Inside the Pac-12

February 9, 2010 11:56 PM

Can The Pac Ten Keep Up With The SEC And Big Ten?

pac10-08-mast-left.jpgCollege Football is a cash cow that the Pac Ten must embrace. The SEC and Big Ten have their own Networks. The SEC signed a 15-year deal with ESPN for more than 2 billion dollars to create the SEC Network and ESPN is able to broadcast SEC games that are not picked up by CBS. In 2006 the Big Ten signed a 10 year 1 billion dollar extension with ESPN/ABC. These deals have brought the SEC and Big Ten a lot of additional revenue. The Pac Ten is now exploring their options for a new television contract and are strongly considering starting a Pac Ten Network.

The SEC, Big 12 and ACC have a conference championship game that generates more money for their conferences. The Big Ten is looking to add another team to their conference so they can add a championship game. The Pac Ten has the best football schedule of any of the BCS conferences, because every team play's each team in league play, but when it comes to revenue the Pac Ten is light years behind the SEC and Big Ten. If issues such as TV. contracts, bowl tie ins, conference championship games and expansion are not addressed the Pac Ten will suffer financially and blue chip recruits will be more likely to accept a scholarship from an SEC, Big Ten or Big 12 school.

Pac Ten Commissioner Larry Scott will address these issues over the next 12-18 months. In an article written by Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury news Pac Ten Commissioner Larry Scott when talking about expansion stated," We're looking at it very seriously...If we were ever going to look at expansion, this would be the logical time." If one conference can get two teams into the BCS the revenue will increase for that conference. For the 2009-2010 season the ACC, Big East, Big 12 and Pac Ten received 17.7 million each from the BCS, but the Big Ten and SEC pocketed 22.2 million each from the BCS. Florida and Alabama qualified for BCS games for the SEC and Ohio State and Iowa qualified for BCS games for the Big Ten. The Pac Ten must do a better job of promoting itself and adding more teams to the conference and establishing a Pac Ten Championship game could accomplish that.

What teams could the Pac Ten add that would make it a stronger conference? John Taylor from reported that Utah could be on their way to the Pac Ten. Wesley Ruff of believes that Colorado could bolt the Big 12 and join the Pac Ten. Utah has proved itself to be a quality football program over the last five years. From 2004-2009 Utah has won six bowl games in a row including the Fiesta and Sugar Bowl. If Colorado could get the right coach they could easily revive their football program. If this comes to fruition the Pac Ten would easily be the 2nd best football conference behind the SEC. Last season Larry Scott did a great job by signing a deal with the Alamo Bowl. Now the Pac Ten will have two bowl games after January 1st (Rose Bowl and the Alamo Bowl). The conferences top three bowl games the Rose, Alamo and Holiday Bowl are very impressive and they are all top tier games.

On the field the Pac Ten has done well in recruiting and in their hiring of coaches. Steve Sarkisian and Rick Neuheisel have Washington and UCLA headed in the right direction. Jim Harbaugh has turned Stanford into an above average program and Chip Kelly and his Oregon Ducks will probably be the favorite to win the Pac Ten in 2010. The entire conference is getting stronger now. The decisions off the field could elevate the conference towards the elite status of the SEC and Big Ten.

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