“I Don’t Know …”

When my son-in-law Mac graduated from law school some years ago, he asked me if I had any sage advice to give him about the legal profession.

I had only two bits of wisdom to pass along. First, I told him, be nice to your staff and to Court clerks. You may not realize it, but these individuals control your life, and they can make it great, or they can make it miserable. As for me … I put my secretary/office manager/paralegal/legal assistant on my letterhead the first day I went out on my own, and the recognition that our relationship was a partnership has as resulted in my having  the same “employee” for over 30 years.

The second piece of advice I gave Mac was to learn how to say, “I don’t know”. Like him, I was a cocky know-it-all out of law school, and that feeling was only enhanced when friends and family asked for legal advice at dinners and ball games. No young attorney wants to come across as ignorant, so the impulse is to pretend to know everything about everything … and that attitude can get you into trouble. I told Mac that the sooner he learned to say “I don’t know”, the better his life would be.

I bring this up as pertains to the move of the University of Colorado back to the Big 12 as the news has generated, at least for me, some real mixed emotions. I had already written about some of the pros and cons for the move back in June, but that was when the move was still hypothetical. Now that it’s real, and fellow Buff fans are asking me whether this is a good move or a bad move for the program we all love so dearly, and I’m not sure I have a clear cut answer.

The fact of the matter is … I don’t know.

Every time I think of a positive aspect of the move, I come up with a negative. Every time I have a down thought about CU rejoining the Big 12, I come up with a thought which buoys me.

So, if you’ll bear with me, I am going to randomly sift through some of my emotions …

CU is crawling back to a Big 12 conference after being a complete and utter failure in the Pac-12 … The Buffs are the first Power Five conference to leave a conference and then return to their old conference, and are doing so with their tails between their legs. The national media will spend the next 12 months reciting CU’s Pac-12 record (I haven’t taken the time to add it up yet, but there are some really ugly numbers there), and the pundits will make light of CU not being able to “cut it” in the Pac-12, heading back to a conference which is a shell of its former self.

One example: A member of the Pac-12 CEO Group has already been quoted as saying that they will be meeting to “discuss the opportunity to ‘trade up’ through expansion given Colorado’s decision.”

And there was this backhanded compliment from a columnist for The Oregonian: “Gotta hand it to Colorado. This is the first time I can remember them outplaying anybody.”

I have to say that I really, really hate that narrative, but it’s what Buff fans will have to endure.

But what an opportunity … While CU has a great deal of proving to do, the fact is that the University of Colorado, now of the 13-member strong Big 12, has one of the most storied histories in the conference. Colorado has more victories in its history than any other school in the Big 12 except for West Virginia, and is one of only three schools in the conference with both a national championship and a Heisman Trophy winner (BYU and TCU being the others).

Oh, and by the way … The Pac-12 currently has four members who have won a national championship. Come 2024, that number drops to one (Washington, and that was a shared national title in 1991).

Plus, there are now no bullies in the Big 12 conference for CU to fear … For much of the time Colorado was in the Big Eight, it was the Big Two (Oklahoma and Nebraska) and the Little Six. Then, in the Big 12, Texas and Texas A&M were added to the list of schools with more money for facilities and coaches (and, ahem, recruits). Moving on to the Pac-12, the Buffs found new monied schools to envy. CU remains winless against USC, has posted only one win in its last 12 tries against Oregon, and have been an embarrassment when compared to what Utah has accomplished over the same time span.

In the new Big 12, where is the fear factor? Kansas State won the conference last year, and TCU played for the national championship, but I don’t see Buff fans looking at the 2024 schedule and marking down guaranteed “L’s” from anyone on the schedule. As a member of the Pac-12, CU fans were clearly not at the big boy table. As a member of the new Big 12, CU’s status is immediately enhanced.

Oh, and by the way … CU will finally get to have seven home games for a change. The Buffs have future contests scheduled with Houston, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State, which are now conference opponents. “I think it gives us an opportunity to create more home contests here because we may go out and look for opponents that are just going to play in Boulder one year,” Rick George said. “So rather than having six games, we’ll have seven, which helps us in revenue generation for our department.”

Don’t think CU will be one of the most prestigious teams in the reconstructed Big 12 conference? Check this out … Despite a 12-year hiatus from the conference, CU still rates as one of the more successful teams in the 27-year history of the Big 12. The most Big 12 title game appearances for conference schools come 2024? Kansas State 4; Colorado 4. Number of Big 12 titles among returning schools for the 2024 season? Kansas State 2; Colorado and Baylor 1 each.

CU may not be traveling from the outhouse to the penthouse in one season, but the Buffs will almost instantly have bragging rights over most of the newly formulated Big 12 conference.

So, you want to play in a conference with a bunch of former G5 schools? … With the loss of Texas and Oklahoma, the argument will be that the Big 12 is not what it used to be, and will be considered a secondary conference going forward. What’s left after the flagship schools from Texas and Oklahoma leave? There will only be the core of the old Big Eight/Big 12 – Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Baylor – and none of those teams are college football blue bloods. The Big 12 additions of recent years, including the new four joining this season – BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF – are not historic powers, either. Oh, and almost none of these schools are in the AAU, whereas almost all of the schools in the Pac-12 were AAU members. Whatever happened to the idea of like-minded institutions binding together?

This isn’t about academics, and it never was … CU certainly seemed like it would be a “better fit” with the west coast schools, but the Buffs, in part due failures on the football field, were never fully integrated into the Pac-12, so moving back to the Big 12 isn’t all that tough a pill to swallow. And, at the end of the day, it’s about dollars, eyeballs and screens, and CU needs to be in a position by the end of the decade to make a pitch to be a part of the inevitable “Big Two” or “Big Three” conferences, and not be relegated to the kid’s table of college football.

With the mismanagement of the Pac-12 by the conference hierarchy, and the abandonment of the conference by USC and UCLA, the future of the Pac-12 is certainly in question. The Big 12, meanwhile, is much closer to the Big Ten and SEC geographically and historically. Does anyone think the new “anchors” of the Pac-9, Oregon and Washington, are going to make it their top priority to salvage west coast football? Not a chance. When – not if, but when – the Big Ten comes calling, the Ducks and Huskies will sprint to their new home without a second thought, leaving behind exactly what? Bay area schools which don’t care about football … Oregon State and Washington State who no one wants … Arizona schools who will be begging to get into the Big 12 … and a Utah team wondering where it all went wrong.

Would it be in the best interest of the Buffs to be a part of the remnants of the Pac-12? No. The best shot for Colorado to be relevant nationally at the end of the decade, when the next wave of realignment occurs, is as a member of the Big 12.

I hope you enjoy those road trips to Ames and Lubbock, Buff fans … I understand the argument, but it doesn’t sway me. How many of the fans decrying the new destinations in the Big 12 actually went to road games when CU was in the Pac-12? As a Buff fan who has traveled to away games since the mid-80’s, I get it. I have been to the Rose Bowl. I have been to Tempe, Salt Lake City and the Bay area. I have attended multiple games in Corvallis, Eugene, and Seattle … and even made a fortuitous trip to Pullman (for CU’s only win of the 2011 season). On very few occasions was the University of Colorado visitor section a factor in the game … and on very few occasions were the games I attended sellouts for the home team. We make fun of the SEC slogan: “It just means more” … but it does. Pac-12 schools like football, but they don’t live for football.

Road games in the Big 12? Not much in the way of ambiance, but a great deal of fan support. Admittedly, the only conference road venues from the old Big 12 I have been to are Lincoln, Austin, and College Station … Big 12 road trips which don’t exist anymore. But, I can say this with some degree of confidence: fans in Stillwater, Ames, and Manhattan care more about their football than do the folks in Palo Alto, Berkeley, and Westwood.

This being the case, the lack of great road destinations in the Big 12 does not disappoint me. Sorry folks, but I would much rather hold onto my travel money and attend a bowl game as a member of the Big 12 than watch my Buffs get skunked one more time in a lovely Pac-12 city.

And then … Show me the money … The University of Colorado would not be moving on if Rick George and the CU administration thought that the money as a returning member of the Pac-12 would have been equal to or greater than what the Buffs will make as a member of the Big 12. That has been the mantra from Jon Wilner and others for months: If the Pac-12 media money is going to comparable, there is no incentive for any school to leave.

We’ll see how it all plays out, but here’s guessing that the Pac-12 media contracts, when they are finally announced, will be a disappointment. Rick George knows what’s going on in the room, and if he felt comfortable with what was coming, CU wouldn’t be leaving the Pac-12. Perhaps the Pac-12 can pull a rabbit out of its collective hat, but the conference has already missed three opportunities to make national headlines – at the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament in March, during the San Diego State debacle at the end of June, and at the Pac-12 media day on July 21st. The Pac-12 has lost the L.A. market, and now has lost the Denver market.

Think the Pac-12 contracts will exceed the $31.7 million CU will get as a member of the Big 12?

Neither do I.

Is this all about Coach Prime and recruiting? … I’m going with “no”. The narrative is that Coach Prime helped to orchestrate the move so that he will have better opportunities to recruit in Texas and Florida. While being in the Big 12 footprint will certainly be a bonus going forward, there is no chance that Coach Prime’s recruiting biases would have been the deciding factor in the move to the Big 12. Once again … if the Pac-12 had its act together, and had a solid media contract deal, there are no conversations between CU and the Big 12. None.

Will you miss Pac-12 After Dark? … I won’t. This is just a selfish take, but when I am writing up a game story after midnight on Saturday night, knowing that I still have an essay to write and post by 8:30 Sunday morning, I am not a big fan of late night football (yes, it’s a self-imposed deadline, but after some 25 years of doing this, it’s hard to break the habit). Will there will still be late night Saturday games for the Buffs as a member of the Big 12? Sure (CU v. BYU has a late kickoff written all over it), but there will be more games played at a more reasonable hour as well. Oh, and the Buffs will be on Fox and ESPN, at an hour when fans on the east coast can actually watch them, not on the Pac-12 Networks, playing before a small audience of insomniacs.

Are you ready for some basketball? … Football drives the bus, but men’s basketball is, for most schools, the only other sport which generates revenue. UCLA was already going to be in CU’s past, but the loss of Arizona (assuming the Wildcats don’t join the Buffs in defecting) is more than made up for by the likes of Kansas, Baylor, Cincinnati, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, etc. The University of Colorado is going from a conference hoping to get 3-4 of its members into the Big Dance to a conference which will regularly have 8-9 schools who are a part of March Madness.

Bottom line … After going on for much longer than I usually do in an essay, it’s still hard to commit to an answer about the move to the Big 12. Over the next few days, weeks, and months, I feel pretty confident that the unknowns will tilt in favor of the move …

— Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark has always said he wants to have 14 schools in his conference. Will Arizona join CU in the Big 12? Will the conference go for a program mostly enhancing the basketball lineup, like UConn? Or a basketball only school, like Gonzaga? Once CU has a moving partner for the 2024 season, much of the negativity around the move from the national press will be diluted;

— What will the Pac-12 do? Will it add San Diego State, and claim to have “traded up”? Will it add three Mountain West schools to get back to 12?;

— What will the Pac-12 media contracts look like when finally announced? Will the revenue be within shouting distance of the $31.7 million/year average CU will get from the Big 12, thus giving rise to questioning CU’s motivation to leave? Or, will there be so much streaming, and so little linear coverage, that the Pac-12 will slide into secondary status nationally, thus giving justification for CU’s decision?

My guess is that, when the dust settles, the majority of Colorado fans will embrace the move. There is more money to be made, more exposure for its athletic programs, more stability in the Big 12 than the Pac-12, and a sense that CU is returning to its roots … and a conference where it has had proven success.

But … at least until some of the above questions are answered, my enthusiasm for the move will remain tempered.

I still don’t know …


44 Replies to ““I Don’t Know …””

  1. I never was comfortable with the Pac-12 move – I grew up in Southwest Conference territory before becoming a Buff. Even with reassurances that CU was a “good fit” with the West Coast schools, it never felt right and making the move now is in the school and department’s best interest.
    Buffaloes roam on the Great Plains and that’s where they should host their opponents – Go BUFFS!

  2. Colorado never had a chance in the Pac.. Came in with a a bad rap, recruiting restrictions above and beyond any other P5, wrong coaching hires.. Bottom stayed at the bottom.. Great momentum move with Prime on Tap.. Maybe we can start believing in College Football 🏈 again.. The whining cu California alums can blame the 2 cry babies for ruining the pac.. I’m just glad the BUFFS had Balls enough to stick the dagger in.. 👊.. CU in Manhattan.. Predicting Buffs 6-6 ( beating usc with a good team always close with crap teams) … New Mexico Bowl easy to to drive for me.. GoBuffs keep the country talking.. Fish On

  3. I guess I am in the crowd of 11 or 12 alums who do not travel to games, but do watch all the games on TV.
    I watched my last game in Folsom in the fall of 1964, my last year in school. I saw the Buffs play Wazoo in Seattle in 2003 (because I was there for the Red Sox game the night before). I watched the Buffs play CAl in Berkeley (I live in the area) when they lost 59-56 (2013?). That’s it for seeing the Buffs in person.
    So, all this hand wringing about “all these alums now can’t get to games in Ames or Lawrence” doesn’t move me much at all. If it’s on TV, I don’t care where the game is.

    1. I’ve gotta agree with that. How many that are upset went to games and how many games did they go to?

  4. I have thought this for a long time. I like that we took charge of our own destiny. What if the PAC12 deal came in at 20mm at best and both Oregon and Washington jump to big 12 becuase big10 won’t take them. What if after that the Big12 says that is good and we are left in the dregs of the PAC12+Utah? I think that was a realistic potential case. I don’t know if this will be the best for us, and like Stuart I really help the tail between our legs story line. I really hope we have a great season this year so we don’t have the story line about how the PAC12 was so much better if we have success when we do get over there….. but we had to do this. Otherwise we were just going to be at the mercy of someone else’s decision. Let’s be proactive. The money is solid. There was no way the pac was going to beat it by much.

  5. I heard a rumor that the 2025 season that we get 50 million which is part of the contract. Is that not the case?

  6. Stuart, having recently left Tucson I can tell you that there was nothing that compares with Eskimo Joe’s in Stillwater Ok. I’m sure as a Well known Montana Gourmet you will enjoy the atmosphere and food at Eskimo Joe’s in Stillwater. Yum Yum ……

  7. Love the Titanic reference above, agree 100%. Love getting off Pacific Time Zone emphasis. Always thought the “we are going to be more simpatico academically” line was BS. N o way do any of the UC schools or Stanford think that. Never really had any feelings about PAC 12 opponents but lots of memories in Big 12. McCartney calling the fake field goal against Okie State, a blizzard game at Iowa State on TV that couldn’t have had 500 people in the stands, how haughty K State got when they finally got good in football after being like CU is now for several decades, hating the Rock Chalk Jayhawk chant with a passion at every home basketball game where we were outnumbered by them. I think this will be fine.

  8. Hey Stuart… I agree with all your points…except I am thrilled we are going Big 12. Going to the Pac 12 was the right move then… this is the right move now…no one can see the future… but I believe this puts us in the best position to be successful on all fronts.

  9. I’ll start out by saying I dont like this at all. I also feel the same as Irie about the character of the fans. I wont go into detail about abuse by the cobb louts (same all over the prairie), the Kansas state patrol, the constant search for a decent place to eat, the dismal different planet and endless “scenery”……and so on. This may sound petty and arrogant but it goes to image as well. Now that the closest town to Boulder, that being Austin, is gone from the conference, Boulder sticks out like sore thumb amongst the tractor, feedlot, truck stop crowd. Yeah tractors, feedlots and truck stops are necessary for a diverse table but I can gare-on-tee you most of the fans in those other B12 stadiums never attended any of the their mediocre schools. A lot of them look at college educated people as commies.
    Ok enough said there.
    I also take issue with Stuarts characterization of the Buffs always getting beat by the bigger boys in the PAC 12. The Buffs beat themselves by hiring a decade and a half of worthless coaches. If either HWSRN, Mickey McIntyre or Sleepy Dorrel were still here we would still get our ass handed to us where we are going now.
    Having said all that Money is the name of the game now and nothing else has barely any impact now in college football. GK was supposed to be the marketing guru the PAC desperately needed.
    A long long time ago when the Buffs were still in the Big 8. I use to cheer for the Cal teams to beat the stodgy old conservative teams like Ohio State who made football boring in the Rose Bowl.
    Whaaa Happened?

    1. ep, but just think that if you journey out on those endless plains there is probably a fast food Runza Store to satisfy your not being able to enjoy them over there in no mans land (4 Cornerville).

      1. Not so fast, my friend (apologies to the clown of game day)
        Cortez has a stellar Thai restaurant
        Dolores River Brewery has the best Pizza anywhere along with competing suds with the numerous craft breweries in Durango…..some which serve food at the same level.
        There are several snooty places in Durango but I prefer some that might be considered “holes in the wall….including RGP for grilled wraps, a bakery called bread with what might be the best BLTs in the entire country. For Mexican there is Nayarit in Durango and Kip’s Cantina in Pagosa, either of which I know you would appreciate.

        1. WOW!!!! ep find me some real estate to buy near the 4 Corners and we can watch the Buffs come back to relevancy. It don’t matter no more that your wife won’t let you switch to Dish as the new and improved Buffs will no longer be on the PAC 12 network but ESPN….yeeehaw!!!!! Programs brought from beautiful downtown AMES, or that garden spot Lubbock. Is that other town out there Manhattan NY or for gosh sake KS. If it’s KS we’ll at least get all the free Sunflower Seeds and have seed hull spitting contests at halftime.

          1. Mother in law (from NE) was a snowbird who spent the winters in Mission TX.
            One time on the way back from a visit just South of Lubbock we got completely swallowed up by a red dirt storm so bad you couldn’t see 6 feet. I pulled as far over as I could hopefully without engaging some farmers fallowed cotton field and sat there to wait it out. I left the engine idling and it sucked up enough red dirt into the air filter to kill the engine. I could have straggled into town without a filter but dirt covered everything after the wind died down. Luckily I was able to knock enough dirt out of the filter to get to that “oasis” on the plains anyway.
            Dontcha just love Texas?

  10. The PAC could have ended the Big 12. Could have had any of them and chose not to. Because they aren’t quality. At any level. We’ve embarrassed ourselves and we can’t take it back.

    1. The leadership of the pac and no wherewithal whatso ever. They ended the pac because of the lack of leaderships. Fact.

      Go Buffs on to the real 12

  11. We joined a community college league. Traded Stanford as a peer for Central Florida. Four of these schools weren’t even in the power five until this year. Never mind the pride swallowing (and avoidable) siege of crawling back in our hands and knees. There isn’t one decent academic school in the conference. There isn’t one national football team with a brand that touches Oregon or Washington. Oklahoma State? That the anchor? May as well have joined the Mountain West. That press conference was a joke. All to appease a guy who will be gone in two years. And yes, the west coast donations and support will be eviscerated.

    1. Perhaps limiting the shroom intake will raise your spirits.
      Good luck

      Go Buffs.

      No one is crawling back. Sheesh. So you talked to prime and he said two years? West coast donations were never that big anyway. And will not be bigger than the extra 10 million from the TV money. I guess you missed how the pac 12 was run? Perhaps you go back and refresh the cells.

    2. I don’t think any of that matters for CU. We couldn’t compete in the PAC, we couldn’t compete in the BIGXII post 2003 (North titles were just because the north was terrible) Even when we could compete we were still at the little kids table compared to the then blue bloods of OU/UT and yes Nebraska. That continued in the PAC12 with us NEVER beating USC, beating Oregon once and getting regularly pounded into oblivion by the Huskies, Utah … and everyone else.

      We are tier 3 program pretending it is tier 1/2.

      HOWEVER, we can actually compete in the new BIGXII. We have pedigree there. Additionally the conference is full of teams with hustle, up and comers, nobody is taking anything for granted everyone is happy to be there. This is going to be way more fun than getting blasted 70-3 by UT, 63-21 by Utah. Also the commission is savvy, aggressive and improving the conference faster. He has done more with less IMO than the B1G or SEC. I like the trajectory.

      Yes, ideally CU is a tier 1 in the PAC with USC and UCLA but the PAC was run by fools and doesn’t deserve to exist. They money wasn’t there, the west coast doesn’t even like football. Anybody else tired of seeing 12k at every Stanford game (and still losing)?

      Finally, I think we need to look at the long play. No way these coast to coast super conferences are viable. It will kill the rest of college athletics and people will get tired of watching USC hang 90 on Rutgers. OU fans will get tired of losing by 50 at Florida. I bet there will be a massive realignment in 8 years. We need CU to have a pedigree in a league that matters by then. This is our best chance of doing so.

      1. That is the only logical reason I’ve read for this move. But if the idea is simply to move down in competition (because we can’t compete with Utah), I’m not sure what the need was for a 5-6 mil coach and severely denting our relationship with every in state high school football program (for going back on their word with scholarships). I thought the point in doing all that was to compete with top tier programs.

        1. I think this allows us to not just compete but to be a belle of the ball. In the BIGXII we suddenly have:
          – The prettiest coolest campus and town to visit
          – The best athletics
          – And hopefully a dominant football team.

          This allows us to construct a turn around narrative for when the grand re-alignments happen down the road.

          Even if none of that is true we didn’t really have a choice, the PAC12 had no money and they didn’t want us as and the BIGXII did.

    3. I agree with you, JT. I am deeply disappointed that CU is leaving a conference with academic powerhouses like Stanford, Cal, Oregon and Washington for the “community colleges” (perfect analogy) of Kansas State, Texas Tech and West Virginia — and any college in the increasingly fascist state of Florida. Also, and I know I’m in the minority, but I remain skeptical about hiring Sanders, who I consider a poor fit for a university with CU’s academic reputation. And before anyone jumps all over me, it has nothing to do with race, but of character. I was all in with Embree (who never had real support from the administration), that guy who jumped to Michigan State (for double the salary) and with Dorrall (a good man but not the right man to be head coach). Sanders, on the other hand, reminds me of a gameshow host who will jump ship if the lights shine brighter somewhere else.

      1. Can you point to specific instance of Sanders having anything but exemplary character? I have been very impressed with his straightforward, new yet old-school style?

        1. Specific examples? Sure. Running every student athlete you didn’t recruit out of town. Did you read what they said about spring ball? Pulling the offer of guys weeks before signing day when every other decent school had already used their slots. Notice he can’t buy an in state recruit. Coach Sanders has a way of doing things. We can disagree on what it shows. Old school to some would mean a coach actually makes a player better.

  12. The B1G’s head guy flat out said, that they [currently] didn’t want to be the driver of Oregon and UW leaving the PAC12, but when/if another round of conference realignment came about and the two schools were to be available they may be interested.

    “I’m told that the Big Ten and FOX do not want to have blood on their hands for being the reason the Pac-12 blew up. In a way, they’re sitting back and waiting to see what happens with Colorado or Arizona. If they leave for the Big 12, that opens the flood gates,” McMurphy added.”


    The Oregon Ducks and Washington Huskies have reportedly been “vetted” and “cleared” by the Big Ten.

    So, who’s betting that they don’t end up there? There’s speculation of Utah too, but either way if the PAC12 implodes, who knows what kind of deal they offer the two schools just to get in? But damn with no media deal inked and speculation that the conference may lose more teams, possibly the top five maybe six (remaining after the LA schools), with schools. CU is now gone and UW, Oregon, Utah & the Arizona schools are all being speculated about and any media negotiations are screeching to a halt.

    The B1G may very well take UW & Oregon & the BIG12 at least one more to go with CU and possibly 3 more, that would make the PAC12 the new Mountain West. Thank you Rick George! How would any of us like to be WSU, Oregon State, Cal or Stanford, fretting about going from the proud P5, “Conference of Champions” to a G5 conference overnight because the big dogs in your state left you behind and blew up the conference?

    So, yes this is a good move for the future.

    Games at better times on Fox &ESPN. Money. Still in a P5… Soon to be P4 conference? Recruiting, and hopefully CP bring the Buffs to the top of their new conference (and stays longer than expected) putting the whole lost decades behind us. Win enough in the BIG12 and maybe by the finial round of conference alignment CU gets into the one of the two “Super Conferences”, which the TV powers that be will have molded into geographical divisions.

    They took the LA schools, get the remaining big schools whittled down to four power conference and, they can start putting schools together by geography; i.e. the LA schools against the PNW schools and the four corners schools against each other and etc. CU can also schedule the LA schools and other PAC12 for non-conference.

  13. Great points,

    With the PAC12’s woes, I sort of figured out the size of a particular television market is not an end-all-be-all, rather it is the fans who attend or actually watch the game, that really matter. Football is king in Texas, South and the Southeast and that drives the bus.

    In school, I went to all the Big 8 destinations and quite a few away games in the B12. Then, I traveled to quite a few away games in the PAC. I sort of found an ambivalence with the PAC12 fans–probably with the exception of Ore, OSU and WSU, where they have rabid fans. Although a smaller market, Utah has a great following as they earned it with their play over decades. Even at UW, if they had a down season the fans would scatter–more to do in Seattle. I just thought the PAC atmosphere was different, more relaxed like a social thing, rather than a football event. Many of those PAC teams are in bigger markets than spreading Texas, however when we looked at the visitor section, there were not appreciably more fans than traveled than in the B12 (even if you don’t consider the Nubs games) days.

    I have been to about 15 bowl games, except for the Orange Bowls, FB v. ND and Holiday Bowl v. UW, the CU fans just don’t travel all that great for bowls, although we have had very few in the last 20+ years. When CU played OSU at the Alamo Bowl, it was about 6-1, OSU to CU fans. I hope that with going back to the B12 the atmosphere will be better, even if the geography is not. I do feel for our alums in California and the West Coast and hope their allegiance stays strong. If we have crazy game atmospheres Home and Away, that energy may carry the day. I think, we are going to a conference where many away games will sell-out to see the Buffs. That could be great too! When you play in madhouse, the crowd is just electric…

  14. I have been on the comment boards on this site defending this move for the last week. I posted before media day that this move didn’t only make sense but is the best possible move for the school. (Stuart i also want to thank you for providing this platform for fellow buff fans, this cu at the game community is special). I have noticed if you go from the reaction in here, and compare it to fan reaction on twitter, you wouldnt think this is the same fanbase. On twitter i can put my arm around other fans and we are jumping while popping bottles of champagne. Here it feels like a funeral, or at least a corporate merger that everyone is sceptical of. Here are a few of the gripes i have seen.

    1. We would rather be affiliated with the schools in the pac 12 than what is currently in the big 12. I’ve noticed this for 2 reasons. 1 the academics, and 2 the perceived brands of their athletic departments, especially football.

    2. The destinations of the other schools for away games.

    3. It makes CU look weak, going back to where we came from after having about a .250 winning % in the pac 12.

    4. Our alumni base is out west. We are abandoning them.

    If you fall into one of those camps please bear with me and at least consider these counterpoints to those feelings. If you have more concerns feel free to air them as well.

    point 1. Who our peers are. First off with academics. We need to get off our high horse. I know thats blunt but sometimes we need to hear that. I love how our academics are, but that does nothing to make us an elite athletic school. Sure there are good programs in high functioning academic institutions. The big 10 has that sans nebraska, and Duke Basketball. But lets look at stanford, how they doing these days? Northwestern? Vanderbilt? Cal Berkeley? Do we really want to go down the path those schools are on? Now to the second point of the perceived brands we are joining. I would like to remind everyone that the last Pac 12 school to make the CFP was washington in 2016. That was a special year for us buff fans and it seems like ages ago now. Its been that long since we have been in a conference that was legit competing for a national championship. Oregon is the last pac 12 team to make the national championship. Now lets look to our future peers. Taking out Texas and Oklahoma, (really just oklahoma given texas is texas) you still have 2 cfp appearances from teams that are in the big 12 we are joining, including tcu who made the national championship last year. And those are in the last 2 seasons. Cincinnati in 2021 and TCU in 2022. If USC doesnt make the playoff this year, i dont think the pac 12 will be left out again. If we come down from our ivory tower, we can see that this conference is more elite than it is given credit for.

    Point 2, locations of the schools. Im with Stu on this one, non issue for me. I have only been to lincoln for a true away game as a fan. I got there thanksgiving night, and left on saturday morning. (it was a black friday game), going to a game on friday took up most of my time and energy for the day. Its not like i’m going sightseeing, im going to root for my football team. And if i am going to go to a game, i would rather it be in a place that cares than what i see when i watch us on the road in the pac 12. I was on a cruise when we beat Arizona in 2016. We were a ranked team and needed the win to setup the 2 finale home games for the chance to win the south. I thought U of A would bring it fanbase wise. I couldnt watch the game because the cruise ship didnt carry it. So i was ticker watching the whole night. I was appalled when i saw the highlight the next day. The stadium was empty. A ranked road team is in your venue and you dont even show up? That was embarrassing. The big 12 will be better in that regard.

    the third point, Cu looks weak now. Well does it look like the rest of the pac 12 is in a position of strength right now? The pac 12 has made empty promises for 13 years to us. Screw them i say. Sure we may be going to our ex, but the girl we left our ex for turned out to be a crazy nutjob. The way i see it, we were on the titanic and were offered a seat on a lifeboat. If the rest of the pac 12 want to look down their noses at us and go down with the ship, thats their prerogative. But in the meantime I see CU positioning themselves for relevancy whereas the pac 12 is hurtling towards the ocean floor.

    And point four, our alumni base is in california and the west coast. I cant really speak to that, I am colorado born and raised and live in westminster. If thats our priority instead of the product on the field i think thats a bad priority and it needs to change. Our best teams in school history were made up from players from texas. Not saying there were not players from california because there were, but we need to get back to texas for our football program to be relevant. This is a tremendous opportunity with prime and his ability to connect with players from the south. While our alumni base of just students is important, we need to be looking forward and not backwards. CU can change and bring in students from other places around the country because they like the colorado football brand that was not visible to them before because we were playing while the whole country was asleep. We can grow our university in a way that was not possible in the pac 12.

    Overall this is a good thing for the university. If you want to gnash teeth at this, go ahead. But lets focus on how this can help our beloved buffs and dear old CU instead of acting like we are better than the big 12. Thats that attitude that got the Pac 12 in this position in the first place.

    1. Yes. Let’s replace the elite applicant base (and donor) from California with …West Virginia. A tremendous growth opportunity. Good call.

      1. Sorry to break it to you, the world does not revolve around Jeff Thompkins and west coast elites. There are plenty of worthy applicants outside of your area of the country’s

    2. To all the naysayers, I think that Shay just summarized it just fine. I was living in Tucson joined the PAC and was very excited and happy. I can say that most likely the rest of the conference was ho hum about CU and it sure was that way in Tucson. It didn’t help the the Buffs fell flat on their face in football so I imagine the remaining PAC schools still feel ho hum re the Buffs. Good riddance I say it’s time to play football in the midlands and with the new coach and new team go forward smartly. We earned our power 5 standing in the old Big 8 let’s get back and thumb our nose at what remains of a dying conference that played football at usually about midnight. I gotta tell ya Arizona, Washington, and Calif. can go pound sand. Let’s Thunder The Herd into Ft. Worth next mont, upset a school that played for the NC last year and quit worrying about the past and live for the future moments.

  15. USC and UCLA leaving precipitated the whole thing. The presumption that UO and UW will leave at the earliest opportunity only exacerbates the problem of the PAC stability. The PAC CU joined is gone. What happened in the past doesn’t matter. I am enthusiastic. I look at the CU experience since HWSRN was hired until last December as BCP and since as ACP. Before and After Coach Prime. Must look forward because backwards is a trail of tears.

  16. Con: Getting cursed at in away stadiums (once again)
    Never, not once did this occur watching the Buffs in Pac12 venues (granted we sucked). Old Big8 away games were a constant barrage of verbal abuse and sparring.

    1. Hard to get cursed at with 15k people in the stands an only 50 of them actually caring about football…

      1. Best reply yet Peter…PAC 12 and their fans and their “gems” for cities all suck. So looking forward to football road trips again!

  17. I said it yesterday. We comin’ will be parodied into we goin’.

    But honestly? Conference affiliation doesn’t mean much to me. I prefer the pac bc I am a west coast kid. But CU is CU, where my loyalty lies.

    The math makes sense, for now, and the west coast donations may not shrink as much as some fear.

    I’ll let you know in five or ten years if this was the right call. In reality, it probably ends in the same place, with the college football championship chase, featuring 60-80 teams, in geographic divisions, that look a lot like the old conferences.

    Go Buffs

  18. Good points as always, thank you for pointing out the game atmosphere at Big12 vs. Pac12 games, agree completely and have been to Manhatten where the whole town is into the game and the passion is real. Most Pac12 games are like a pre-season game comparatively.
    As a lifelong WC resident, never thought the Pac truly embraced us, and as you pointed out we have deep history in the Big8/12 giving us ‘lead dog’ potential.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *