Pac-10 Should Add Utah and BYU
There’s no doubt that the Pac-10 has the talent and programs to compete with any conference in America across all sports in any given year. The one area where the Pac-10 can’t match other conferences however is TV deals. The Big Ten and Mountain West have their own TV networks. Most other BCS conferences get good TV exposure during the season and the ACC, SEC, and Big 12 already have conference title games. The Pac-10 doesn’t have the money-making game and worse, their games sometimes get lost on Versus, TBS (in the past), or local FSN affiliates where they’re even tape delayed! The Pac-10 is one of the elite conferences in America and needs to start acting like it. That’s exactly why they’ve announced their contemplating expansion.
I think it’s a fine idea to expand and I would make the suggestion for the conference to approach Mountain West powers Utah and BYU to join. The fit would be natural for several reasons. For one, both schools consistently field competitive basketball and football teams while BYU particularly has a strong football tradition. Secondly, the schools are natural rivals as are every other regional couple in the conference. Thirdly, both schools would fit well with the travel model the conference has already established; along with the Norcal, Socal, Oregon, Arizona, and Washington trips, schools would now add in a Utah trip. Lastly, the conference would then have divisions — the Washington, Oregon, and Norcal schools in the Pac-10 North and the Socal, Arizona, and Utah schools in the Pac-10 South. To me, this alignment would be perfect and it would add some nice juice to the conference.
I’ve read that the conference is targeting Utah and Colorado. I prefer BYU over Colorado for several reasons. BYU has been much more competitive in basketball and football recently. BYU and Utah also are natural rivals while Utah and Colorado aren’t; the Pac-10 is based on rivalries. I understand the appeal of Colorado because of the Denver TV market but BYU makes much more sense. That would be my vote for expansion. If the Pac-10 decides to let in the likes of Fresno State, San Diego State, or Boise State, then they will have ignored everything the conference is predicated upon and they will be expanding for the sake of expansion. Let’s hope they do it the right way and in the spirit of the conference.