So much for thinking outside the box

So, yeah, my first reaction to yesterday’s bombshell about UCLA and USC leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten’s greener pastures was amusement.  My second?  Well, I wouldn’t say it’s sympathy, exactly.  But I do understand why the two decided to make the jump.

Think about it: two programs with history, branding (certainly in USC’s case, anyway… just ask Stewart Mandel) that sit in one of the biggest media markets in the country.  They watched one conference commissioner, Tom Hansen, serve for better than a quarter-century without grasping the changing nature of college athletics revenue sources.  He was replaced by Larry Scott, a master of self-enrichment and little else besides, who negotiated disastrous media deals and then sold his bosses on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow by letting those bad deals play out over a decade until they expired.

The conference finally worked up the stones to get rid of Scott.  His replacement is another outside the box guy who comes from the gambling industry and whose first big move was to scuttle a CFP expansion plan in a fit of pique he’s tried to sell as some form of a 3-D chess move that’s cost his bosses their share of a half billion-dollar payout.

At some point, if you’re UCLA or USC, you have to ask yourself WTF are we doing here?  Especially when you look up and see Iowa, gawdforsaken Iowa, about to pull in roughly $50 million more than you are, year over year, simply because of conference affiliation.

Yeah, that’s worked out well.

They can tell themselves that, but the reality is that George Kliavkoff woke up this morning less smug about his conference’s prospects than he was the morning before.  The CFP expansion plan he was happy to piss on looks extremely attractive now, but why would Greg Sankey care what he thinks?  There are plenty of rumors out there that other conference members want to join the gold rush to the Big Ten, which means he’s got to spend time shoring up his flanks.

You’ve also got to think the Pac-12 and the Big 12 are eyeing each other carefully right now, wondering who’s going to make the first move to cannibalize the other.  ‘Cause you know that’s coming.

As I said yesterday, welcome to the real world, George.  It’s not pretty when you’re not the lead dog.


Filed under Pac-12 Football

25 responses to “So much for thinking outside the box

  1. bucketheridge

    This sort of thing tends to happen to guys who fancy themselves “the smartest guy in the room”.


  2. 81Dog

    Listening to ESPNU on SIRIUSXW. T. F. m last night, they were speculating not just about who gets absorbed into a couple of 20 or even 22 team super leagues, but also “who gets left behind?” They felt THE ACC is now dead in the water. IS ND going to the big 10? Would they/could they join the SEC? Does the SEC snarch Clemson, Miami, FSU, and….. who? VaTech? UNC? NC State? UVA? At 20,they don’t all have a slot.

    Imagine UNC leaving Duke behind. Would VA Tech leave UVA behind? Does the SEC 86 Vandy, or maybe UK or the Mississippi schools?

    I get the money aspect. But chasing dollars is going to ruin CFB. How tf do you rotate 20 + teams on a schedule? There goes AU. Can we even keep Jacksonville? First kill every bit of tradition. Then just make the players pros. Will a draft/allocation replace recruiting? One of the radio guys, was talking about English soccer style relagation as a way to keep the lesser program fan bases engaged. Oh, and the Rose Bowl is toast. Screw the bowls, right? W. T. F.

    Me, I’d offer OU and Texas to the big 20 and sail on. All these conferences are trying to catch the SEC, none of the moves work, THE SEC countermoves, and the cycle accelerates. Maybe the Big 10 will offer the Cleveland Browns or Manchester United next. Bold moves.

    FTMF. I hate it all.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hogbody Spradlin

    Southern Cal and UCLA can say goodbye to home game starting times later than 5 Pacific, and probably better get used to some 10 and 11am starting times. Those games need Eastern Time Zone audiences for that Viagra and Bud Light money.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. whit1356

    Reckon how Lincoln Riley is going to dodge this bullet like he did the SEC? 🤔


    • Down Island Way

      Booch should be the commish for the “conference of champions”….

      Liked by 1 person

      • The conference of champions died with John Wooden and the probation of Pete Carroll. Stanford and UCLA have a bunch of championships in sports no one cares about (or in sports that the SEC got serious about later).


  5. I wonder what the casino guy and that idiot Phillips in Greensboro are thinking about today. They should have gotten on the 12-team playoff train when offered instead of letting Kevin Warren lead them around by the nose after Texas and Oklahoma left the B12-2.

    That proposal would have likely maintained some level of stability in college sports. Instead, we likely have chaos that is going to create a smoking crater.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gaskilldawg

    The PAC 12 without the Southern California media market doesn’t stand a chance.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ran A

    Go get Clemson, FSU or Miami (not long ago, would said FSU), North Carolina and then pick the best basketball school left. Big 10 picks up more schools to get to 20 (and changes their name). That’s your two mega conferences. Pac 12 and Big 12 merge with what is left of the ACC and that’s your next level. Maybe there are 24 teams in there that rounds out your 64. That settles football and basketball.

    This is your new super conference – no more NCAA for this group – new set of rules, regulations, figure out NIL – call it a day.

    I think it will take away from the game a little and the middle and lower tiers will really suffer. But hey, the MOUSE is happy…


  8. Anon

    Being in a big media market is not the same as being in a big college football media market right? If Rob Kardashhian was starting QB at USC that changes things though

    Liked by 1 person

  9. atticus34

    Question: Why do the size of the media markets matter when nobody in those markets watches the games? What ratings do USC and UCLA get in LA? And what would they get if USC is playing Wisconsin or UCLA playing Penn State?


    • bmacdawg87

      People out there watch if USC is winning. Bunch of front runners and free loaders out that way


    • rigger92

      Yeah, I’m not sure which mule got the turnip. I guess USC/UCLA get more money, a lot more, but they won’t sniff a playoff spot and the odds of them winning the conference are way lower than they were winning the PAC/getting in the playoff. What does the B1G really gain? Headlines? Is Mickey going to pay significantly more for the media package with CA being in the picture? I guess but it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to me.


      • I think it would be hilarious to see all of the schools out west refuse to play either of them OOC.

        “Hey, Fresno, come to LA for a pay game.”
        “UCLA, we’ve decided to play Stanford and Cal instead.”

        “Hey, Nevada, come to LA.”
        “USC, drop dead. We’ve decided to go to Arizona.”

        “Hey, Boise, come to LA and be on Fox.”
        “USC/UCLA, only if you come play on the Smurf Turf. Otherwise, we’re fine with going to Eugene.”


  10. bmacdawg87

    I just can’t fathom how the BIG could do this to a fellow “Alliance” member conference


  11. godawgs1701

    I am really enjoying the hypocrisy of the Big Ten today. All of the hand wringing and gnashing of teeth about the SEC expanding and taking Oklahoma and Texas from the Big 12. The crocodile tears about academic missions. Holding off on playoff expansion to make sure to defend the needs of their Rose Bowl partners in the Pac 12… all the while plotting to stab them in their backs. No need to sign anything binding for our alliance, when we agree not to poach each other’s members our word is our bond!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. uga97

    The move fir both didn’t make sense to me..since they are generally both in the same eyeball market. B10 coulda shoulda grabbed Oregon & usc to expand the footprint more imo. Ucla doesn’t seem to add much more with usc.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. uga97

    Not seeing tge pac12 cannibalize anything ever other than left coast diets fentil & kale. Their destiny just may have them looking west at the University of Hawaii for answers, what a sad state.


    • rigger92

      Nah man, FrozenDawg and his posse have already begun talks with Sankey to Hawaii setting up the World’s Longest Outdoor Cocktail Cruise as a perk for when we go out there to play them.


  14. uga97

    Not seeing the pac12 cannibalize anything ever other than left coast diets fentil & kale. Their destiny just may have them looking west at the University of Hawaii for answers, what a sad state.


  15. MGW

    In what way is any of this good for the schools, students, or alumni?