This is excellent analysis...
Thank you for your kind words. We do disagree on the Colorado thing. The PAC 10 is simply a far superior academic conference than the Big 12. Athletically it is a little better overall than the Big 12. Financially, it is a wash.
I think any BCS university would shell out as much as 10-20 Million in a lawsuit settlement if it meant they could get into a much more respected conference because of what that means to an institutional reputation and a University's endowments.
Regarding the fact that the PAC splits revenue more evenly than the Big 12, that might be a real positive for Colorado. It has been a very long time since Colorado was a national power and their games were in demand. Don't take it as a given that they would lose money in that exchange.
Regarding special deals, I have not suggested any. The PAC 10 membership is the payoff. There are no Notre Dame's in the Western half of the US. BYU and Colorado are as close as the PAC 10 could get and frankly they are more like a lesser rutgers or missouri... They don't need to offer a special deal to convince Colorado to join, and they won't.
I am not so much stating that the PAC 10 WILL immediately expand. I was merely looking at what might happen if they did. The Pac 10 can steal Colorado from the Big 12. If UT, A&M, and OU realize that hurdles will prevent them from ever getting into a true elite conference like the Big 10 or PAC 10 and decide to build their own, grabbing like minded Arkansas and say Colorado, Kansas, Missou, and either Tech or Baylor (to keep the locals from rioting), the PAC 10 loses the Colorado option.
A layout like that easily financially outpaces the SEC and is a much more impressive academic conference than the current B12.
From there, any expansion for the PAC 10 does not --- as pounder suggested --- add new revenue streams.
So expansion might be a pre-emptive strike if the PAC 10 thinks they will eventually need to expand. Right now, every school in the western US wants in to the PAC 10 because it is a better conference than the one they are in. The possibility of that dynamic changing could spur the PAC 10 to make a preemptive offer.
I didn't argue Utah (market the PAC 10 already somewhat owns) and Colorado State (#2 school). I argued two #1 schools in markets they don't touch.
One final thought on CU/UNM over CU/CSU. If I wanted CU I might go to the other B12 schools and say "I am taking CU. In the interest of being neighborly I will take either CSU or UNM as my #12 --- which ever one you don't want." In return for that, a skillfull negotiation could probably sooth over some hurt feelings an eliminate most of the lawsuit dollars.
CU/UNM means the B12 can add CSU and effectively not miss a step as Colorado has been down at the solid to mediocre level for almost a decade now. CU/CSU means the B12 are effectively no longer relevant in the Denver market. That is a big hit. They are locked out for good and UT might take the opportunity to gut the conference and bail.