Pac 12-Problems Everywhere”
The Pac 12-Conference, stung by the impending loss of USC and UCLA to the Big 10, has problems everywhere.
Football power issues. Money issues. TV issues.
They rid themselves of one issue with the ouster of former Commissioner Larry Scott, who took the league into the Abyss of a bad Pac 12-Network situation. He spent tons of money to run a corporate like office that was shuttered as he was forced out..
And now George Kliavkoff has taken over to clean up this mess, and it won’t be easy.
Burning questions everywhere at this hour as the Conference tries to decide if they should expand and with whom to give invites.
GEOGRAPHICAL EXPANSION…Do you pick teams in Southern California and Texas to maintain your conference foot prints here and plant a flag in the Lone Star state?
ADD FOOTBALL PROGRAMS OF NOTE…The Aztecs have excelled in the Mountain West Conference but have not been accepted in their own community despite a new Snapdragon Stadium. It’s been over 40-years since SMU had any natioal recognition with the Pony Express Era of Eric Dickerson and Craig James that put them in NCAA jail. They are not a big ti me player in that state.
ADD BASKETBALL POWER…The Aztecs could replace UCLA, to a degree, with the great Brian Dutcher led program, sellouts and national rankings to a degree.
DO YOU ADD TV MARKETS…This becomes the burning question for Kliavkoff, for San Diego and Dallas would bring 4.1M-TV sets though it does not make up for what is washed away when the Trojans-Bruins relocated to the Big 10-Conference. Again the argument, who, how many TV sets watch the Aztecs and Mustangs on TV in Dallas and San Diego.
WHO ELSE IS OUT THERE…Shouldn’t the league have raided Oklahoma State out of the Big 12 and maybe somebody else from Texas as name replacements? Frenso-Boise aren’t big TV markets, though decent football programs, but it would be like adding Washington State-Oregon State. Not big drawing powers.
DO YOU ADD GREAT ACADEMIC HERITAGE…The answer is yes for both SDSU-SMU have great academic reputations with wide variety of degrees in many fields.
FUTURE SCHEDULING…The Los Angeles market will be vacant with USC-UCLA becoming Midwest fixtures. There won’t be Pac 12-games at the LA Coliseum or the Rose Bowl. Yes the Trojans-Bruins will get into the rotation so you will see Michigan-Ohio State–Penn State out here maybe once every five years for league games. Maybe the Conference should approach USC-UCLA and get them to schedule non-conference games with Pac 12-teams left behind? Maybe the conference gets some of the remaining Pac 12-teams to schedule some league games in the LA market. Somehow they have to make sure the bitterness over the departure does not eat into their ability to business in the league.
THE TV DEALS…Is it with ESPN or Amazon? How do you guarantee exposure? Probably in the late night TV window with ESPN and with day games with Amazon subscription. But that is fraught with problems too.
SUMMARY…Brady Hoke came from the Big 10. Going to the Pac 12-would open better recruiting doors for him, but the Aztecs have a limited NIL program, so how do you upgrade that. Think about SDSU-UCLA in basketball wow. But how do you attract fans to come to your shiny new Snapdragon Stadium after SDSU failed to capture the community after the Chargers left town? Last year’s controversy-filled-underachieving season has really hurt the football program. Basketball is selling out and will continue to do so. Somebody with Texas ties has to tell what if anything, aside from TV sets, SMU would bring as a long distance rival in the conference?
Stay tuned-decisions are coming. Are they the right ones for the league, and for the expansion candidates?