Not right now. Down the road. Maybe.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott didn’t say his conference was looking to expand on Friday while attending this year’s Pac-12 championship game — a Stanford win over UCLA, for those who missed it — but didn’t rule out the possibility of it either down the road. When down the road? To be determined.
“In my short three years-plus as commissioner, I’ve learned to never say never,” Scott said.
Using realignment logic, not saying “no” automatically means yes. Or, so we’re told everyday in our inbox.
But which team(s) would the Pac-12 potentially target? Boise State and San Diego State are possibilities. The two programs are currently in the Mountain West but slated to begin competing in the really new-look Big East next season.
“When we expanded in the past we looked at them because they are prominent schools in the West, with very strong athletics programs, in markets we are not in,” Scott said. “There’s a lot of criteria that we looked at last time, that I’m sure we’d look at again.
“If we were to look at expanding again, I’m sure both those schools would be on the list. But, we don’t have any plans.”
Now, since we’ve just doused gasoline on the realignment fire, let us also extinguish it at least a little. For one, it sounds as though Scott was asked about BSU and SDSU specifically and he was answering. Secondly, Scott makes it clear expansion is not the league’s agenda any time soon.
“We feel great about the makeup of our conference at 12 teams. At this stage, I see no reason to go beyond 12 teams,” Scott said. “For a lot of reasons, this is where we want to be for the foreseeable future.”
It’s easy to claim conference commissioners are blowing smoke up all of our keisters since most of the time conference commissioners are blowing smoke up all our keisters, but the only incentive for the Pac-12 to expand down the line is more inventory for a conference network.
The Pac-10’s expansion in 2010 provided the league with access to new markets, a championship game and a TV deal — all of which increased the wealth of the conference significantly. What would, say, a Pac-14 do? Not much else. The conference championship is in place and the league’s access to college football’s new postseason goes unchanged. And with the Big 12 locked in with a new TV deal with a grant of rights, getting a Texas or Oklahoma is out of the question.
But, realignment never truly ends since programs that are perfectly content one minute are suddenly dissatisfied the next. So while the Pac-12 may be fine now, there could be a time in the near (or distant) future when it is not. And another college football season will be ruined because of it.
(Hat tip: San Diego Union-Tribune)