Category Archives: Pac-12 Football

The further adventures of Larry Scott, genius

Think CBS is the big loser in the SEC’s full embrace of Mickey?  Not so fast, my friend.


Whether CBS ends the contract prior to the expiration date isn’t known (at least publicly) at this time, but by the fall of 2024, if not sooner, the SEC will have one broadcast partner: ESPN.

If you thought the most influential network in college sports was SEC-heavy now, just wait.

The financial implications for the Pac-12 are obvious:

The SEC currently distributes approximately $44 million annually to each school.

If we estimate $325 million annually for the SEC ‘Game of the Week’ package, the net gain for the conference (over the current CBS deal) is $270 million.

Or an additional $19 million per school per year.

That would push the SEC’s annual campus distributions to about $63 million — more than the Big Ten’s current Brinks truck delivery ($52 million per school) and approximately double what the Pac-12 currently sends home to each of its 12 members.

And there’s this: The Big Ten’s Tier One deals with Fox and ESPN expire in 2023, one year before the Pac-12’s rights are up.

We should expect that $52 million per-school figure in the Big Ten to increase substantially.

In other words:

Even if the Pac-12 were to receive a whopping 50 percent annual increase in media rights from its next deal(s), it would still lag far behind the SEC and Big Ten in annual take-home pay.

That money is used for facilities, for student-athlete welfare services, for coaching staff salaries and to manipulate non-conference schedules (i.e., buy games) to create the best chance for success.

But that’s not all!  What else do we have for our contestants, Jay?

Because the SEC isn’t moving to ESPN just for the money.

Nope, the SEC understands the value of exposure — of providing its greatest export with access to all Disney-owned media outlets.

And you had best believe Disney will make whatever adjustments are necessary once it owns every last shred of SEC football.

The conference already has a Tier One deal with ESPN, and the SEC Network is owned by ESPN.

Add the ‘Game of the Week’ package, and the SEC and ESPN — which means the SEC and Disney — will be one in the same.

Expect to see SEC football all over ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ABC.

Expect to see kickoffs across all the viable broadcast windows, from 12 p.m. Eastern through 9 p.m. Eastern (which is 8 p.m. on some SEC campuses).

Expect to see more than one SEC game on ABC — yep, doubleheaders on broadcast TV.

… Disney isn’t spending $300+ million to acquire a single game each week because it wants that game.

It’s envisioning a 12-hour, multi-network, linear-and-streaming, everywhere-you-turn blast every Saturday for 15 Saturdays, plus whatever it can leverage from the land of ‘It Just Means More’ for the remaining 350 days.

And that’s a problem for the other conferences.

If the SEC gobbles up more ESPN and ABC broadcast windows during prime Eastern/Central viewing hours, there are fewer opportunities for the Pac-12.

And therein lies the real genius of Larry Scott — not in actually getting a great media rights deal for the Pac-12, but in convincing the Pac-12 presidents that pot of gold is always around the corner.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

Can a conference get a playoff spot?

Only one of the P5 conferences isn’t represented in this year’s CFP field.  Even Larry Scott has to admit that the Pac-12 failed the “best” test and the “deserving” test this season.

There’s another test Larry has in mind, though.

“This year, to be the one league of the five that doesn’t have a team in it, that’s harmful to our positioning, our brand and everything we’ve got,” he said.

Playoff expansion — do it for the branding!  Now there’s a rallying cry we can all get behind.  Maybe that’ll help Larry the next time he tries to sell off a piece of the conference to some hedge fund bros.

I am so looking forward to a bigger playoff.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Pac-12 Football

“First down, Cal.”

Jon Wilner makes a pretty good case that the ref who blew the hands to the face call in the Cal-Wazzu game simply had a brain fart.  And, you know, I get that.  We’re all human and the occasional brain fart is part of that.

What I don’t get is how completely broken down the rest of what happened was.

Why didn’t members of the officiating crew correct Richards?

Because he saw the penalty — it was his call.

Wires crossed in his head, he told the crew that No. 15 “on the receiving team” had committed the penalty, and they assumed that meant WSU.

When Richards walked off the yardage, the other officials had no reason to think he was doing so in error.

What about the replay official?

Why didn’t the replay booth or the command center in San Francisco get involved?

Because illegal hands-to-the-face, like holding, isn’t a reviewable play.

Reviewable plays involve the boundary, the goal-line, control of the ball, targeting, etc.

Richards realized his mistake almost immediately.

According to the conference statement Sunday evening, Richards informed the Cougars’ sideline of the mistake “after the next play was run.”

One play — why not fix an egregious error at that point?  It’s not like much happened in the interim.  The reason, I suspect, would be the precedent being set by such a decision.

College football needs some kind of mechanism in place to correct an obvious screw up like this — not a judgment call, such as whether a penalty had occurred, but a true factual error by an on-field official.  This really wasn’t fair.

Yes, I know I’m dreaming.  Bureaucrats prefer finality over accuracy.


Filed under Pac-12 Football

But they meant well.

Sure, we all bitch and moan about bad officiating calls, but in terms of sheer what-the-fuck-were-they-doing-there?, it’s really hard to top that horrendous penalty call on the wrong team in the Cal-Wazzu game last weekend.  Jon Wilmer does the full “let me count the ways” takedown here.

I’m amazed this is all Mike Leach has had to say on the matter so far.

Just another day in Larry Scott’s finely tuned machine, I guess.


Filed under Pac-12 Football

Meanwhile, out west…

Whoa, baby.

That’s some mechanical error you got there, Pac-12.  You gotta love the accountability — anonymous ref is suspended for one game (when?) and the rest of his crew is “downgraded”, whatever that means.

Wazzou lost 33-20, so I’m sure Leach is totally chill about it.


Filed under Pac-12 Football

“But it’s very hard to get in the way of the ballot box.”

Here comes California, messing with college football again.

What began as SB 206 in the California assembly— and became known nationally as the Fair Pay To Play Act — has help fuel a revolution in college sports.

Now along comes AB 7, which threatens to play havoc with your Pac-12 kickoff times.

Think those 7:30 p.m. games along the west coast are a too late?

If Assembly Bill 7 becomes law, late-season games on Pac-12 campuses will start at 8:30 p.m.

Sponsored by Assemblymember Kansen Chu — and already approved by voters — AB 7 would place California on Daylight Saving Time all year: No more falling back and springing forward.

California would be permanently sprung forward, with all the lifestyle benefits that come with evening daylight and none of the disruptions to our circadian rhythms caused by changing the clock.

Apparently, if this goes into law in California, Oregon and Washington are prepared to follow suit in short order.  And that would make things inconvenient for Mickey.

The entire West Coast would skip the process of falling back, leaving it two hours behind Eastern Time from early November through early March.

That would create a problem for Pac-12 kickoffs in the final month of the season.

ESPN and Fox use three-and-a-half-hour programming windows (approximately) on football Saturdays, starting with 12 p.m. Eastern and followed by 3:30 p.m., 7 or 8 p.m. and then 10:30 p.m.

The final window is reserved for the Pac-12 — the only Power Five conference capable of starting home games as late as 10:30 p.m. Eastern. (And those are sometimes pushed back to 10:40 or 10:45 p.m.)

If the West Coast doesn’t join the East Coast in falling back, the three-hour difference during Daylight Saving Time would become a two-hour difference from early November through early March.

In order for the Pac-12 games to fill the 10:30 p.m. Eastern window, they would have to start at 8:30 p.m. on the west coast.

Pacific Daylight Time in the winter months would be the same as Mountain Standard Time.

Late games would get later.

Eh, not to worry.  I’m sure Larry Scott’s on the mother.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Fox Sports Numbs My Brain, Pac-12 Football, Political Wankery

All their goals are still ahead of them.

It’s not even October yet and the Pac-12 doesn’t have a single undefeated team remaining in its midst.

Well played, gang.


Filed under Pac-12 Football