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My Thoughts On Pac-10 Expansion

I know I’m a little behind on this (the Pac-10 expanded in June), but I figure it’s better late than never. I also want to thank my Twitter friend @redsoxunixgeek for asking me to write about the expansion (I really mean it when I say that I want to hear from you). You ask me a question…I answer.

I thought about crying when I first heard about Pac-10 expansion. I hate change. I wish everything in my life would remain constant forever. As much as I want that to happen, I realize it never will. That’s why I opened my mind to a new and improved conference.

It was pretty easy to get excited about the possibility of a super conference. The six best teams in the Big 12 merging with an already competitive Pac-10 sounded pretty cool. It would be impossible for the East Coast to ignore what was happening in our neck of the woods. Instead of SEC-this and SEC-that, there would be a new kid on the block ready to make some noise.

The University of Colorado was the first to make the move to the Pac-10. It appeared that the rest of the dominoes (Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State) would fall soon after that. Instead, there wasn’t enough weight and the dominoes stood strong. The Big 12 stayed intact.

That’s when I started to get really concerned. I opened my heart to a monster conference (even though I knew it would be hard for my alma mater Washington State to compete) and the dream didn’t come true. It was like opening a Christmas present, seeing exactly what I wanted, and then having someone tell me that the gift was actually meant for someone else. It was in my hands, and then it was quickly snatched away.

Instead of Texas or Oklahoma, the Pac-10 had to settle with the University of Utah. I hate to bag on the Utes, but let’s be realistic, they aren’t the Longhorns or the Sooners. They were playing in a non-BCS conference for a reason. I’m not saying they don’t belong with the big boys. I just don’t think Utah carries much weight.

The “must-see” Pac-16 super conference quickly became the Pac-10 plus two mediocre teams (that’s the best way to describe it). There’s not enough flash to draw more national media attention to the conference. Instead, USC will continue to be the talk of the new Pac-12, and everyone else (no matter how hard they try) will follow. 

I’m not the only one disappointed about how this all shook out. I recently interviewed Washington State athletic director Bill Moos about the Pac-10 expansion and this is what he had to say:

He doesn’t sound extremely bummed, but he doesn’t sound like he’s pumped either. I like that he’s taking an optimistic approach. I’m trying to do the same thing.

I’m not the type of person who crunches numbers for fun. I’m terrible at math. That’s why I got into the communication business (two math classes in college (one for the smart kids), and you’re on your way). I’m sure the Pac-10 and the universities involved can make more money off of the expansion. Like Moos mentioned, adding the Denver and Salt Lake City media markets can only help (the major markets were just Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle before the expansion).

Ultimately, I don’t care about the money though…I care about the fans (that includes me). The Pac-10 just didn’t do enough to get me excited (don’t get me wrong…the expansion didn’t hurt the conference either). They tried, but it didn’t work out. If Texas would have rolled into Pullman to play Washington State every other year, I would have snatched up every ticket I could find. When Colorado or Utah come to town in the future, I might buy a ticket and I might not. I have a feeling many other fans feel the same way.

I’d really like to know what you think of the Pac-10 expansion. You can leave a comment below, email me at tim@timlewissport.com, or find me on Twitter @lewissports. Feel free to get in touch with me about anything. Again, I love to hear from you.

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