder when we'll reach a point of diminishing returns?
Probably never, until some university offers a coach 25 million a year to win some football games, causing the proletariat to finally revolt.
The Big-12 tries to find a fix to a problem that might not exist
There's a perception that the Big 12 is the 5th best conference in a system that rewards 4 teams at most. Of course, those kind of perceptions can change in less than a year, but based on the tinkering the Big 12 is doing, they agree that perception is reality. First, they announce a scheme to add a conference championship despite already playing a round robin schedule. Now they're busy leaking various rumors regarding exactly how serious or not at all serious they are about exploring expansion.
Here's an interesting article comparing the schools most people think are at the top of the Big 12's list that may or may not exist. I guess I'd take BYU and Cincinnati . . . but that short list makes me very happy the Pac-12 grabbed Colorado and Utah when they had the chance.
Please, for the love of Oski, eliminate kickoffs
I'm in favor of this proposal because of my deep and abiding concerns about player safety, and not because Cal was below average at returning kickoffs and near rock bottom at defending returns. Or because it would probably make Christian McCaffrey sad. Stop looking at me like that!