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Pac-12 Notes – Spring/Summer, 2022

July 28th

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College Football Playoff Expansion Talk Back on the Table

From CBS Sports … Just as it looked like College Football Playoff expansion was heading towards finality, conference realignment started by Texas and Oklahoma jumping to the SEC put the entire process on hold. Last month’s meeting of the FBS commissioners in Park City, Utah, went so well that those who spent the last year battling over CFP expansion seem to be edging closer to settling on a format.

“We didn’t solve anything, but we had a really good meeting,” one of the participants at the gathering told CBS Sports. “I came out of that meeting pretty optimistic. Then, five days later, boom. I don’t know what kind of effect we had on it. We had the best meeting we had in over a year.”

That “boom” moment came June 30 when word leaked that USC and UCLA were joining the Big Ten. But even since then, commissioners have been optimistic about CFP expansion to the point that Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren recently expressed interest in a 16-team model.

“I do want to look at 16,” Warren told CBS Sports at the Big Ten Media Days. “I want to look at all of them. I want to look at everything but four.”

As proposed last year, a 12-team playoff would have included the six highest-ranked conference champions plus six at-large bids. Warren voted against that model because he wanted a guaranteed spot for the Big Ten champion.

(Spoiler alert: The Big Ten champion would have been a virtual lock to be among those top six conference champions every year.)

Warren was joined in that “no” vote by Pac-12 commissioner Georgia Kliavkoff and ACC commissioner Jim Phillips. At the time, passage required unanimous consent.

On Tuesday, Warren said he was “100%” in support of expansion. He then told The Athletic that he was “going to soften [his] stance” regarding the top six highest-ranked champions.

That may have something to do with the Big Ten and SEC being in the process of separating themselves from the rest of college football. It may also be the realization that, after the current CFP contract expires following the 2025 season, a unanimous vote will no longer be necessary to change the structure.

Continue reading story here

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July 27th

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Pac-12 Media Day preview: What Will George Kliavkoff Say?

From the San Jose Mercury News … The Pac-12 will conduct a football media showcase unlike any in conference history Friday at the Novo Theatre in Los Angeles.

The participant list includes commissioner George Kliavkoff, chief of football operations Merton Hanks, head coaches and players from every school, and an existential crisis.

With USC and UCLA bound for the Big Ten in two years and the conference fighting for survival, the fast-approaching 2022 season, which carries significant intrigue unto itself, will have to share the stage.

We don’t expect any thunderous news on expansion, mergers, alliances or media rights contracts. It’s simply too early in a negotiation process that likely will last weeks, if not months.

But Kliavkoff assuredly will lend perspective on the key issues and attempt to frame expectations for the upcoming season.

Odds are, he’ll take the highest of roads with regards to the defectors, USC and UCLA, whose athletes must spend two years as children of divorce.

That said, Kliavkoff cannot sidestep the fragile reality now facing a 107-year-old conference.

His counterparts in the Big Ten (Kevin Warren) and Big 12 (Brett Yormark) offered bold declarations of unity, prosperity and predation during remarks at their preseason media events — all of which served to minimize the Pac-12.

Kliavkoff hasn’t uttered a public peep since the Pac-12’s world changed on June 30.

In both tone and content, he must make the case Friday for a robust future worthy of the Power Five, which, as everyone knows, is really the Power Two and the Middlin’ Three.

We’re curious to hear Kliavkoff’s perspective on reports that the College Football Playoff could expand to 16 teams, not 12 — and how that might impact the Pac-12’s strategic position relative to the ACC and Big 12.

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July 26th

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Preseason Media All-Pac-12 Team Released (CU only team with no representatives on first- or second-teams)

… Colorado is the only team in the league without a player represented on either the first or second team. Every other team in the conference has at least two players on the list. Five Buffs did earn recognition as honorable mention selections by receiving at least four votes from media members. Offensive lineman Frank Fillip, defensive linemen Terrance Lang and Jalen Sami plus defensive backs Isaiah Lewis and Nikko Reed (return specialist) all have been included on that list … 

… To add insult to injury, three former Buffs made the list, with cornerbacks Christian Gonzalez and Mehki Blackmon were second-team All-Pac-12, while Brenden Rice was an honorable mention as a return specialist … 

From the Pac-12 …  The preseason All-Pac-12 team, as selected by the media who cover Pac-12 football, has been announced ahead of the 2022 season.  Defending Pac-12 champion Utah and USC lead the way with six First Team selections each.

Utah RB Tavion Thomas, who had a school-record 21 rushing touchdowns last season, is one of three Utes on the First Team Offense alongside TE Brant Kuithe and OL Braeden Daniels.  Kyle Whittingham‘s squad also place three on the First Team Defense with DB Clark Phillips III, DB Cole Bishop and DL Van Fillinger.  Three Utes made the Second Team, including QB Cameron Rising who was the First Team QB of the 2021 All-Pac-12 team.

USC had four players on the First Team Offense with three of them joining the team this season through the transfer portal.  QB Caleb Williams, a freshman All-American at Oklahoma last season, joins his former Sooners teammate WR Mario Williams on the First Team.  The Trojans actually had both First Team WR with Jordan Addison, who won the Biletnikoff Award last season at Pitt.  OL Andrew Vorhees, who made the AP All-American Third Team last season, rounds out USC’s First Team Offense.  DL Tuli Tuipulotu represents USC on the First Team Defense, while RB Travis Dye takes the All-Purpose/Special Teams spot on the First Team.  Dye also grabbed a spot on the Second Team as a RB, one of four Trojans on the Second Team.

Pac-12 Football Media Day will be in Los Angles on Friday, July 29 and seven student-athletes on the First Team will be in attendance.  Three more from the Second Team will be on hand as well as five more who were Honorable Mention.

Click here to see the full Pac-12 football schedule, which kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 1.

2022 PRESEASON ALL-PAC-12 CONFERENCE FOOTBALL TEAM

First Team OffenseSecond Team Offense
QB*Caleb Williams, USCQB*Cameron Rising, Utah
RBZach Charbonnet, UCLARBTravis Dye, USC
RBTavion Thomas, UtahRBByron Cardwell, Oregon
WRJordan Addison, USCWR*Jacob Cowing, Arizona
WRMario Williams, USCWRJake Bobo, UCLA
TEBrant Kuithe, UtahTEBenjamin Yurosek, Stanford
OL*Jaxson Kirkland, WashingtonOLJoshua Gray, Oregon State
OLBraeden Daniels, UtahOLBrett Neilon, USC
OL*Alex Forsyth, OregonOLSataoa Laumea, Utah
OLT.J. Bass, OregonOLBrandon Kipper, Oregon State
OLAndrew Vorhees, USCOL*LaDarius Henderson, Arizona State
First Team DefenseSecond Team Defense
DLTuli Tuipulotu, USCDLZion Tupuola-Fetui, Washington
DLBrandon Dorlus, OregonDLJunior Tafuna, Utah
DL*Ron Stone Jr., Washington StateDLKyon Barrs, Arizona
DLVan Fillinger, UtahDLBrett Johnson, California
LBNoah Sewell, OregonLBMerlin Robertson, Arizona State
LBOmar Speights, Oregon StateLBJustin Flowe, Oregon
LBJackson Sirmon, CaliforniaLBDarius Muasau, UCLA
DB*Clark Phillips III, UtahDBChristian Gonzalez, Oregon
DB*Kyu Blu Kelly, StanfordDBJaydon Grant, Oregon State
DBCole Bishop, UtahDBRejzhon Wright, Oregon State
DB*Daniel Scott, CaliforniaDBMekhi Blackmon, USC
First Team SpecialistsSecond Team Specialists
PKDean Janikowski, Washington StatePKCamden Lewis, Oregon
PKyle Ostendorp, ArizonaPLuke Loecher, Oregon State
AP/STTravis Dye, USCAPJack Colletto, Oregon State
RSD.J. Taylor, Arizona StateRSGary Bryant, Jr., USC

* Will be representing their school at Pac-12 Media Day.

ALL-PAC-12 HONORABLE MENTION (received votes from four or more members of the media): 

QUARTERBACK: Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA, *Tanner McKee, Stanford

RUNNING BACK: Xazavian Valladay, Arizona State; Damien Moore, California; E.J. Smith, Stanford

WIDE RECEIVER: Gary Bryant, Jr., USC; De’Zhaun Stribling, Washington State; Jalen McMillan, Washington; Elijah Higgins, Stanford; Devaughn Vele, Utah

TIGHT END: Dalton Kincaid, Utah

OFFENSIVE LINE: Branson Bragg, Stanford; Jake Levengood, Oregon State; Ryan Walk, Oregon; *Matthew Cindric, California; Ben Coleman, California; Walter Rouse, Stanford; *Jon Gaines II, UCLA; Frank Filip, Colorado

DEFENSIVE LINE: Brennan Jackson, Washington State; Popo Aumavae, Oregon; Nick Figueroa, USC; Solomon Byrd, USC; Terrance Lang, Colorado; Jalen Sami, Colorado

LINEBACKER: Mohamoud Diabate, Utah; Korey Foreman, USC; *Kyle Soelle, Arizona State; Levani Damuni, Stanford; Edefuan Olofoshio, Washington; Daiyan Henley, Washington State; Oluwafemi Oladejo, California; Carson Bruener, Washington

DEFENSIVE BACK: Armani Marsh, Washington State; Lu-Magia Hearns III, California; JaTravis Broughton, Utah; Bennett Williams, Oregon; Xavion Alford, USC; *Stephan Blaylock, UCLA; Isaiah Lewis, Colorado; Derrick Langford, Washington State, Christian Roland-Wallace, Arizona; Jamal Hill, Oregon

PLACE KICKER: Everett Hayes, Oregon State; Dario Longhetto, California

PUNTER: Nick Haberer, Washington State; Ryan Sanborn, Stanford

ALL-PURPOSE/SPECIAL TEAMS: Seven McGee, Oregon; Nick Alftin, California; Giles Jackson, Washington

RETURN SPECIALIST: Brenden Rice, USC; Casey Filkins, Stanford; Nikko Reed, Colorado

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July 25th

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With Pac-12 Media Day looming, Kliavkoff has a chance to reset the Pac-12 narrative

From the San Jose Mercury News … The Pac-12 has lost more this summer than the Los Angeles schools to the Big Ten. It also has lost the PR duel with the Big 12 — and in decisive fashion, no less.

That’s partly by design, partly by circumstance.

In the immediate aftermath of USC and UCLA defecting, neither conference nor campus officials could offer public signs of unity because nobody knew if or when the next domino would topple.

Meanwhile, the Big 12 was a year removed from its gutting and eager to play the role of marauder. Each day, it seemed, the conference was on the brink of delivering the knockout blow to its competitor on the West Coast.

The calendar added to the Big 12’s advantage. Because its preseason football media extravaganza came first, new commissioner Brett Yormark was able to proclaim the conference “open for business” — a clear shot across the Pac-12’s lurching bow.

Add a few well-placed leaks to the media and a morsel of misinformation, and the Big 12 has owned the optics as the conferences jockey for position in the shadow of the Big Ten and SEC.

But this week, the Pac-12 has a chance to regain control of its own narrative.

Commissioner George Kliavkoff, who has been silent since the June 30 thunderbolt, will offer his state-of-the-conference address at Pac-12 media day Friday in Los Angeles.

Will he take the stage with facts, confidence and a trumpet … or ignore the elephant standing on the podium with him?

Will he indicate the Pac-12 is also open for business and strike an aggressive tone … or focus on the upcoming 2022 season?

Continue reading story here

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July 24th

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NCAA to Abdicate Yet Another Role: No Restrictions on Transfers

Note … Why this is (another) tough break for CU … As noted in previous articles, it’s more difficult for potential transfers to qualify for admission to Colorado, which limits CU’s pool of available players. To put it another way: With no limits on transfers, pretty much all of CU’s roster would be eligible to transfer out, while CU coaches would be limited on which players they can “recruit” to transfer in to CU-Boulder … 

From CBS Sports … The announcement came during SEC Media Days where the “It Just Means More” motto took on new meaning.

“Surprised at that? Absolutely surprised at that,” said Tennessee coach Josh Heupel after first hearing Thursday the NCAA had essentially just allowed athletes to transfer an unlimited number of times. “I think it only heightens the craziness to the transfer portal.”

That was a first reaction to the NCAA’s announcement that the Division I Council had recommended eliminating the restriction against players transferring multiple times. The NCAA Board of Directors is expected to rubber-stamp the recommendation Aug. 3.

The news comes not even a year into the NCAA’s new relaxed rules for one-time transfers.

“For one transfer, maybe two, is probably pretty manageable,” said a source involved with the Council’s process. “Get into multiple transfers it gets tougher and tougher.”

Graduate students are currently allowed to transfer making the maximum transfers allowed without a waiver at two. The lifting of restrictions initially had coaches’ heads spinning. Yes, it is now at least possible for an athlete to play at four different schools in four different years.

“A kid can go as many times as he wants and doesn’t have to graduate? Wow,” Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher told CBS Sports. “It’s just open recruitment of your own players [by other schools]. Everybody can recruit [them]. That’s what they’re doing with third parties anyway, with agents. Agents are coming in saying, ‘I can get you a better deal here.’ ”

… After the implementation of the one-time transfer rule last year, coaches cried that free agency had begun. Players could transfer twice in their careers, once as an undergrad and once as a graduate. NIL added to the confusion as several coaches have told CBS Sports recruits and existing players on the roster are looking for the best NIL deals.

“To say now you can transfer without penalty is going to be a disaster … ,” said attorney Tom Mars, who has worked on several high-profile waiver request cases. “Having been a strident leader for the rights of college athletes, I never anticipated they would go this far.”

The NCAA this week merely codified the landscape that had developed around the portal and the one-time transfer rule. Those undergrads who wanted to transfer more than once merely applied to the NCAA for a waiver citing extenuating circumstances. More often than not, the NCAA granted those waivers knowing, in the end, it didn’t want to face a lawsuit.

… “The year-in-residency rule needed to be changed because coaches were abusing it. They’re somewhat to blame,” Mars said. “But when historians look back at this, if the NCAA would have dealt with NIL when they should have, they wouldn’t have been forced into a corner …

“Maybe this foretells the end of the NCAA,” he added.

Read full story here

UCLA’s “messy situation” could get much worse

From the San Jose Mercury News … With California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the University of California Regents demanding a review of UCLA’s double-secret move to the Big Ten, we see exactly why the Bruins opted for the stealth approach in the first place.

Had they taken a more public path to exiting the Pac-12 and leaving Cal behind, the move assuredly would have been blocked or delayed at the bureaucratic level.

It does not appear the UC regents can prevent the Bruins from joining the Big Ten in 2024. But if desired, they could attempt to make the process extremely difficult by whacking UCLA where it hurts most: In the wallet.

Multiple sources believe the regents will explore forcing the Bruins to subsidize Cal’s athletic department, which stands to lose millions annually in Pac-12 distributions because of the loss of the Los Angeles market.

The details of a power move by the regents are unanswerable at this point, including how the money would be redirected.

We aren’t sure they can touch Big Ten revenue; instead, they might have to hit UCLA’s state allocations.

Either way, a loss of revenue for UCLA’s athletic department could carry significant repercussions.

Why? Because the Bruins are already in debt. Huge debt. Colossal debt.

Before COVID, they were facing a multi-year shortfall of approximately $40 million. According to the L.A. Times, the bill has grown to $100 million.

That, not the desire to spend weekends in Iowa City, is why the Bruins are leaving their longtime home for a conference 2,000 miles away.

The massive windfall from joining the Big Ten will allow them, eventually, to climb into the black.

Chancellor Gene Block cares about UCLA’s athletic department only to the extent that he doesn’t have to pay for it. He saw the Big Ten move as a get-out-of-debt card and used it.

But if the Bruins are forced to divert a significant sum annually to Cal, they won’t have the resources to support their programs, including football, at the level required to thrive in the Big Ten.

The last thing the Bruins want is to start their new existence without the ability to reinvest.

Just ask Maryland and Rutgers what that’s like.

Continue down the wormhole, and it’s easy to envision UCLA’s Olympic sports teams, already facing taxing travel, struggling to compete at their accustomed level.

To justify the move, the Bruins must win — and win early — in the sports they have traditionally dominated.

The UC regents could make that vastly more difficult.

We aren’t convinced the regents will follow through with financial penalties, and we don’t expect a change of heart from the Bruins.

But both situations are worth monitoring, as is the level of buyer’s remorse that might surface over the next 24 months.

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July 22nd

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Penn State players leading resumption of players’ fight for revenue sharing

From CBS Sports … Sharing Big Ten Conference revenue with players is among a list of demands recently presented to the league by a college football players advocacy group CBS Sports has learned.

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford has met with Jason Stahl, the executive director of the College Football Players Association. The CFBPA is a player advocacy organization formed in 2021. Stahl is a former faculty member at the University of Minnesota.

That meeting then led to sharing information with the Penn State team.

Stahl said he met with Penn State players secretly on campus from July 7-14.

Eventually news of the discussions reached Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren. Stahl provided the list of demands to CBS Sports that he said went to Warren. They included enhanced medical care and “a percentage of media rights revenue for the players.”

Stahl said he and Warren spoke by phone for an hour on Thursday. In addition to players receiving a share of conference revenue from media rights, the demands include that players be allowed independent medical care separate from the school and post-eligibility “health protections”.

“We talked about all three demands,” Stahl told CBS Sports. “The first two of which, he seemed very open to movement toward our position. The third demand [regarding sharing revenue] I could tell it was going to be stickier, but it was going to be part of the conversation.”

“Those three things are just the base of what we’d like to do. In reality, we think there is more that could happen,” Clifford told ESPN, which first reported a meeting between the two sides on Friday.

Stahl said he and Roxanne McCray, president of the CFBPA, have been invited to attend Big Ten Media Days next week in Indianapolis.

Continue reading story here

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July 21st

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Will night games be the saving grace for the Pac-12? 

From the San Jose Mercury News … The Pac-12 lost its marquee football and basketball programs, its biggest media market and the links to its main recruiting pipeline three frenetic weeks ago.

Since USC and UCLA made their flight plans known, the conference has been portrayed as everything from fragile and fractured to a carcass on the savanna awaiting vultures from the Big Ten and Big 12.

But the dire predictions seemingly overlook one important element as the conference negotiates a new media rights package: The Pac-12 offers ESPN something no other Power Five league can match.

A steady supply of night games.

“The beauty of the Pac-12 is you can program that late (Saturday) window for 13 consecutive weeks,’’ said John Kosner, a sports media consultant, president of Kosner Media and former executive vice president/digital media at ESPN.

“It takes a conference to do that, because it’s hard for individual schools to play more than a handful of those games each season.

“Let’s say you get practically a 1.0 rating and 1.5 million homes on average per (night) game. That’s considerable audience delivery for 3.5 hours every Saturday. That’s very hard to replace.

“It’s hard to take something away from somebody. The fact that the Pac-12 has been on ESPN for a long time — it’s part of the firmament there.”

In a twist worthy of #Pac12AfterDark, the reviled night games could play a vital role in the conference’s survival.

Continue reading story here

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July 19th

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Realignment: Will Grant of Rights become the Defining Issue? 

From ESPN … Only in times of chaos in college sports does the wonky jargon grant of rights intersect with mainstream conversation. Perhaps no factor looms larger for the future of the entire enterprise of college athletics than the consequences that come with signing — or the potential need to sign — a grant of rights.

A grant of rights is a legal term that comes up in the college landscape almost exclusively during times of conference realignment. The definition of the term itself is a fitting duality — both simple and complicated — considering how differently the grants are being viewed amid the latest starburst of realignment in 2022.

By extending their grant of rights in 2016, ACC schools did what the legal phrase says: They granted the rights to all their home games to the ACC until the league’s television contract with ESPN expires in 2036. After granting them, schools are finding complications in the legal quagmire of the exploration of getting them back.

There has already been an extreme amount of analysis by multiple schools’ general counsels examining the legal strength of the document, though one source familiar with one of those studies said there “doesn’t appear to be much wiggle room” for schools eager to depart.

In the ACC, the grant of rights looms largest because of the 14 seasons that remain on the contract. The per-team estimated payouts project to hundreds of millions less over that span than teams in the Big Ten and SEC. The ACC should be about $40 million per team in upcoming years. The Big Ten and SEC should be north of $70 million in the early years of their upcoming deals, as the Big Ten is difficult to predict until it gets signed in the coming weeks. How big that gap grows — and there’s always variance with league success — will only amplify the angst in the ACC.

Any conversation about future ACC members, departing ACC members or unhappy ACC members all links back to the length and strength of that grant of rights.

It’s not just the ACC’s future that revolves around the grant of rights. The safest predictor of what happens next in realignment is that grants of rights will loom as a large factor in the deal. (Or, perhaps, allowing schools to not sign one could be a negotiating play).

Here’s a peek at what’s next in realignment and how grants of rights can factor in.

What happens out West?

In the Pac-12, the expiration of the grant of rights running congruent with the current television deal in two years gave USC and UCLA the freedom to jump to the Big Ten.

And that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Oregon and Washington, which both strongly desire a new address amid the financial excess of the Big Ten. With the TV deal expiring soon, the Ducks and Huskies are going to have to commit somewhere in the near future. And that’s where a grant of rights will loom over the future of television football in the West outside of Los Angeles.

Both schools certainly would be hesitant to sign up for a lengthy grant of rights in the current league or elsewhere, as there’s no chance the money would come close to what they hope to get in the Big Ten. For those schools, the grant of rights could be a tether, leverage point or perhaps even a negotiating tactic.

Executives around the realignment campfire are all saying that we’re in a period of calm after the jarring move of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten. That’s correct until it isn’t. And the unknown variable is time, which could mean weeks, months or years.

It’s important to remember that USC wasn’t eager to have Oregon in the league, hence no invitation in Round 1. Considering that USC and UCLA are both expected to deliver only slightly more than a full share to the Big Ten, it’s reasonable to project that the Pacific Northwest schools would cost the Big Ten money to add. Not a lot of moves in the history of college sports have been done to lose money.

This is where the financial gap to the “Power 2” of the Big Ten and SEC has gotten so big that even a small chance to join one of those leagues needs to be kept open. So how does that get addressed in negotiations? That’s where things will get interesting, as it’s hard to imagine the Big Ten wanting Oregon and Washington imminently but seemingly just as difficult to project a pair of 20-team Power 2 leagues without them.

Continue reading story here

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July 18th

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ESPN: Big 12 and Pac-12 talks of partnership have ended

From ESPN … Talks about a partnership between the Big 12 and the Pac-12, which had been discussed extensively the past two weeks, have officially ended, sources told ESPN.

Officials from the Big 12 told Pac-12 officials on Monday that they’re no longer interested in exploring the partnership, sources said.

A Big 12 source said that the deal didn’t work for the Big 12 for “a multitude of reasons,” which included the fact that any potential deal wouldn’t have driven much revenue for the league. “It just didn’t work,” the source said.

There’s been at least three Zoom calls between top league officials in the Big 12 and the Pac-12 and other calls between other factions of the league — including legal — to discussion different options. The extent of the conversations had not been previously reported.

A Pac-12 source briefed on the conversations said that the Big 12 had expressed interest on Friday in possibly exploring a full merger. The Big 12 source said of the three options laid out by the Pac-12 — pooling rights, a scheduling concept or fully combining the leagues — that the only scenario that could have potentially driven value because of the sheer numbers of schools and populations areas was a full merger of the leagues.

The Pac-12 source indicated the Big 12 was interested in that option. A Big 12 source said the Big 12 needed more time to explore that option further, which it did over the weekend and decided not to explore any options further.

The Pac-12 source said that the Pac-12 was skeptical of the full merger because the leagues’ media rights expire at different times. A Big 12 source countered that the Pac-12 had expressed ways they could work around that.

“Because the Big 12 media rights can’t be negotiated until 2024, Pac-12 schools have no motivation to join the Big 12,” said a Pac-12 source. “The Pac-12 has announced that they’re staying together and are in the middle of media rights negotiations.”

The Pac-12 has been exploring all options after the sudden departures of UCLA and USC have left the league without two of its top brands and no toe hold in the Los Angeles media market. The league has just two full years remaining on its underwhelming television deal, and Commissioner George Kliavkoff has been diligently exploring creative ways to generate revenue.

Continue reading story here

Notre Dame looking to stay independent (for $75 million/year)

From CBS Sports … Notre Dame would remain independent if it can earn at least $75 million annually in media rights revenue from current broadcast partner NBC, sources told CBS Sports. The Fighting Irish’s deal with the network is set to expire in 2025.

For NBC to feel comfortable raising Notre Dame’s valuation to such a level, it is seeking “shoulder programming” (in this case, games played before and/or after Notre Dame’s contests) from a Power Five conference to enhance its college football coverage.

When such a move had been speculated previously, the Big Ten was the conference mentioned most often as a target. However, the Big 12 has emerged as a strong option to fill NBC’s shoulder programming needs.

The Big Ten is expected to announce a new $1 billion media rights deal possibly as early as this month with Fox as its primary partner. It is believed to be seeking 2-3 other partners to air its programming with NBC reportedly among the bidders.

Outgoing Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby had not heard anything specific on NBC targeting the Big 12 for additional programming but said such a move “makes sense.” The Big 12 may be one of the few leagues with inventory available as its media rights deal also expires in 2025.

Brett Yormark replaces Bowlsby as Big 12 commissioner on Aug. 1. In a press conference at Big 12 Media Days last week, Yormark said the conference is “open for business.”

Notre Dame’s name has come up again in conference realignment amid USC and UCLA deciding to join the Big Ten last month. Because of the value of the Big Ten’s next deal, estimated at $80 million to $100 million annually for each member institution, it was thought Notre Dame had a generational decision to make as to whether it should remain independent.

Read full story here

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July 17th

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Just for fun: Pac-12/Big 12 “Interview” video

From YouTube …

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July 16th

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How a Pac-12/Big 12 merger could work for football (5 + 1 + 1 + 1)

From Stewart Mandel at The Athletic … At his first conference media days this week, new Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark declared “the Big 12 is open for business.” Conference realignment is normally a clandestine operation, but Yormark all but advertised that he’s proactively pursuing potential expansion candidates.

It’s no great secret who he’s likely courting: Pac-12 schools Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah.

It would be understandable if some or all of that group is panicking in the wake of USC and UCLA’s recent defections. But it’s not obvious they’d be improving their lot by joining the post-Texas/Oklahoma Big 12. While that conference has stabilized itself nicely, the 10-team Pac-12 still holds more TV leverage. Its new deal comes up a year sooner (2024); it has the two biggest TV brands in Oregon and Washington, who do not appear to be coveted by the Big Ten; and it’s got Pac-12 After Dark, a major selling point for ESPN in particular, which loves filling those late-night slots with quality games.

But there’s at least one viable scenario in which both the Big 12 and Pac-12 could leverage the latter’s current instability: They could merge.

Jon Wilner of The Mercury News wrote an excellent piece earlier this week explaining why this seemingly radical idea actually makes a lot of sense in the new world order. A combined Big 12/Pac-12 wouldn’t be on par with the newly turbo-charged Big Ten and SEC, but it would become the clear No. 3. It would boast three College Football Playoff participants in Oregon, Washington and Cincinnati, and 12 schools that have appeared in a New Year’s Six bowl since 2014. By comparison, the ACC has two CFP participants (Florida State and Clemson) and has had six New Year’s Six participants.

Perhaps most pertinently, the combined leagues — with the help of a couple of expansion adds — would boast 10 of the nation’s top 30 TV markets. And consolidating their upcoming TV deals into one would likely create more competition among bidders, be it traditional partners ESPN and Fox or streaming services like Apple and Amazon.

“Both leagues would make more by working together than they would separately,” former Fox Sports executive Patrick Crakes told Wilner.

I read Wilner’s story this week while sitting poolside with my family while on vacation in France. Being the realignment sicko that I am, I immediately got on my Notes app and started jotting down how such a thing would work. And I’ve got to say: It’s a lot more workable than I initially thought.

First off, we turn what would currently be a clunky 22-team lineup into 24 by adding San Diego State and SMU. The Aztecs are far-and-away the most compelling Pac-12 expansion candidate. They regularly field both Top 25 football and men’s basketball teams, as they restore at least some footprint in Southern California. SMU is admittedly redundant with TCU, but it’s never a bad thing to have more presence in a huge football market like Dallas.

Having done that, we can now split the league into four “pods” of six teams each. While not exact, they do divide rather closely into four time zones.

Big 12/Pac-12 Merger

As you can see, travel shouldn’t be nearly as difficult for most of these schools as it will be for USC and UCLA in the Big Ten — especially in the non-revenue schools — as they’ll still be able to play most games within one time zone of their own. East-West crossovers will be minimal.

Here’s how that would work in football:

  • Nine conference games in total, eight of which are prescheduled.
  • Those games follow a 5 + 1 + 1 + 1 model: Five games within your pod, and one each against the others.
  • Cross-pod foes rotate every year.

Now here comes a twist:

  • The four teams that finish first in each pod will have their ninth game become a conference championship semifinal on Thanksgiving weekend.
  • The winners advance to a regular-season title game the first week of December.

The other 20 teams get paired off in cross-pod matchups based on similar records — for example, the second-place Pacific team plays the second-place Mountain team for their regular-season finales. Assuming a 12-team Playoff is coming, this will guarantee the league more late-season games with CFP ramifications — candy for TV networks.

Continue reading story here

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July 15th

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California governor on UCLA move: “We’re not going to look into it. We already are looking into it”

From the San Jose Mercury News … California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday blasted the lack of transparency behind UCLA’s move to the Big Ten conference and said the University of California Board of Regents is “looking into it.”

The Bruins announced on June 30 that they had accepted an invitation, along with USC, to join the Big Ten in 2024.

The stunning departure after a century in the Pac-12 has consequences for Cal and other universities in the state, both public and private.

“Trust me when I say this,” Newsom told FOX 11 Los Angeles, “we’re not going to be looking into it. We already are looking into it, within minutes after reading about this in the newspaper.”

The Hotline reported on Tuesday that UCLA’s move is on the agenda for the UC regents meeting in San Francisco on July 21.

As governor, Newsom is an ex officio member of the board, which oversees the prestigious university system’s 10 campuses.

When asked about the secretive process that culminated on June 30, Newsom said:

“No big deal, I’m the governor of the state of California. Maybe a bigger deal is I’m the chair of the UC regents. I read about it.

“Is it a good idea? Did we discuss the merits or demerits? I’m not aware that anyone did. So it was done in isolation. It was done without any regental oversight or support …

“I have strong opinions about this, for no other reason than as a member of the regents, we were never consulted, never asked for an opinion, and they didn’t even have the decency to provide (a) heads-up.”

In the July 21 agenda notice about UCLA on the regents’ website, the following description was included:

“Closed Session Statute Citation: Litigation [Education Code 92032(b)(5)]”

Section 92032 of the California education code broadly refers to procedural matters.

— Part “b” states:

“The Regents of the University of California may conduct closed sessions when they meet to consider or discuss any of the following matters:”

— Part “5” states:

“Matters involving litigation, when discussion in open session concerning those matters would adversely affect, or be detrimental to, the public interest.”

It was unclear whether the regents would attempt to block the move or whether they themselves could be facing litigation for allowing the Bruins to leave the conference that has been their home for more than a century.

Given Newsom’s comments, it appears the regents could be considering legal action.

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July 13th

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Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark: “The Big 12 is open for business. We will leave no stone unturned” 

From Sports Illustrated … Some respect, please, for new Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark. He skipped the fake platitudes and went quickly to the real point at his introductory press conference here Wednesday.

“The Big 12 is open for business,” Yormark said, kicking off the conference’s football media days gathering at AT&T Stadium. “We will leave no stone unturned to drive value for the conference. … One thing is crystal clear: There is no higher priority than to best position the Big 12 for its upcoming multimedia rights negotiations. Everything we do must create momentum for those negotiations.”

This the reality of college athletics in 2022. You could send a million balloons into the sky with the hot air administrators spew about the “student-athlete experience” and “education” and “building character,” but the real priority for those in charge is turning the current piles of cash into larger piles of cash. Enter Yormark.

He seems to be the man for that job in this environment. The college sports world is changing to a more professionalized, cutthroat endeavor. So hiring a New Yorker with an NBA, NASCAR and entertainment background could provide benefits that flatten his geographic and collegiate learning curve. Finding good brisket and learning the school fight songs is far less urgent than navigating conference realignment and media rights.

Fortunately for Yormark, he’s inheriting a surprisingly stable league from outgoing commissioner Bob Bowlsby. Fifty-one weeks ago, everyone was writing a first draft of the Big 12’s obituary, so reaching this point alive and well is a pretty dramatic recovery.

When news broke that Texas and Oklahoma had finalized a move to the Southeastern Conference, a stunned and devalued Big 12 appeared primed for further poaching and eventual dissolution. But after the initial panic waves subsided, the remaining eight members of the league stuck together and then added four new schools: BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston.

Strength in numbers, a further enhancement of the nation’s best men’s basketball league and solid enough football and TV markets gives the Big 12 a chance to survive further consolidation of the Power 5. The league is more stable than the most recent realignment victim, the Pac-12, which just lost USC and UCLA to the Big Ten. And its long-term viability may be better than the Atlantic Coast Conference, which is basically being held together by duct tape, baling wire and a long-term grant of rights deal.

As was reported last week, the Pac-12 and ACC are exploring a potential partnership (not a merger) that would center on broadcast inventory and involve ESPN. If the revenue estimates aren’t a game-changer and don’t produce an agreement, the Big 12 may intensify its pursuit of as many as six Pac-12 schools: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah, Oregon and Washington.

Continue reading story here

John Canzano: With ESPN on the clock, what a new Pac-12 contract might look like

From JohnCanzano.com

More thoughts:

• ADs who have been on regular calls with Pac-12 headquarters and the various university presidents and chancellors maintain that the 10 remaining members of the conference are currently galvanized. I’m still hearing this from multiple campuses. It suggests that the Pac-12 is determined to spin out of this mess in one piece.

• Will ESPN and Fox really take the entire 30-day negotiating window? It depends. The Pac-12 official I spoke with told me, “We’re working closely with our media partners; they have their timeline.”

• If the Pac-12 and ESPN reach an agreement before the end of the 30-day window, they’ll still have to wait for Fox to either bid or waive its rights.

• The defection of USC and UCLA comes with a $200 million-a-year hit to the conference’s media rights value. Bob Thompson, the former Fox Sports Network president, told me he expected the Pac-12 would get about $500 million a year prior to the departures. Now, that estimate is $300 million.

• The conference went from 12 members to 10. The pie is being split with fewer entities, so the actual estimated distribution went from $41.6 million per university to ~$30 million. That’s “only” a 28 percent hit. But I wonder if that $11.6 million gap can be closed with some new and creative ideas.

• ESPN needs Pacific Time Zone college football inventory and it also loves college basketball programming. ESPN has the potential with a “loose partnership” to marry the Pac-12 to the ACC, another of its partners. Everyone knows Clemson, Miami, Florida State and others are restless. The Pac-12’s current plight presents ESPN with an opportunity to generate additional revenue.

• I know. I know. Another “alliance.” Except, this one comes with a contract. One forged by ESPN. Better than Kevin Warren’s handshake, isn’t it?

• With a partnership, ESPN would add significant new subscriber revenue for the newly named ACC Network. This would allow ESPN to pay the ACC schools more. The best football and basketball games would be carried on ESPN/ABC. Under that scenario, ESPN+ would get the Pac-12’s Olympic sports and the Pac-12 Networks probably goes away.

• I’d expect a “loose partnership” between the ACC and Pac-12 would likely include some annual early-season crossover football games between the two conferences (i.e. Oregon vs. Miami? Or Utah vs. Clemson? Or how about Washington vs. Florida State?).

• I was told by one insider that if the partnership happens, the Pac-12 and ACC would likely still play a normal regular-season schedule against its own conference. The aim is to reach the College Football Playoff and make a pile of money. A crossover “championship game” between the winner of the ACC and the Pac-12 champ could help that effort. It presumably would take the place of the traditional Pac-12 title game that is now played in Las Vegas.

Continue reading story here

Oregon State writer: “Sports in our state are changed forever”

From the Oregonian … Greed masquerading as progress will always be the nemesis of nostalgia. Ask the scattered members of the Southwest Conference. And at some point, whatever comes of the remaining 10 members of the Pac-12 will become the new normal, too. Look how quickly we adapted to a 12-team league with Utah and Colorado and before that the addition of the Arizona schools to reach 10.

There’s always someone yearning for their version of the Pac-Then. But this is as foundational a change as any institution could experience.

As a colleague recently said to me, when you take the soul out of something, you can’t ever get it back. This week the global track and field community will descend on Phil Knight’s track palace for the largest sporting event to ever land inside our borders. But plenty of people will tell you, wistfully, that that’s not Hayward Field. It’s what sits on top of Hayward Field.

Sports in our state are forever changed.

The rejection of USC and UCLA — arguably made necessary by the Pac-12 s lagging TV revenue, but rejection nonetheless — stings. It flames the primal insecurity that every Oregon sports fan knows: that somewhere, somebody isn’t taking us seriously. Do they even know that we’re here, up in the nation’s return-address corner?

That’s why being left behind hurts. And why Trail Blazers fans respond so favorably to the uncommon loyalty of Damian Lillard, who signed an extension to commit to the middling Blazers even as others around the league wonder openly why he isn’t begging for a trade to a contender.

We know how hard it is to get a player who gets it, who gets us, and wants to stay. That, in some ways, has proven even more elusive than a championship.

The link to powerhouses like USC and UCLA gave us the path to prove that not only did we belong, but we could also excel. Whether it was the Ducks beating USC seven out of their last 10 meetings (and UCLA nine of the last 10) and reaching the national title game twice in a decade, or Oregon State’s run of program-defining wins over the Trojans — from the Giant Killers of 1967 to Jacquizz Rodgers running through the top-ranked Trojans in 2008 to last year’s thriller at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum — breathing the same oxygen as the vaunted L.A. schools felt like our path to prominence.

Continue reading story here

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July 12th

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California Board of Regents to meet to discuss “litigation” over UCLA’s move to the Big Ten

From the San Jose Mercury News …The University of California’s Board of Regents is scheduled to discuss UCLA’s momentous move to the Big Ten — a move that could have serious financial repercussions for Cal — during a meeting next week.

The board, which oversees the prestigious university system’s 10 campuses, will discuss the Bruins’ stunning departure from the Pac-12 in a closed session on July 21, according to the agenda posted on the regents’ website.

The following description was included:

“Closed Session Statute Citation: Litigation [Education Code 92032(b)(5)]”

Or are the regents themselves facing litigation for allowing the Bruins to leave the conference that has been their home for more than a century?

… A source close to Cal athletics said chancellor Carol Christ was “blindsided” by the news of UCLA’s departure.

Largely because their athletic department supports 30 sports teams — one of the highest totals in the country — the Bears typically run a significant deficit. Only football and men’s basketball are profitable.

In fact, the athletic department receives approximately $25 million annually from central campus to fund operations.

Without USC and UCLA providing a link to the massive Los Angeles media market, the Pac-12’s revenue could be chopped by 40-to-50 percent starting in the 2024-25 academic year.

As a result, the Bears could experience a revenue reduction of at least $10 million annually, thereby jeopardizing their ability to support 28 Olympic and women’s sports (none of them are profitable).

It’s also possible that the Pac-12 will cease to exist altogether, or that the remaining 10 members will merge or align with another conference.

Whatever the outcome, the financial outlook for Cal has turned bleak without UCLA and USC as members of the Pac-12.

Continue reading story here

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July 11th 

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Pac-12 AD: “Our best option is to keep this league together – We’re all unified to get there”

From ESPN … The Big Ten had added brand-name programs before — Penn State in 1990, Nebraska in 2010 — but the USC and UCLA moves carried more “collateral damage,” a term used by both Big Ten and Pac-12 sources after the announcement.

One Big Ten administrator said USC and UCLA created “a hard conversation” because of the Pac-12 and Rose Bowl relationships, and even the fledgling alliance with the Pac-12 and ACC. The source added: “In some ways, it was hypocritical, but if we didn’t move, someone else was going to. Was it worth a missed opportunity and regret later?”

“People understand both the magnitude of the opportunity and the ramifications,” another Big Ten administrator said. “We were very mindful. It was a great day for the Big Ten, and we’re happy to welcome those two schools, but it marked a terrible day for many of our colleagues around the country in a conference that has been a strong partner to us for a long, long time. This would have been unimaginable a short time ago.”

During the final weekend of June, things began to move quickly. On the morning of June 28, Big Ten presidents and chancellors, who sources said largely directed the realignment push, held a call about USC and UCLA.

“I was surprised by the pace at which it accelerated at the end,” a Big Ten administrator said. “The two schools were dictating their own timeline.”

By June 29, when the Big Ten ADs got on another call for more discussions — with Warren joining from London, where he had a previously scheduled trip — one source indicated “the cake was baked.”

“There really wasn’t much of a debate,” the source said. “Kevin did a really good job of framing what this move would mean for everything, revenue and getting us in the L.A. market. The finances are still not done, so no one knows, but he was very confident in what the numbers would look like.”

That source also said USC and UCLA were the only schools positioned to be considered by the Big Ten at that point. The two new additions, especially USC, revitalized Big Ten energy around longtime expansion target Notre Dame, a top rival of USC. But the Big Ten is in “a pause period,” according to a source, who added, “It’s not open season.”

If Notre Dame doesn’t change course, the Big Ten might remain at 16 members.

“Everybody in that room was pretty happy and excited about what this looks like,” a league administrator said. “Now you get to roll your sleeves up and get to work.”

Roughly 24 hours after the news broke, the Pac-12 CEO group, which includes university presidents and chancellors, held an emergency meeting with Kliavkoff. By this point, UCLA and USC had officially announced they were leaving, so Kliavkoff started by acknowledging the obvious in a “matter-of-fact” tone, a high-ranking university official told ESPN.

That led to the obvious question from the group: “What’s that mean for all of us?” the source said.

It is a question that, more than a week later, doesn’t have a definitive answer and likely won’t for some time. Since then, the conference has made two announcements: That it will explore all expansion options and immediately begin negotiations on its next media rights agreement. The remaining schools have all given indications — for whatever that’s worth in this climate — that they would prefer to stay in the conference, and both steps work toward making that possible.

“Our best option is to keep this league together,” a Pac-12 athletic director said. “What the next move is will determine the future of the league. We’re all unified to get there. Everyone wants this thing to work.”

In several conversations with ESPN, league sources did not direct anger toward UCLA and USC for leaving the conference. The prevailing reaction was one of disappointment for the uncertainty it brings for those left behind but also of understanding for why they did. One administrator said he wasn’t surprised by USC’s departure, noting the brand power USC carries in football.

There was more surprise, according to sources, that UCLA was able to depart considering its close relationship with Cal as part of the University of California system. Cal and UCLA are the highest-profile schools in the system, and both regularly rank among the nation’s best public universities.

“The mystery to me is how the regents allowed UCLA to go and leave Cal … wounded,” one source said. “This is not good for Cal or anybody else in the Pac-10.”

As the president of the University of California, Dr. Michael Drake oversees 10 campuses, but prior to his appointment in June 2020, he served as the president of Ohio State for nearly seven years (Jarmond, a former assistant/deputy athletic director at Ohio State, overlapped with Drake for roughly four years before leaving to become the AD at Boston College in 2017.) Drake ostensibly would not have needed to be educated on the merits of Big Ten membership.

Drake’s office denied a request from ESPN to interview Drake about his involvement in UCLA’s move or the ramifications it will have on Cal. ESPN’s request to speak with Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton was also denied.

… Multiple sources told ESPN that USC and UCLA approached the Big Ten about membership, not the other way around. The Big Ten wasn’t active in pursuing expansion candidates and had been focused on its media rights negotiations.

Although administrators had heard “some rumblings” about realignment in the spring, the league kept a tight circle around the potential additions until the final days, deferring mostly to its presidents and chancellors.

“It was a lot smoother than maybe I would have anticipated,” the source said.

Continue reading story here

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July 10th

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Pac-12 “Fear Index”: Colorado deemed as “moderate” 

From the San Jose Mercury News … With the Pac-12 fighting for survival following the announced departures of USC and UCLA, the Hotline has attempted to sketch the widest range of scenarios for the 107-year-old conference — from mergers and acquisitions to the status quo and extinction.

The situation is extremely fluid, with those in charge unsure of the outcome.

What appears plausible today could be impractical tomorrow.

What feels far-fetched in the moment could seem obvious within a week.

With that, the Hotline presents the first edition of our Pac-12 Fear Index, a school-by-school breakdown of destinations and anxiety levels.

Schools deemed “moderate” or higher … 

Arizona
Fear Index: moderate
Outlook: So long as the administrations in Tucson and Tempe move in lockstep, the Wildcats should land safely. But in the unlikely event that the fracture we saw in California — with UCLA splitting off from Cal despite sharing a board of regents — were to repeat in Arizona, the situation could get worrisome for the Wildcats. As its own entity, the football program brings little value on the open market.

Cal
Fear Index: high
Outlook: Eons of university apathy toward football have thrust Cal into an uncomfortable position, with no guarantee the Bears will find a home if the Pac-12 fractures. As difficult as it might be to envision Cal sharing a conference with Iowa State or Baylor, remember this: the athletic department has 28 Olympic sports to support and hundreds of millions of dollars in stadium debt to service. The Bears cannot afford to be selective.

Colorado
Fear Index: moderate
Outlook: The Buffaloes were a member of the Big 12 until 2011 and would have the easiest assimilation process. But they don’t bring ASU’s media market or Utah’s competitive success. If the Big 12 undertakes a raid, CU needs the league to conclude there’s safety in numbers and add at least four schools. If the Big 12 turns selective and only adds two — a scenario we don’t think likely — the Buffs could have reason to fret.

Oregon
Fear Index: high*
Outlook: The Ducks will have a home, whether it’s the ACC or Big 12 or Pac-12. But the level of anxiety in Eugene is significant for a different reason (hence the asterisk): The likelihood that Oregon’s landing spot will 1) be considered beneath a program that fashions itself one of the best in the country and 2) permanently impact its ability to recruit at a high level and compete for playoff bids.

Oregon State
Fear Index: extreme
Outlook: If the Pac-12 dissolves and the Big 12 doesn’t swallow all 10 schools, the Beavers are in serious trouble. Their options seemingly would be limited to the Mountain West or perhaps the Big Sky. We’re highly skeptical that state politics could legally bind OSU to Oregon, thus forcing the hand of a marauding conference. But in an alternate universe, all is well —  because Phil Knight went to school in Corvallis.

Stanford
Fear Index: high
Outlook: The Cardinal is attractive on multiple levels, with the academic reputation appealing to presidents in other leagues and the media market attractive to TV networks. We can envision scenarios in which Stanford lands in the ACC, Big 12 or even Big Ten (with Notre Dame). The greater risk here is philosophical: Given the likelihood that athletes will be deemed employees sooner than later, the university could opt out of Power Five football altogether.

Washington State
Fear Index: extreme
Outlook: WSU faces the same challenges as Oregon State with the dastardly combination of tough geography, limited budget and low brand value. If the Pac-12 doesn’t hold together or combine fully with the Big 12, the Cougars seemingly are headed for a spot in the Mountain West or Big Sky. This, despite five winning seasons in the league’s expansion era — the same number as UCLA.

Read full story here

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July 9th

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Oregon/Nike owner Phil Knight “reduced to cold-calling telemarketer”

From CBS Sports … The true impact of this latest round of conference realignment is the image of one of the world’s most powerful sports figures “working the phones.” That’s how one source this week described Phil Knight’s level of desperation.

A marketing genius, benefactor, philanthropist and multi-billionaire, the Shoe Dog himself is apparently using all his resources to find a home for Oregon, a program Knight has made one of the most recognizable college sports brands as a de facto offshoot of his Nike empire.

Knight has been reduced to cold-calling telemarketer. And that’s a sad situation.

The migration of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten in 2024 has made it such. In the past week, we have again been reminded of the ruthlessness of this system.

The Pac-12 may or may not survive, but after the loss of its two flagship programs, it is forever altered. All that with a reminder that the ACC is scrambling to keep its top teams, while the Big 12 may be on its fourth round of reorganization since 2010.

What we’re witnessing in real time is the consolidation of the best brands atop the sport. Everything else be damned. When Knight is being reduced to speed-dialing to save his Ducks, well, that takes potential exclusion to another level.

You may have noticed: The SEC and Big Ten are a Notre Dame (or so) away from staging their own playoff. Maybe they don’t even need the Fighting Irish, who are again deciding whether to join a conference after 130 years of independence.

What you can see is access and relevance slipping away for all but the elites — and those lucky enough to be in their conferences. Certain ACC schools are freaking out. They are looking at being $50 million per year behind the SEC and Big Ten in annual rights fees.

One industry source said it might take $500 million for a school to exit the ACC given the league’s ironclad grant of rights that keeps schools in the conference until 2036. You can buy a lot of superstar coaches, $1 million coordinators, facilities and swag copters for that kind of money.

Some of the pressure has shifted to boosters. Will they make up the difference? Can the current rate of spend be sustained?

A source at one high-resource football program says the donors are tapped out.

Someday soon, the SEC and Big Ten could decide to flex by funding 95 scholarships instead of the current 85. There might be some outside the top two conferences who can keep up, but at what price?

Add to it all that the leadership and thinking from the four newest Power Five commissioners – all hired since 2020 — is more varied than ever before.

Last week, CBS Sports presented a three-part series on the future of college football. One of the conclusions? The 130 FBS schools will break away from the NCAA, perhaps sooner than later.

… That brings us back to Knight’s cold calling. It’s happening in a world that could leave Oregon and Washington without a chance to compete for national championships. A world that now thinks nothing of flying volleyball players across four time zones to play a match. A world that has stripped two Power Five conferences of their soul in consecutive summers.

Oregon and Washington are the two best football programs “in play” considering the Pac-12 is down to 10 teams; however, there is a reason they haven’t been considered prominently in realignment. Industry sources say neither brings requisite value to the Big Ten ($80 million-$100 million per year). The Pac-12 schools most prominently mentioned for the Big 12 are the so-called “Four Corners” schools: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah.

The Big 12 has been told by TV rights advisors that the two most important considerations for expansion are brand and geography. Geography pushed Oregon and Washington to the margins. (That doesn’t mean the likes of Arizona and Arizona are necessarily “brands.”)

If the Big 12 expands, it wouldn’t necessarily be for money but rather survival and relevancy. One high-profile industry source called the difference between an expanded Big 12 or Pac-12 “a coin flip.” Think of the reason for expansion more this way: Can a credible playoff can be staged without Oregon and Washington being allowed to compete for a spot?

ESPN sort of answered that question when it thought nothing last summer of throwing the Big 12 on the scrap heap as Texas and Oklahoma moved to the SEC.

The network was telling us without telling us that the world wouldn’t end if the likes of Oklahoma State, Iowa State and TCU, among others, did not get a chance to finish in the top four of the College Football Playoff. The question was further answered when the Pac-12 was marginalized last week.

Ratings matter. They matter more when a 9-3 Oklahoma from the SEC might have a better chance of getting into a playoff than a 12-1 Oklahoma State from the Big 12.

One industry source called Oregon and Washington “tweeners” in realignment. They are certainly not USC and UCLA in terms of branding and marketability, but they’re not Arizona and Arizona State, either. That’s what realignment has revealed: The real things that make college football relevant to the only people that matter — TV executives, programmers, advertisers — are being exposed in increasing and specific detail.

Without Oregon and Washington, the Pac-12 might fall apart. With them, it may not matter.

Read full story here

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July 8th

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Can an ACC/Pac-12 Bi-Coastal Arrangement Work?

From ESPN … There’s been a thesaurus leafed through on conference calls to find the best non-alliance wording to describe a potential long-distance arranged marriage between the ACC and Pac-12. Partnership? Loose scheduling consortium? Bicoastal arrangement?

They likely won’t have to pick one that works, as sources indicated on Thursday that there’s little chance of this happening in the form it is being discussed.

In what’s being discussed, the leagues would keep their form. And they would be bonded together through the power of large quantities of television inventory and the occasional sexy cross-country football matchup between, say, Miami and Oregon. (Sorry, Mario Cristobal.)

How creative can the leagues get? One idea being discussed, per sources, is a four-day in-season basketball tournament between the leagues as a way to drive up value. Perhaps there’s some football scheduling creativity? It sounds fun, but not all that lucrative.

The real play here is geography and quantity, as ESPN already owns all of the ACC rights through 2036 and would benefit from a presence on the West Coast, in particular for Saturday night football inventory.

But no one should hail this potential partnership as some sort of financial haymaker, especially for the high-end ACC schools worried about falling way behind the SEC and Big Ten. It’s novel, but unlikely to be a game-changer.

One of the appeals to the Big Ten going into Southern California was turning millions of television homes into “inner market,” which should command a significantly higher fee for the Big Ten Network. But that isn’t expected to be the case for the ACC Network in this arrangement, as the Pac-12 schools aren’t going to be recognized as actual ACC schools. Therefore, no significant financial bump.

“It’s really hard unless they’re going out and getting those schools to flat-out join the conference,” said an industry source. “Absent institutions coming in individually to the ACC or a flat-out merger, the value created would be marginal.”

So how much value could be created? How much would the Pac-12, whose TV deal is coming to market after the 2023 football season, command on its own? And would schools in the ACC already worried about cash flow compared to the SEC and Big Ten find enough value in the arrangement? It’s hard to find where the significant money would be.

That’s where there’s some bottom-line skepticism. The numbers are supposed to be floated by the schools next week. And the notion, at the least, gave everyone in conference offices a breath from the dizzying game of Realignment Risk.

“It’s early, and schools are curious to what the finances would indicate,” said a source familiar with the talks. “Is the lift significant enough for ACC schools to close some of the gap with the SEC and Big Ten?”

Skepticism would be the obvious position on this potential arrangement, without more exploration of fiscal upside.

Continue reading story here

Odd men out? Washington State and Oregon State have to hope the Pac-12 stays together

From the San Jose Mercury News

Who are your “have nots’ in the Pac-12? In other words, when all the dust settles with this next round of conference realignment, who is going to be hurt the most from their current stature? — @Shannon_Stone

Everyone should be nervous — the only school with absolutely nothing to fear, USC, is accounted for.

But the Four Corners (Arizona, ASU, Colorado and Utah) are reasonable fits in the Big 12, if needed, while Washington and Oregon are far too valuable to be cast aside.

Stanford and Cal have some appeal because of the Bay Area market, the access to Silicon Valley and their academic reputations. I’m not convinced they will land somewhere, especially Cal, but their prospects are north of grim.

Washington State and Oregon State are in serious trouble, with only two options: Remain in the reconfigured Pac-12, or lose their Power Five status.

That could mean falling into the Mountain West or tumbling into the Big Sky or a destination neither conceived nor created at this point. The situation is fluid.

But for the Cougars and Beavers, challenged like no others by finances and geography, the future is extremely fragile.

In all candor, I don’t see a home for them in the Power Five if the Pac-12 fractures.

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138 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes – Spring/Summer”

  1. I was able to catch George’s opening statement, but nothing else, so far. Was it me, or did he kinda sound like he’s whistling past the graveyard, in terms of “student athletes” etc.? I like how he sees the Pac 12 as strong in brand/s and media markets. He’s right. I like that he’s trying to uphold the “old” collegiate model, is concerned about travel, etc. but, I think the only way they’ll preserve any portion of “student athletes” is to go full on NFL model, players union, collective bargaining, spreading the cash out to the non-revenue sports/athletes, etc..

    Go Buffs

    1. We already have an NFL model. Its called the NFL. How many junior NFL type leagues have started up and always failed?
      Football is still worth billions but its reached its saturation point. What made college football attractive and unique has been sold down the river. There have to be a lot of people like me who will watch their college team, their town’s NFL team about every other game and maybe one more for whoever Cooper Cupp or Tyreek Hill is playing for.
      The ongoing transformation of college football is going to lose viewers. I dont know how many lardbutts are out there that tune in constantly from Friday night to Monday night, pausing only to refresh the pizza and beer but logic would hope most others have other things they like to do.

      1. the Friday night to Monday night crowd is in B1G / SEC country because THERE IS NOTHING ELSE FOR THOSE PEOPLE TO DO (!)

        West coast fans have other interests and lives, BUT if the content were delivered digitally so people could bring it up wherever they might be then they could still enjoy live college football (and advertising) without being tethered to antiquated cable delivery. This is already the trajectory, but Kliavkoff could embrace it enthusiastically and make sure that everyone can see the content by being on several major digital platforms (Apple, Prime + ESPN)

        1. Dang
          what if the Russians hacked ESPN and blacked it out for a week?
          Would they have to go back to slapping mosquitos on the the front porch while watching for out of state license plates? Green Acres re runs?

      2. I have to agree with ep, the appeal of college football is being destroyed by all the shithead media masters and their subordinates running 2 conferences. College football is regional. It is not the NFL. What Kliavkoff is trying to do (or at least say) is honorable. We’ll have to see if it works.

    2. Don’t read the transcript.

      Continue with your “half the info” opinion.

      Go Buffs

      Bowl game = 2500 bucks

      1. I read the whole transcript, as someone said about Oakland, CA – There’s no there there.

        About what you’d expect. Mostly platitudes. A few bombs thrown at the Big 12 and Larry Scott without mentioning his name. Without seeing the demeanor and tone on video, it is hard to get the full picture. Like everything else in college football right now, TBD.

  2. So Fontenot and Russell being on watch lists for national awards didnt carry any weight with Jon and his fellow munchkins…..any one surprised?
    They probably think Telluride is part of Russia

  3. Wow. Apparently George Kliavkoff, is a moldoon “ his state-of-the-conference address at Pac-12 media day Friday in Los Angeles”. You don’t hold news events on Friday, it’s the end of the week, nobody cares and everybody wants to get the week over and get to their weekend activities. It’s why companies fire employees on Friday or why bad news from the government is released on this day… it’s the start of the weekend, nobody cares, the information cycle is washed out. Can the PAC please do Monday – Wednesday going forward… the days when the media cycle actually matters. Idiots

    1. It’s like everything this conference does is to drive home the point that Football just really isn’t that important. I mean scheduling your media days to all be crammed into one day, on a Friday? Just completely stupid.

  4. Someone explain to Chancellor Gene Block, to ditch the BIG and stay with Pac10. ESPN wants the West Coast as FOX skus there. ESPN even built a studio in LA to eat into Fox’s market dominance. UCLA comes back to the PAC. The PAC adds San Diego State. The PAC makes ESPN pay them appropriately until they can merge ACC and PAC into a bicoastal Super Conference. USC gets screwed and learns the hard lesson of scheduling travel to the mid-West. Not that Pennsylvania, NJ and Maryland fall in the heartland. UCLA will be the big winner of SoCal talent pool as is the PAC. ESPN gets the West Coast. Leave BIG UCLA…this is the greatest Trojan horse of modern history. Achilles would be proud.

  5. With Pay-for-Play and unlimited transfers (in order words unrestricted free agency) the way things now are, it’s only natural for players (and their agents/handlers) to want a generous slice of the pie. Players will, and already are, dictating terms to colleges… so why not? Teams like Alabama and Ohio State are actually nervous because all of the advantages they’ve traditionally enjoyed can now be bought on the open market of capitalism… it probably won’t be the likes of a Stanford alumni or some Ivy League school, but if some half-crazy alumni from a historically bad team like Rutgers or Boston College (or god forbid CU) became fabulously wealthy through crypto or other windfall (which happens) they could purchase a dream team through this new free agency. The power now belongs in the hands of the players and the owners (…er, ‘donors’).

    When will this whole $hit show blow up already (?)

  6. Wait. Jeremy Pruitt, another saban protege, was paying players? Who knew?

    In other news, the cfbpa is gaining that critical mass and doing good work. I obviously don’t know all the finances, but it seems to me that with say $20billion a year from football and another $20billion from basketball, there is plenty of money to float all sports and athletes across d1. Likely means caps for coaches salaries, facilities, players, etc.

    Without the kids, it all crashes to the ground. Hopefully the kids think more broadly than just their pockets.

    Brave new world.

    Go Buffs

    1. If it is true that pretty much kills the current TV negotiations and the conference. I hope both those teams get their asses kicked up to their throats this season. Also if true give credit to RG for immediately reacting appropriately.

  7. Games are won before you put a step on the game day field. UCLA could win this the greatest game ever, Southern California. Why not claim that because they didn’t consult California regents they can’t leave the PAC-12… errrh 11. Add San Diego State to the PAC. Make ESPN pay the PAC appropriately until ACC existing contract has expired (or till they sort) and combine East and West coast and more importantly stick it to FOX and the BIG. More importantly stick it to FOX. Crush their West Coast viewership. UCLA could be the big winner in Southern California talent pipeline.

    Wait till those SoCal kids are playing in Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, Nebraska in November.

    UCLA wake up, leave the BIG,.

    ESPN stick it to Fox crush their West Coast viewership.

    UCLA – crush USC and take the Lion share of talent

    This isn’t rocket science.

    BIG should be the big loser, FOX can be the big loser.

    Owning the coast is critical to ESPN and Fox… for a lot more then sports. ESPN nut up, tell UCLA to bail and take the West Coast market.

    Trojan Horse

  8. The pressure to win and draw sell-out or near sell-out crowds to home games must be enormous. The “buzz” of Boulder being a destination location for college football (along with the television market research so artfully described in other posts) would really help C.U. In the next re-alignment moves.

    If C.U. Is not invited to the Big Ten, my vote is definitely to a PAC 12 (west) and ACC (east) alignment with the two conferences holding a playoff game/bowl at the Rose Bowl (along with a pre-season weekend where all teams from the two conferences schedule games). It is not the Big Ten or SEC, but would be stronger than a merger with the Big Twelve. In addition, some Big Twelve teams would be tempted to join this new entity (some to the PAC 12 and some to the ACC).

  9. “For NBC to feel comfortable raising Notre Dame’s valuation to such a level, it is seeking “shoulder programming””

    Again, it’s about keeping viewer on your air. They run promos to promote ‘like’ programming to viewers, it’s not just about what’s prior to the Golden Domers and post game. It includes Sunday. NFL. It includes the Fall Finish of MLB, the start of NBA and NHL, even the MLS finishes in late fall. Not to mention all of your ancillary programming that covers these sports. Can everyone shut up about Oregon. Portland is small market with only NBA and MLS. Denver has all 5 pro leagues an avid Denver Bronco fan base (college and NFL football have the biggest crossover of viewers). The Buffs are a far more interesting team to secure for the suits than the Ducks. College football is just a piece of drawing viewers it’s also about navigating and keeping viewers on your air. ESPN is a hell of lot happier when the Buffs are good than when Oregon is playing well. Driving tune-in time and getting people to the games and programs on your air (beyond college football) is the game.

    Somewhere in Bristol/NYC and LA the suits are looking at their list of optimal teams to have in the third super conference and the Buffs are one of them. The Ducks sadly will make it because of Nike advertising $… but that’s the only reason why. Oregon is not a great program, a legacy program, they only turned the corner of being a perpetual top 15 team when the clowns of CU academia told Phil Knight to pound sound and Boulder didn’t want to serve as host for Nike’s corportate campus. The slide of CU’s program and the rise of the Ducks coincides with this idiotic decision.

    That said, hang tight Buff fans, we will make the 3rd Super Conference based on market #18 DMV and having 5 pro sports teams. Again, can anyone please go back to Phil and see if he has an interest in setting up a new Nike Corporate campus in Boulder.

  10. From the “off the record reports” last year, after evaluating the teams, it seems that, from the Big 12, the PAC 12 was CLOSE to inviting TCU and Houston (and not Oklahoma State or Texas Tech). I am surprised that the schools currently being discussed for entry into the current “PAC 12,” – teams such as San Diego State,… – I am surprised that TCU and Houston are not being considered as possible PAC 12 schools going forward,…

  11. Great, we have the most incompetent Governor in the Union on it. Apparently, we’ll end up paying UCLA

  12. UCLA will be forced to stay in the Pac11. There is no way a state/public university makes such a move without consulting and approval by the board of regents. And the move isn’t in the best interests of the University system.

    1. That would be “just rewards” for doing this in private behind all of the other’s back, both in the PAC & the UC system. I understand the reasoning behind wanting to keep it secret, but that doesn’t mean it’s legal or right.

      In the end it’s big money v. political power at the Saturday Night Smack down.

      Get a pro money, err cough, cough pro-business judge and it’s hello B1G, get a pro-institution judge and it’s back to the PAC. Can that still happen today with all of the money?

      Another question that wasn’t even thought about before all of this started. Big mony and TV have been slowly changing college football for years and it the last couple of years it’s become a run away train… And most run away trains crash.

      1. Say good riddance to the spoiled children, with UCLA back add SD State and its back to the PAC 12. eff everyone else.
        hard to bet against the money though

        1. If the UCLA moves get nixed, and I doubt it will, who’s to say the Big 10 wouldn’t then invite UW or Stanford? Back to a PAC10, but a better outcome since PAC would retain a presence in LA. In that eventuality, add SD State and another team, Boise (?), and eff everyone else.

  13. There is no way Oregon is going to stay with a watered down Pac. I understand the sentiment but dollars talk and the teams and dollars just don’t seem to work. I assume they will put on a happy face for awhile but CU needs to watch out for itself

  14. UCLA will probably still switch over to the B1G, but it might cost Martin Jarmond his job (or at least result in a suspension). Public universities and tax payer funding, particularly in the California UC system, operate under a shared governance system… pissing off the governor and UC Regents by making a huge, controversial deal without their knowledge and explicit approval isn’t exactly the CA way. It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out… stay tuned (conference re-re-alignment?)

  15. Canzano is certainly more credible and a much better writer than Wilner, who has tendency to try to get cute with his analysis. Which is usually superficial at best. Canzano provides solid facts and analysis.

  16. So if UCCS wanted to bolt the RMAC for the GLVC cause this conference has a sugar daddy and the payout is great. Could the board of regents stop them?

    $2,500 = Buffs Bowl Bound

  17. So I guess the PAC 12 is in some kind of “window” prelim negotiations with ESPN (only)with the hope of keeping the rest of the conference intact.. After talking to people who have had experience in these scenarios, Canzano told us of a disturbing possibility. He said what if ESPN lowballs their offer scaring OR and WA off to wherever or send the 4 corners schools into the arms of the Big 12 where ESPN can save a bundle with one contract instead of 2.
    We all know money is the driving force here tradition and parity be damned

    1. If that happens the way he said and those six schools went to the BIG12, ESPN gets the remaining larger TV markets with bigger schools with only San Fran being left out, and they would get Utah & OU, programs that are currently nationally relevant, the remaining four schools are the ones that are screwed. OSU & WSU have no TV markets and are going to end up like CSU & Boise in a group 5 conference.

      What about Stanford & CAL? Without UCLA, CAL is just another UC school in CA and all of those are in group 5 conferences. That leaves Stanford, they being private and higher academics place better with B1G or the Ivy League, but so far to travel for the Ivy’s payout so they need a life line from the B1G or ?

      While I’m not a big fan of having to go back to the BIG12, if those six schools all ended up in the BIG12, CU would be in about as good of position as they can be considering their last two decades of falling and being out of the rankings. If CU ended up playing the other five from the PAC, then their remaining 3-4 conference games could be ISU and OSU and the two K-state schools instead of Oregon State, WSU and the two bay area schools, not a horrible swap.

      But those four left over schools, not sure about Stanford as much, but the other three would probably end up in a group 5 conference.

      1. “CAL is just another UC school in CA and all of those are in group 5 conferences.”

        I should have wrote CAL is just another UC school in CA and all of those are in group 5 conferences, OR lower!

  18. Ah, the plot thickens! I wonder how that UC system meeting will go?

    It’s been a thought in the back of my mind – albeit an entirely unlikely one – that maybe, just maybe, UCLA AND USC don’t make this move after-all?

    Travel starting to percolate, among other “problems” etc.

    But, since we know it’s all about money, the only way they don’t bolt is if the College Football Playoffs brought to you by Big Fox and SECSPN goes full NFL model revenue share, players union, etc. and divvy up the pie accordingly.

    Just roll up the whole 130 D1 teams under that separate umbrella. Divide the country into regions, much like the old conferences, and have at it. You probably have a what, $3billion/yr enterprise, maybe $5bill, that way?

    If Pac 12 was “valued” at $6bill (selling 15% for $1bill, is roughly $6bill valuation) and Big Fox is now $1bill/yr, and SECSPN is another bill, and ACC, etc.

    That’s a lot of jack, jack. Plenty to go around, help places like UCLA, Cal and countless other underwater athletic departments float, etc.

    They won’t do that yet – but I think will have to eventually – b/c profit sharing ain’t part of their game, right now. But, I think it’s inevitable it goes that way.

    Big Fox and SECSPN get the lions share of best matchups and windows, with NBC, CBS, Turner, and streaming picking up the pieces.

    It’s intriguing to watch the machinations unfold.

    Go Buffs

    1. …maybe SC makes the move, but UCLA doesn’t because of political push-back. Now that would be an interesting wrinkle (!)
      Might be just the ‘opening’ Notre Dame is waiting for to join the B1G

      1. That would! But, part of the regents’ calculus has to be how much money will flow back from Big Fox cash to UCLA and by extension, the UC system, right? As well as, blasting a door wide open for Notre Dame to walk through, if UCLA is barred from making that move, that’s financially beneficial to them?

        I still think Kliavkoff, and others, are direct dialing Big Fox and SECSPN leadership about “look, we know where this is going. Playoffs. We’re talking about playoffs (see what I did there?). So, how do we get there? And, how do we divvy up the money? The players are going to want their share, and if we’re not careful, the Feds will mandate that they’re employees.”

        So, the focus should be “what’s this look like when the four team playoff ends? How big is that pie, and who gets slices?”

        As has been pointed out, you can’t justify excluding the west coast. Not gonna happen. There’s absolutely a place for the lower tier, and lower revenue teams/institutions as that table, I think. Whether that’s the SDSU’s and BSU’s, Cal, Stanford, the formerly little guys of TCU and Houston, as well as the Wazzus, Rutgers, Vandy’s etc.

        Fun, fun, fun.

        Go Buffs

  19. Unless KD pulls a McCartney and has this team heading upward like a diver running out of air the only fear I have is that the Buffs are accepted in the Big 10 as cannon fodder to thrash with Illinois, Rutgers, and a couple others in a desperate attempt to get to a bowl game. Then again bowl games and a playoff will probably become the sole proprietorship of the super duper disgusting conferences anyway.
    alliance with the ACC? not if you didnt learn your lesson with the Big 10.
    If its the big 12 again so be it.
    I would actually prefer the PAC 10 or PAC light if OR and WA are the last dogs out of the jailbreak. Let the rest of em scramble, scrounge and be the high NIL bidders. I would rather watch the NFL. The Buffs and one other game a week are my limit.
    Right now (hideous thought previously) being in the Heavier version of the MWC doesnt sound so bad. Let the rest of em

    1. Illinois, Rutgers, Maryland, Indiana, Northwestern, Minnesota, and Nebraska are the big10 punching bags when it comes to football. Sure one of those schools has a few good years every now and then. And UCLA will be added to the mix based on their recent past, and add they will be traveling across the country for 2/3 or 1/2 of their football games. Non football sports will suffer more.

      An expanded playoff system probably would have staved off a lot of this BS.

  20. No matter where the Buffs land, my main concern is will I be able to watch all Buffs football games. With the PAC-12 network, I could. If we link with the ACC or the Big 12, will the Buffs ever be on TV? I can see the ACC having the Buffs on TV maybe once. The Big-12, maybe 2 or 3 times.

    1. Yep. And if it is streaming, I am basically hosed. On the bright side, plenty of other good things to do away from tv on Saturdays. But I do enjoy watching my Buffs. Even when they aren’t that good.

      Go Buffs

      1. Last season, three Pac-12 football teams ended the season with 4-8 records… USC, Washington, and Colorado.

        If KD remains our coach going forward, the Buffs will return to respectability but it’ll be a slow, methodical build (not a flash in the pan). It’s been done before… thankfully we’ve got a National Championship already (the ducks are in a world of hurt and might never win one the ways things are developing). I could actually envision Utah with Whitt at the helm pull off a surprise NC before Oregon does.

  21. Fox Sports and Espn are trying to keep people on their channel(s). Markets with high DMV’s and multiple professional sports teams are more important than small markets teams that have a lot of regional support as x college football team doesn’t have competition with other sport entities. Denver is #18 DMV and has NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS. Portland or Salt Lake have inconsequential DMVs and NBA and MLS…. ESPN and Fox are in the game of eyeballs and keeping viewers tuned in to either games on their air or ancillary programming that covers the major sports. Markets that have the most sports entities are more valuable as they can use sports coverage to navigate sports fans to other broadcasts. Sports are regional. Most fans are interested in their locals teams. Markets with NFL teams are more valuable as college football fans and NFL fans have a huge crossover. As well, NFL and CFL blow away the other major sports. Denver has avid fan base with the Broncos. Really, for ESPN and FOX… Denver and subsequently the Buffs is a far superior market than Ducks or Utes. There are more touch points to promote programming. It’s not even close . Everyone stop acting like the Ducks are some dynasty. They aren’t. If the didn’t have Nike $s they’d be a non entity. Seriously, Washington State is more valuable as the State of Washington has all pro sports teams and the Huskies. It’s still unbelievable that the academic pin heads at CU turned away Nike from moving their corporate campus to Boulder and would give them some land to do the project and first and foremost wanted to be recognized as a research and academic institution some 25 years ago. Again, please someone right a story about this bonehead turning point in CU history. Secondly, more importantly go back to Nike and offer them exactly what they originally wanted and see if they still have an interest in moving to Boulder. Phil Knights legacy is running. Competitive runners are based in Boulder. Phil’s legacy is in running. He wants to be in Boulder, I don’t care what anyone says.

    1. WSU??? Seriously!! No one cares, I live here. They are out, and that’s eastern Washington, so might as well be Idaho or Montana. And as much as I hate to say it, Oregon has Knight/Nike, and that is huge. They will always have the draw. More people here watch UO games that Wazzu out of pure hatred, but $$$ talks.

  22. The Wetzel piece on staying together touches on all sorts of tradition. But change has the potential for excitement. And football aside, Big 10 basketball fans are going to be in for a treat when USC and Michigan play as coaching congeniality and sportsmanship will be on full display when hoops statesmen like Andy Enfield and Juwann Howard square off.

  23. I would be more than happy with a continuing PAC 10.
    Funny thing was I was against joining in the beginning. I was content with the long tradition playing basically most of the same teams since I matriculated in 69. The Buffs were mostly competitive up to the manufactured crisis by Simpson and the Denver Post and the subsequent firing of Barnett. By not standing up to these scavengers and rejecting what could have been a credible defamation lawsuit against pissla and the DP along with the chiken poo admin paying the hypocrite woman 2 million to go away, Its almost as if the admin created their own curse with karma handing the Buffs a decades long string of con man coaches.

    I had always disliked Texas for their arrogance but once Baylor had a hissy fit about being left out of the PAC I finally had to realize it aint just UT it was the whole stinking state and I said go west Buffs.

    In spite of the Buff’s self destructive choice of coaches, and trading UT for USC, I still enjoyed the PAC 12. Much more interesting matchups and teams , much more innovative offense, even it it wasnt ours.
    Now its all upside down again with a lot more at stake then when they came over. I would love to see the PAC 10 continue with a coaches salary cap, an NIL salary cap, if the courts would allow it as long as just enough money was made to sustain each program. Not only that but coach’s contracts that wouldnt allow them to walk away after performing their con with 10 million dollars for flushing the program down the toilet. Regradless what super conference the Buffs might land in the money factor will still push them down to the bottom. Its just a matter of time before the Rutgers and Vndy’s of the world either get tired of losing seasons or getting canned by the conference as dead wood. They wont be able to come even 10 percent of the NIL being offered by Texas oil money etc.
    Keeping the PAC 10 together in a pollyanna world isnt being realistic. I know the money grub will never end and it will take the wind out of my fan sails. I will still be a Buff fan and watch their games but it wont mean as much as it used to. Whatever soul college football had has been ripped away in my book.

  24. Stay as the pac 10

    I like it

    Would be a nice little conference

    play each team every year
    play other power 5 games

    win and get ranked high

    Buffs.

    Note: Don’t care if it is small. In fact the more I think about it the better I like it

    1. Small conference, small $, eventually dropped to small time. Not my idea of fun nor for most Buffs fans I would guess.

    2. 30mm, is just not enough….. and Washington and Oregon are going to get an invitation to dance with a bigger money deal and if we stay with the pac we are going to be left holding a conference with the dregs….

    3. Ha, it will be more than 30 million

      The la pigeons aren’t all things to all people. Quite the contrary.
      The mountain and pac time zones are the one off someone will pay for.

      If not fox or espn then one or more of the streaming services.

      The previous bohnhead conference dictator screwed the deal. The deal he got is not the real deal. Underpaid for sure.

      If the big patsies get 100 plus each 50 mil + will happen for the pac.
      When everybody goes big……………you go small

      Buffs.

      Note: Buff bowl = $2500

    4. It seems to me, whatever the result is this summer, it’s a layover until the College Football Playoffs, brought to you by Big Fox and SECSPN, gets to 16 or however many teams.

      I think at that point, there will be enough griping about coast to coast travel for, ahem, “student athletes” mostly from the Olympic sports side, to keep that more viable than the new Big Fox travel schedules will be (or a Pac 12 ACC alliance/merger, etc.).

      Additionally, they’ll lose a good chunk of eyeballs (that’s already happening, you can see it here: https://collegefootballplayoff.com/sports/2021/9/7/tv-viewership-history.aspx) if it’s just the same four (or six, or eight or twelve, or sixteen) teams only involved in the championship chase, year in and year out. We all know it’s about opening eyeballs, not closing them.

      At that point, I think college goes full AFL/NFL merger w/ regional divisions basically comprised of the current 64 Power 5 teams “mostly” aligned as the old conferences were with enticing cross-over matchups (maybe w/ some top G5s, and some teams who just drop out – Stanford and Cal’s research facilities dwarf what their football revenue is).

      SECSPN and Big Fox will keep the rights to the “major” teams/games, for the first iteration, and others, whether CBS, NBC, Turner, streaming, etc. will pick up the rest. I think they’ll realize that the BSU or Cincinnati or TCU before them (or maybe South Dakota State, App State, etc.) busting up into the “big boys” occasionally helps keep eyeballs on tvs.

      Along with that, I see the college football players association having a seat at the table.

      I could be wrong though, obviously, but that’s what I’ve been seeing for maybe a decade now. Either way, it’s compelling to watch unfold. Even if wacky, and totally money driven. What else is new?

      Go Buffs

      1. CU athletic income/donations are dwarfed by donations to the university which in 2021 were 371.2 million dollars.

        buffs

        1. I believe CU’s sponsored research revenue exceeded a billion in 2020.

          But, I believe our football and increasingly, thanks to tad, basketball fan base is much stronger than Stanford or cal’s.

          Go Buffs

  25. Just move to the Big 12 already. Not a hard decision to make. Somehow figure out how to get UO and UW on board and move forward. Or leave em behind. It is every school for itself. Rick G and Phil D must act accordingly. This is not some collaboration on a research project and it ain’t intramurals either!

  26. Whatever the next conference is and whatever the next media rights deal ends up providing to CU, someone needs to whisper in Rick George’s ear that he should contractually earmark part of that distribution to go back to the main university. Make it a proportion (even is only a few percent) so that there is a financial incentive for the Administration to help improve the product on the field. Right now too many of them only see it as a net cost to the education/research side of the university and don’t give much leeway in what they approve for the athletics as far as policy decisions go. I’d bet they would relax some of the restrictions they have on who can transfer or who can get into CU as an athlete. Not that I want it completely watered down, but I don’t see anyone benefiting from keeping decent students with athletic ability from getting into CU. At least get us a bit closer to an even playing field with the other teams in the conference.

    1. Agreed. That was apparently part of the rationale of ucla. Their athletic department has something like a $145million deficit. Pac 12 payouts would never clear that. Now? They are out in three or four years.

      Go Buffs

  27. Well besides Canzano missing that the Big 12 will also have the Tampa and Orlando markets when his loose alliance with the ACC would be taking affect (referring to him stating that the ACC TV markets have 10 1million+ TV household markets to the Big 12 supposedly only having 4), I think an alliance makes sense for whatever merging of the PAC 12/Big 12 looks like with the ACC on the other side. That together would rival both the Big 10 and SEC for number of TV households in the footprint. But, I still say that it should be a “best of” merger and not just lumping either conference together with all or part of the other. The key is to get the right mix of largest markets/highest drawing teams with the fewest members. More members just means the pie is split that much more.
    If the ACC is indeed locked in to their current contract under 2036, then this alliance would be the best way to maximize their non-conference and post-season value. Heck, with CBS losing the SEC game of the week starting after the 2023 season, why not space out cross over games throughout the entire season and replace that weekly game on CBS? Allows the BigPAC combo to still maximize their conference TV deal with whomever the highest bidder would be. Continue the “non-conference alliance” into basketball season and sell those rights separately as well.

    1. How do you boot the weak? I don’t think you can. Maybe you can start a new conference, but I think old contracts die hard (and expensively, in court).

      That makes it a “loose alliance” or all or nothing merger, or cherry picking, which can’t be done from the acc right now bc of? Contracts.

      Go Buffs

      1. I got it! Plead insanity! Or other mental incompetence. I ain’t a lawyer, but I think those two thing nullify just about any contract?

        Go Buffs

        1. You ain’t gonna use insanity or mental incompetence to nullify
          the $2,500 you are gonna have to pay

          Bowl Buffs $$2,500

          1. Hadn’t even occurred to me. But that is funny! I will gladly pay, if they get six or more. I will sadly receive, when five or less.

            Go Buffs

  28. I wonder how wilner is sleeping at night right now.
    With the PAC teetering on the edge of the cliff waiting for Oregon to give it the final shove into the abyss does Jon also wander off to “extinction?”
    With the PAC and more importantly for Jon, USC gone, does he scribe to an eagerly waiting world what is going on with the San Jose State Spartans?
    Will he spend more time napping a Giant games?
    Maybe he will instantly become an expert on soccer.
    If he really wants to keep his feet on the path to success maybe he should emulate Mark Kisla. Be an expert on nothing but still flood the news with whacked out opinions on everything.

    1. You ever been to a game at cal or Stanford? Even when they are rolling, nobody goes. I went to the big game as a guest circa 1996. Was blown away by the empty stadium, having grown up in Pullman, then gone to CU.

      I actually ran into a dude hiking the sierras Saturday with a Stanford shirt on. We talked briefly about the landscape, for football. He half jokingly said they should join the Ivy League. Actually, he was serious.

      So other than that, they fit the big fox footprint perfectly.

      Go Buffs

      1. Yup.

        The market decides.

        It’s about the tv time. Not who shows up.

        Lots of empty stadiums each Saturday

        Even in the SEC no all stadiums are sold out

        So ya they should be in

        Buff Bowl = $2500

        1. It is about tv viewers. And by and large the cal and Stanford viewership is tiny, relatively speaking, even in their own back yards.

          Hell, I bet more Nebraska fans in San Francisco watch their games than cal and Stanford combined. I don’t have those #s, but big fox and secspn do.

          Go Buffs

  29. Has anyone done the math on how much money is apparently available as it relates to keeping the individual team portion high enough before adding new members.? With everyone going for the dough this seems like a critical factor to the 2 super dude conferences.

    Notre Dame should bring in quite a bit more to the pot but how much? And the the Big 10 takes ND dont they have to take one more to keep the member numbers at an even number? My guess if that extra member comes from the PAC 12 it might be Stanford instead of Oregon. If they shoot for the moon for 20 teams, my guess is it would be Stanford, Ducks, Huskies and Utah.

    Sorry Buffs, but I would rather see a hybrid conference with left over PAC and some MWC teams operating on a level financial playing field and the rest of em go. If I watch one or 2 Big 10 or SEC games a year I have nothing better to do. Like maybe on the couch with the flu or crappy weather outdoors, which does not always defeat me being out there.

    1. That’s absolutely part of their calculus. Needing to add members that don’t dilute the payouts. And, although some have mentioned booting lower “performing” teams – ie: those that don’t bring in what they take, I’m sure current conference memberships have fairly stringent criteria to kick out member schools once they’re in, right? So, big fox dumping Rutgers or Maryland or Nebraska, probably not that likely. Similarly, Vandy probably not getting booted from the SEC, nor would Ole Miss or Miss State, etc.

      And that’s why I think a third conference made up of a Pac 12 and Big 12 merger makes sense.

      I still think ultimately, this thing ends up w/ roughly the 64 or whatever number of former Power 5 conference teams, just spread out differently, and a smattering of the top G5s too.

      As someone else mentioned, there’s got to be a plan for different TV windows, too, so if there’s too much inventory for prime time east coast windows (or central, etc.), aren’t the big fox and secspn just cannibalizing themselves?

      Anyway, gives us something to muse about in July, right?

      Go Buffs

    2. The math comes down to what TV markets can be legitimately claimed by which conferences/teams (yes more than one team/conference can claim the same TV markets), how many TV households are within those markets, how many teams are in the conference, and how big of a draw those teams/conferences are in those markets (something that I have not seen full data for as it would be a per market tv viewership per game that any members of the conferences play in, this is the extremely valuable viewership data that isn’t made public but that you can bet Fox and ESPN have access to).
      All of the rest of that equation can be found within https://swimswam.com/analyzing-the-new-ncaa-power-five-television-markets/ with a little extra leg work interpreting the data and making assumptions.
      What you end up with is a value along the lines of average TV households per team in the conference. To be worth bringing on, a new team would need to show more TV households per game than the average within the league.

      Without knowing the draw factor per market, the best we laymen can do (in my opinion) is use our gut/experience to determine if any particular team is enough of a draw to outweigh or negate any added TV markets that follow them. Combined as is, the Big 12 and remaining Pac12 schools have a larger footprint of TV households than all but the Big 10 (when including USC/UCLA), but the current make up would dilute that value among 22 teams versus either the Big 10 or SEC. I’ve argued in a different post that you could cherry pick as few as 13 of the Big 12 and remaining PAC 12 and still justifiably have more or less the same footprint of TV households. For example, you don’t likely need both Stanford and Cal to claim the San Fran/Oakland/San Jose tv market, nor do you need both Kansas and Kansas St to claim the same football specific TV market. Or need all of the Texas based schools to cover the same Texas TV markets. Fewer mouths to feed, means more to go around (in a purely shark eat shark view of things). Granted, you also wouldn’t need both Utah and BYU, but they both add significant draw factor beyond just their footprint value. Notre Dame is the king of the draw factor outweighing the TV market footprint you would otherwise expect a midwest team to have.

      1. Agree. The biggest challenge is that in the west, football ain’t religion. In the southwest and Midwest? Pretty much is. As I just mentioned above, I bet the sf market has more eyeballs on teams other than cal and Stanford.

        Going to be intriguing (hi ed) seeing how it shakes down on shakedown street.

        Go Buffs

  30. Here’s a wildcard, of sorts. Kliavkoff and the new Big 12 dude are acquainted with each other, if not actual friends. They both come from media backgrounds, and understand that streaming is going to be a big part of the future.

    Big Fox and SECSPN wanted to lock up their college football monopolies now, with traditional outlets, long contracts, and build into streaming.

    I agree that the only path forward – if you want to compete with and benefit from the money spigots of massive media deals (and yes, Virginia, those can actually provide value back to the educational arms of universities, let alone all the other sports) you have to be in that sand box.

    The only way forward for the teams in the ACC, Big 12 and Pac is to form the Acc big pac!

    And, even that is likely only a temporary layover, until the whole pie is run by the football playoffs. Then perhaps more geographic/travel sanity is mixed back into the whole shebang?

    I just hope the college football players association leverages this moment too. That’s when it gets really fun. Ultimately, without them, the whole house of cards collapses.

    Go Buffs

  31. I am really sick and tired of college football and their nonsense. This amateur sports to semi pro leaves a wasteland of the sport. Really, at this point, moves to two different leagues, semi pro NFL farms and amateur college. I prefer the latter. Maybe I’ll just switch to NFL this year as college football continues to burn. Why pretend when the real thing is done right. Also, Formula One is my new passion. Maybe college football will sort itself out someday, maybe it won’t.

  32. From the CBS article:

    “At USC, that future became increasingly unsustainable at a school whose alumni felt was being dragged down by the league.”

    What?

    Are they blaming the league for their underwhelming performance on the field? In a way thats true. They got their butts beat on the field a lot more than they are used to but the arrogance is staggering.

    The effect of the money is like heroin. There is never enough. The teams are like junkies stealing coaches and players from each other and now its conferences stealing teams. These super conferences are now going to be filled with the teams with the arrogance of USC and Texas. It will be “interesting” (apologies to earache’s limited vocab) to see if they start behaving like a hoops team that has 5 scoring stars on the court each one that has to have the ball.

    The NIL in the room will still be a factor in these super conferences. I cant believe teams like Ohio State, Alabama and especially A&M will be willing to put something like a limit on the amount of NIL payments. What is that going to do with also rans in these conferences? CBS and myself are wondering if some of the doormats in the SEC and the Big 10 will be expelled in favor of bigger names like Ducks and Huskies. Which brings me to the huskers. Are their delusional fans anteing up? My hopes were that the greed factor would prevent these 2 from inviting any more teams that would dilute the pot but as CBS said with the possibility of ejecting some of the doormats in favor of some teams like the ducks and huskies that doesnt bode well for any other conference. I can see that happening in the future. If some team left out of the super 2 in a decent media market lords over everyone else for a couple of years they will get an invite and another underperformer will get the boot.
    Maybe the country has enough football nutso fans that will support this type of thing. I cant stand it. If the Buffs get left out of the big 2 I see even less TV coverage. That means annoying my brother in Denver when I stop by to crash after a game. He isnt much of any kind of sports fan

    1. In my opinion, which isn’t worth all that much, a significant amount of blame should fall on USC for the demise of the PAC. If they didn’t underwhelm since the departure of Pete Carroll, there could be more competition in the west, and thus some better programs. It used to be that every kid in the west wanted to play for USC, and if they didn’t make it, they wanted to play against them. Now, that is not the truth. A huge amount of talent leaves for the South and Midwest.

  33. As of right now (only USC and UCLA have made a move), there are basically 4 “options” that CU might be able to consider. Factors that will affect attractiveness for any team not already in the Big 10 or SEC are 1. Do they give access to a valuable TV market? 2. Are they a competitive team/attractive brand? Rutgers was added to the Big 10 solely based on being able to plant a flag in the NYC market as having a “home team” to anchor the market. Huskers were added at the time based on their competitiveness and name brand. If your team doesn’t have either, then sorry, not going to have much of a chance to still be in a “Power” conference.

    CU’s best/most financially attractive potential option would be to also move to the Big 10. Not happy about it, but they are the goliath as far as TV money goes. They will now have a natural (have teams that could be considered “local”) anchor in the Top 4 TV markets (NYC, LA, Chicago, Philly). Other than having a long time presence in LA, neither SEC, nor any of the “used to be Power 5” conferences will have that.

    Second best option would be a lifeline from the SEC. Would suck as far as chances to lift the quality of the program, but still would bring in $80-100 million a year to every team in the conference.

    Third best option, in my opinion, would be a new 3rd “Super Conference” build from the best grouping of Pac 12/Big 12/ACC teams. I expect the immediate reaction to be that the Big 12 and ACC don’t “need” to basically blow up their leagues, except, they kind of will need to in order for the top teams from sliding even farther behind the Big 10 and SEC. Let’s face it, short of another super conference, everyone else will be afterthoughts for TV deals which is apparently all that seems to matter any more. The ACC got themselves locked into the the dumbest long term contract with ESPN that they are otherwise locked into until 2036. Meaning, no shot to get more value than they currently get. Big 12 did a decent job keeping a viable conference together, but now it looks like it will get a fraction of what a Super Conference gets in their new deal (not starting until 2025). PAC 12 loses it’s largest market and recruiting hotbed. Yes there is still a lot of California that the PAC 12 would be able to keep a presence in, but they too will not command anywhere near what the Super Conferences will be able to bring in. Estimates were half of what the Big 10 was then projected to be able to get and that was when the PAC 12 had LA and the Big 10 didn’t.

    Bad option number 1 is staying in a reconstituted Pac 12. Currently our situation.
    Worst option, in my opinion, would be to go back to the Big 12. The money that the Big 12 would be able to get in their next TV deal will still pale compared to any of the 3 “Super Conferences” would be getting. Remember, the 3rd Super Conference option is the “best of” the former Power 5 teams. So not only would CU likely not get more money than if the PAC 12 remainders stay together and add a couple of teams, but now CU would enter the Big 12 with tails between our legs. Read any Big 12 fan forum and they are all salivating at being able to hold it over CU for leaving and then needing to come back. No thanks. Plus all of the reasons we left the Big 12 in the first place still exist.

    1. Option 1 would be the best one IF the whole college football world splits into two totally separate businesses. The 30 something or so big boys can go semi-pro and play with their multi-million dollar NIL players and free agency (portal transfers) and etc. and beat up on each other every week. Rutgers would be out Miami in and etc.

      While the rest of the college world, THE TRUE college football world, can get back to a more normal playing field with reasonable rules for nil (lower case on purpose) compensation and transfers and anything else they want to address in college football while they’re at it.

      Would it be all that bad if the PAC12 kept most of it’s remaining teams and added the likes of a Boise State or San Diego State? So, what if a couple of big dogs take the money and run into the fire? There could be some really good college football played all across the county if the BIG MONEY schools took that money and formed a new league and the rest of the colleges went on to fix what is wrong.

      75% – 80% of high school players going to college won’t be making the big money at big schools and the schools they end up at would be better off figuring out a fair way to pay them all similarly and than compete at a similar level with each other.

      So what if the simi-pro conference takes and spends billions of dollars, if after that all the rest of the schools in their new alignments compete on a more level playing field. Would it be so bad if all of those programs had to exist $30 million a year in TV revenue? They would just have to scale back on coaches salaries, they make too much any how.

      Seriously, if schools had to operate at a lower financial level, but a more even one where all 100 schools get similar payouts for TV, than the product would adjust and college football could be competitive again.

      I think it would be fun again too.

      1. Well said, don’t give me this caring about the student athlete crap and then jump right into the muck called the big 10. CU has always bragged about being a higher education institution that also has athletics don’t turn that around now

      2. Well said. I think CU should be a leader in creating a more traditional college athletic experience and let the semi pros go their own way. It’s time to reset and get out of the insanity of semi pro ball.

  34. Bruins meet the Huskers. Huskers the Bruins. You guys will be best buddies because you have so much in common beyond being the B10 football doormat. Because, it’s all about the student athlete.

  35. “Mizzou isn’t a brand, but the SEC added them to get the STL and KC media markets. I know that for a fact.” – quote from a Washington Post

    Relevant U.S. media markets:
    6 San Francisco-Oak-San Jose
    12 Phoenix (Prescott)
    14 Seattle-Tacoma
    17 Denver
    20 Sacramnto-Stkton-Modesto
    25 Portland, OR
    34 Salt Lake City

    …so basically, the Bay Area schools have the next highest value (irrespective of what they may think in Eugene) and then probably UA/ASU then UW then ‘maybe’ the Buffs. If anything, Utah is probably in the least desirable position going forward aside from WSU, Oregon State, etc…

    1. Utah probably gains a little ground in that there is probably a much higher percentage of college football fans than in most of the areas ahead of them with sheer numbers. Plus their team is one of the best in the country.
      Having said that I decided I’m in favor, which it sounds like you are, of keeping the PAC 12 intact as opposed to heading back to the dust bowl. Yeah we lost the highest profile team in USC but I never liked SoCal anyway. Just an anthill of congestion. And LA X? Gag. I never had very many pleasant experiences in my visits there.
      Now that I have retired we are shopping for an RV and plan to make a lot more road trips. When you can combine football in areas where there is more than just football to offer for a visit the PAC 12 still beats the Big 12 or whatever it is these days like a red headed dog.

      1. “Plus their team is one of the best in the country”…. there was a time when this could have been said about Nebraska…or Miami… or even for a few short years CU. Things can change, sometimes quickly.

        I agree it certainly would be preferable to stay in the PAC-xx versus going back to the Big-12 (particularly since the Big-12 we all knew is no longer the same). A “Pac-10” would be interesting, but I can’t imagine Oregon wanting to be part of that so when they go it would trigger UW, UA and ‘others’ to make similar considerations for their survival and well being. CU to the BIG10? possibly, although that would really only be because of academics and the eyeballs the Denver area brings, not because of any serious athletic contributions. People generally like to travel to Boulder (as opposed to say Pullman or SLC), so there’s always that angle.

    2. San Diego cant be that far behind and they have improved their program substantially . Boise would be a clunk on media market but at least they are a decent team who would bring back a little the competitive decrease of USC’s exit.

    3. Another way to look at this is the total for two schools, assuming that two schools always move together to keep the conference at an even number. Since Cal and Stanford share the same media market, having two schools does not increase the media share. That changes the picture to this (using Wikipedia).
      1st Washington & Oregon together – 3.4 million households
      2nd CU & Utah – 2.9m (although BYU is already in the BIG 12, so you could arguably subtract .55m)
      3rd Bay Area Schools – 2.65m
      4th Arizona Schools – 2.64m

      This seems more reasonable. Looking at it this way, adding Washington and Oregon is the best choice and Oregon is a nationwide brand compared to everyone else. I know many more Oregon fans with no connection to the school than any of the others. The others are fairly even in their impact on media rights.

  36. time for CU to get back into the Big 12. Should have never left in hind sight. Not the same but better than left overs

  37. another thing that is annoying is that unless they start ejecting dead wood the corn holes are sitting pretty. Its like the worst house in the best neighborhood.

  38. So does this do anything to the CFP? Why expand now? The top team from the Big 10 plays the second place team for the SEC and vice versa in the first round. Why would they bother with anyone else now?

  39. His track record says otherwise. But? We all got opinions, and yours is always just as wrong as mine. All good, and all fun, either way.

    Go Buffs

  40. God I’m glad we joined this cluster conference. Been nothing but fun, excitement and positives. Take Oregon too. Hope to see some positives surfacing.. College football is starting to smell like a dead fish…

  41. Ok, so to me, the whole conference thing is going to basically disappear anyway. They may go w/ geography like the pros, etc.

    And, we know it’s all about money. Always has been. And to date, the “kids” or “student athletes” or “employees” or whatever you want to call them, have gotten very little of it (free “education” is pennies, relatively speaking).

    Football generates roughly $20billion/yr. Basketball I think is about the same (mostly from March Madness).

    So, taking FBS only for simplicity, there’s 13,650 or so players, right? That’s 105×130. Coaches, what, roughly 1300 (ten times 130)? Support staff, maybe double that? 130 universities. 10 conferences. So what if – again, very simplistically – you split $20billion into five or six tranches. Five is easy. There’s four billion for each tranche. Players, Coaches and staff, Universities and conferences. Ok, that’s only four tranches. $5billion each. Per year. Or maybe head coaches are one, and assistants and staff another? Per year. That’s a lot of jack, jack. Plenty to go around, no?

    Of course you don’t go full egalitarian/socialist/commie style, so like the pros, top teams that generate more, keep more, top players, top coaches, get more, etc. but… everybody gets something. Minimum player “salary”, long-term healthcare, education, financial literacy training, etc. Coaching salary caps at say $10mill/yr; top QB caps (or luxury tax) at $2mill, etc.

    I’m sure there’s some formulas to make it work. Will that happen? I think it will have to b/c ultimately, if the players, er employees don’t get their share, the whole thing stops working.

    The power has never been more in the players hands than now. Let’s see what they do with it.

    It’s always interesting.

    Go Buffs

    PS- it’s going to be fun seeing how the UC system likes this concept for UCLA. Will they flow some of that cash back to the UC system? But, I think really, the Big 10 only really wants USC anyway. UCLA is probably just along for the ride.

  42. well of course
    it was just a natural progression
    First it was the coaches slopping at the million dollar trough
    Next up the players, but just as naturally, all but a select few QBs will be the only workers coming close to the CEO/coaches.
    Finally (maybe) its entire teams chasing the golden goose before it gets cooked.
    Will college football hang itself with it’s own rope?
    Already has from where I sit.
    From conference of champions to conference of chumps

    1. Well… hopefully there is a way to join the BIG10! If they would even take us, maybe in a package with Oregon UW Utah. But the PAC-12 is dead

  43. So our main hope now is that California politics keeps USC and UCLA in the PAC12? Failing that, are the Buffs better off seeking a different conference (Big12 redux) or hoping that the PAC12 can stop the bleeding and poach decent enough teams to not drop significantly in revenue?

  44. Wow. That would be a seismic shift, no? And people didn’t like Mike Bohn. Dude’s no dummy.

    Gonna be interesting to watch this unfold. Or maybe unravel is a better word?

    Either way, if that happens, I guess those thinking CU going to the Mountain West may get their wish, one way or another.

    Go Buffs

  45. Well that pretty much puts an end to the pac 12. Texas, Oklahoma, UCLA, USC they’re all football whores. What a mess, college football that I grew up with is dead. As has been mentioned before, just start your own league of 32 teams and maybe the rest can have what used to be called college football.

  46. I didn’t realize Rick had interviewed for the Big 12 commissioner’s spot (if we trust Dodd’s reporting, but seems reasonable). I was pretty sure he threw his hat in the ring for the Pac 12 gig.

    I think if they do go the route of a College Football Czar/Commissioner, it’ll have to be to someone unaffiliated w/ any current conference or team though. There’s already enough infighting, wrangling and jockeying for position. If whoever heads the new organization has direct ties to any team or conference (possibly even including their alma mater) it may be that much harder to build consensus. Go get another Yale or Harvard or Dartmouth grad or something. It’s been 100yrs since they were good at football. Although, it would be hilarious if their wealthy alumni tipped the scales back that way w/ NIL etc. Saban might just retire, if that were to happen.

    Go Buffs

  47. Why was Utah able to climb the ladder up while CU fell? Admin and coaching.

    It really started with Slick Rick and went down from there. Gary Barnett slowed the fall, but made critical mistakes that contributed to the fall. And then the “Home run Hire” who looked great on paper, but brought his son and used the team to farther his son’s career and ran off every good QB and didn’t give the one that did stay a fair chance.

    Meanwhile through all of that, Whittingham was doing more with less and built a class program.

    Why football gods, why? Did the previous success come from a deal with the devil that would turn a once proud program that was winning and cause it to fall to the bottom of the pac?

    Or:

    Did the Buffs fall just because I’m a fan? Ever feel that way?

    1. At the end of the day, though, CU fans can at least be proud that at one time we were a nationally relevant football program that won a National Championship…. neither Oregon or Utah can make such a claim. Change can occur, but needs to start at the top and pervade every aspect of the university.

      1. Does CU even have a President? Everything in the State of CO is turning to $hit unless you’re a far left
        Loony and then it is paradise. And in many ways that starts in Boulder. Sorry for injecting politics here but it is pertinent in my opinion.

        1. Everything in the country is turning to $hit unless you’re far right… Sorry for injecting politics here but it is pertinent in my opinion.

          As long as I add that than it’s ok?

  48. location, location, location
    Riley didnt have it, Whittingham does….so much so he is willing to take far less than his market value. Of course at 6 mill per year he wont have to clip coupons before heading to the grocery store. There are a few, not many, for whom there is enough money.
    Where are the pundards who were projecting him to bolt to USC?

  49. Utah has ascended in direct proportion to how Colorado has nose dived (which is what happens to leaderless organizations with no concept of vision or ambition)

    1. Agree 100%
      The lack of interest from CU’s Administration is becoming more and more apparent….. So sad to see a once proud and relevant football program turn into one that just participates……

      1. You are spot on. They sure like cashing those big TV and conference revenue share checks though, without really having to invest much.

    2. I agree 100% as well. The sad part is, I don’t see any reason for hope that this is going to change anytime soon.

  50. “I don’t look at it like where I want to retire, trying to set up stability [at one place],” Riley said. “I’m 38. I want to experience different things. I want to win. This opportunity is so good, how can you not do it?”
    If I was making 7 to 9 million a year I might do Oklahoma too. But just like Riley a limited period of time. Spending your life in Oklahoma isnt worth any amount of money to me and evidently Riley as well.
    If you can make equal or more and get out of the land theft state….damn right.
    Riley had nothing left to prove at OU. I wouldnt bet against him at USC (sorry Buffs) especially looking at his recruiting.

  51. Editors must be cracking the whip
    The “rankers” are cranking out their crap at a furious rate.
    ranking how many QB’s?

  52. Finebaum is such a classic SEC honk.

    The Pac 12 hasn’t missed their shot. They may still, but that jury is still out.

    It boils down to having quality content. If the Pac 12 football and basketball teams can provide compelling content, they’ll be fine in the next media rights round (and they have the “bonus” of a whole lot of Olympic sports too, if anyone cares).

    It seems w/ the addition of Lincoln Riley, the football content should improve. Basketball’s been quietly doing OK, relatively speaking.

    After all, the Pac 12 holds six of the top 20 media markets. I think the rest are relatively evenly split among the Big 10, ACC and SEC.

    Granted, SEC fans and alumni don’t just live in SEC land, like Pac 12 fans and alumni don’t just live in Pac 12 media markets. But nevertheless, the bulk of the fan bases in those markets are likely aligned w/ their regional schools.

    Advertisers want the Pac 12 footprint. As long as the content is compelling, they’ll pay plenty to get it.

    Go Buffs

    1. I’m sure most have heard the old saying…..”those that can, play….those that cant , ref”

      Well even refs need a modicum of athletic ability to keep up with the action. So I am going to add to that old saying……..”those who cant ref…..blather.”

      These guys are a prime example of eating and offering the low hanging fruit. Finebaum looks like he retired from acting in old westerns as the shop keeper before he became some kind of football expert….which brings to mind Kiper who looks and sounds like he came from another planet.

      I know, I know
      Its an easy job but too many are trying to do it.
      so much for the cliches.
      I will give our Neil Woelk a shout out as being above most of these guys. Big of me…..right?

      1. “Finebaum looks like he retired from acting in old westerns as the shop keeper”… took me a solid minute to stop laughing – thank you!

  53. While I do not wish I’ll on Rice, I gotta say I really do not think he is going to get the touches there at USC. I think people, including us are enamored of the name but I never really saw it. I have a real feeling he is going to get less touches and might get overtaken by other talent on the team. So what is the right move for a guy like this? Be #1 on a team like ours, be #2 or #3 on a USC team? If the goal is to get drafted? On Chev’s team anywhere else. I get that. But I got a feeling being #1 under Sanford’s offense will get you a chance to be drafted.

  54. Be interesting to see how much Rice hits the field now that the kid from Pitt is there, with 2 years to play, let alone the other 4 star receivers I’m sure are also there.

    1. I was thinking the same thing. Not only w/ Addison there, but also Mario Williams – if I got his name right – who came over from UO. But, Brenden’s tall and athletic, and they’ll run a lot of four receiver sets, so he may get a decent shot to earn time. We’ll find out.

      But, that also ties directly into having a transfer window or three, so kids can see who’s going where, and help inform their choices a bit more.

      In the meantime, I love the clamor over in SEC land. Where, some theorize, that $8mill deal for the high school QB is set to land (Tennessee vs. USC). I still think Wazzu pulled the coup of the transfer season w/ Cam Ward for $90k. Or maybe Jaden De Laura to AZ for nothing.

      Go Buffs

  55. Sure glad to hear all the praise for Kliavkoff. I feel confident he deserves it. He comes from a background where performance was necessary.
    on the other hand
    You have to wonder about the PAC 12 Board and all the Conference University administrators who were complaining about the last “4 or 5 years.” What were they doing all the time Scott as doing nothing except spending money? If Scott was a such a stone around the conference neck why didnt they get together and threaten to sue him for non performance and money waste if he didnt accept a discounted buyout before his contract ended?
    Maybe its because they were all enjoying their lazy money.
    Money for nuthin
    Chicks for free
    Mighta got a blister on their thumb
    Kinda like the NCAA

  56. Wilner as a reporter has got to be one of the laziest. I doubt he watched even a single spring game much less all 12. I doubt he did more than look at the records last year, reviewed who transferred out that he knew their names, and looked at the recruiting class.

  57. If I was more of a betting person I would wager that Wilner harbors frustration over the probability that his pay for Hotline scribble lags and underperforms badly in the Denver/Boulder/Colorado subscription market.

  58. Wilner says:
    “The Hotline feels confident enough to declare all the offseason roster tumult has changed … absolutely nothing.”

    Indicating to me nothing has changed with Wilner’s ability to forecast, predict or take naps. I guess that is what you get when you are writing sports for all the nerds over in silicon valley

    1. So you bud Wilner list where his stuff is available in each pac 12 market.

      Colorado: We’re available on the Denver Post’s college sports page.

      There ya have it

      Go Buffs

  59. To me, scrapping the Pac 12 divisions isn’t ideal, but not that big a deal, either. They could even keep the same format as now, but just have the top ranked teams play in the championship, vs. the divisional champs playing, regardless of ranking (with, ahem, NCAA approval to do so).

    But, the more important piece to that scheduling deal is to get the SEC to step up and play 9 conference games, like everyone else (except maybe the big 12, since they haven’t had enough teams – which will also change soon). Why doesn’t anyone seem to push for that?

    If the SEC stopped playing Southwestern Mississippi State School for Monks in November, and instead had to face another SEC foe, I’m guessing we’d see fewer undefeated SEC teams by year’s end. They’ve also done a nice job of not having their top teams play each other every year. Once they have 16 teams, staying at 8 conference games seems even harder.

    I think had the SEC played 9 conference games for the last 11 years of the CFP, they would have not been quite as dominant in the playoff format. But, since they got in early and often, in part on the backs of their weaker scheduling, that became a feedback loop on the recruiting trail, too. “Hey, you want to play for national championships? Come here!”

    But who knows? By 2026, maybe the whole D1 football landscape is different anyway, and it’s a semi-pro league of 30-40 teams? I doubt it. So, get the SEC to commit to playing 9 conference games.

    If # of games played is a concern (or a red herring) in an expanded playoff? Fine. Drop one or two of the tune up non-conference games at the early part of the season.

    Go Buffs

  60. Wilner says:
    “Eliminate divisions, and you can match the best teams.”

    So what does that mean? If the conference is so desperate to get a team in the four team CFP does that mean teams like CU and AU have to play Oregon and USC every year to make sure The Ducks and the condoms stay unbeaten?

    Wilner also says:
    “The current model leaves the conference at risk of an unranked division champion upsetting a highly-ranked division champion and thereby eliminating the Pac-12 from the CFP.”
    Holy crap
    Isnt that “why they play the game?” Why dont we just mail the damn score in and forget about actually playing the game? We can send half the money the University saves over to the Ukraine.

    Forget tilting. What else can these nitwits do to turn the playing field vertical?

    Screw the CFP. If it isnt already bought and paid for with 20 million dollar coaches and millionaire players it will be completely in an another year or 2.
    But of course this right up little Wilner’s alley. He can bask in the after coitus glow of his dear USC and remain just as lazy as ever about anything outside Cal.

    I dont watch any of the CFP games now. If things in college football get any worse I may limit my fandom to hoops and hockey.

    Go Avs
    and whenever the Buffs start skating

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