While no set expansion plan has been made in regards to what schools the Pac-10 will officially invite, one agreement has been finalized by the Pac-10 presidents. The 10 members schools have given commissioner Larry Scott the green light to explore and recommend conference expansion scenarios.
It might not seem like big news, but it actually is. It tells us that the schools have passed the baton to Scott to put together the best plan to increase the product and brand of the Pac-10 in order to generate more revenue.
So right now we have 3 basic scenarios that the Pac-10 might initially explore:
1) Expand with 6 schools from the Big 12:
This has been an interesting development. What started as a potential TV partnership by the Pac-10 and the Big 12 might turn into a full-on raid of 6 schools.
It’s the 6 schools that are of intrigue. The Pac-10 wants Texas and Colorado, but in order to get Texas, they need and would not mind including Texas A&M;, which pushes Colorado out of a 2 team scenario. But those two Texas schools politically would not be able to make the move if Texas Tech was not included. Nor would they want to leave their Oklahoma rivals. So all of a sudden, what would ideally be a Pac-12 with new members Texas and Colorado, instead becomes a Pac-16 with Texas, Texas A&M;, Texas Tech, Colorado, Oklahoma and Oklahoma St.
The problems with the Pac-16 scenario?
I’ll save the breakdown of the “Tech” problem for another piece. But needless to say, if Texas were to join the Pac-10, Texas A&M; and Texas Tech would need to be included. But it’s also VERY likely that the Texan politicians force Baylor into the scenario…much like they did when the Big 8 expanded to 12 schools.
I mentioned in a previous article that the entire Pac-16 scenario was an incredible concession, all done to get Texas and Texas alone. So while the Pac-10 only really wants Texas and are willing to add Colorado (a school the Pac-10 also wanted), they would also add 4 other schools that Texas wanted: A&M;, Tech, Oklahoma and OSU.
But if the Texas problem persists, Colorado, a school the Pac-10 generally wants, might be left out and not one of the 6 expansion members, as Baylor is forced into the spot. For all the concessions the Pac-10 is willing to make, one could argue that Texas forcing Baylor in instead of Colorado might be the line that the Pac-10 would not cross.
While Scott has a green light to explore expansion, the Pac-10 presidents have a very big problem with the academics of Texas Tech and Oklahoma St. And for a reputable academic conference like the Pac-10, it’s a very real problem. Scott might come back with these 6 schools, but the presidents might eventually reject any option that includes Texas Tech and Oklahoma St. This would likely mean the death to the Pac-16 option as Texas would balk at such a change if they had legitimate interest in a Pac-16.
2) No Expansion: Remain at 10
It seems that if Texas is not part of the mix, that expansion is not financially worth it to the Pac-10. If there is solidarity this week in the Big 12, it will not be a surprise if the Pac-10 were to put a halt on it’s expansion plans.
3) Expand to 12 with Colorado and Utah
It seems that this idea has been pushed aside as the revenue numbers don’t seem to add up for the Pac-10. It remains the last scenario because analysts have deemed that Colorado and Utah would not generate enough revenue to justify expansion. That might be the case, but it’s still a scenario that would be attractive to fans of both schools.