The more I read about Larry Scott's expansion moves the more it appears that his decision to take in both Colorado and Utah were desperate moves to settle after striking out with Texas. Per Scott's own remarks it appears he made the move without taking into considerations of members of his own conference. From Lya Wodraska's "Ute Sports" blog in the Salt Lake Tribune (emphasis added throughout):
"I am getting all kinds of proposals," he said. "I don't think we need to look at a lot of models and I don't think we've given our members a chance to express all the considerations they have. "This is all, especially lately, things happened quickly in a very tight way without a lot of consultation from a lot of people, but there is no reason this next step can't. As to whether we do a football championship or go and have divisions, there is no reason we can't have deep and full consultations with our membership, including Utah."
That brings up all kinds of unanswered questions. Again one has to wonder exactly what kind of authority Presidents of Pac-10 schools - that would be Gene Block - gave to Larry Scott for making decisions with ramifications of changing long standing traditions of this conference.
It seems pretty apparent that Scott was intent on going something along the silly North-South plan that would disrupt the core games among California schools. More from that "Ute Sports" blog in the Salt Lake Tribune:
Colorado and Utah definitely will be travel partners, he said.
"Absolutely, that is the DNA of the Pac-10," he said. "There were five natural travel partners and now there will be six."
That essentially implies that Colorado and Utah will be in the same division. If that is the case Scott will be breaking up at least one natural rivalry within the conference. At least two schools will be unhappy campers no matter what happens at this point.
If North-South division prevails keeping Colorado and Utah in the same division at least one original rivalry is going to be disrupted. While if Colorado is put in any other division not featuring Southern California schools, it is possible that Colorado administrators are going to feel the Scott was being a little too slick during the expansion related negotiations. This is not exactly the most healthy way to expand a conference. It certainly doesn't appear all that well thought out (per Scott's own comments above).
Ted Miller from ESPN, who is the network's
shill reporter for the Pac-10 conference is of course working over time to spin this move as a positive one. Here is his "analysis" on this north-south split:
It makes regional sense. It maintains travel partners. Further -- and this is more important than some might think -- as divisional "brands," North and South are easy to figure out. A person in, say, Maine would immediately be able to name which Pac-12 team is in which division. Or put it this way: Name the six teams in the ACC's "Coastal" division. Understand?
"Regional sense"? Guess Miller didn't major in geography while attending University Of Richmond.
Anyway, Scot's comments signal he really didn't put a lot of considerations and thoughts into the interest of the existing Pac-10 members in his straight line pursuit of TV dollars (which of course he still needs to deliver). If UCLA and other California school ensures that the long standing games are not broken up, Scott will end up making at least couple of schools unhappy, which will be detrimental to the long standing health of this stable conference.
At this point our beef is not with Utah or its fans. They are in the conference. So welcome to them. However, we should be wary about what has been happening under Larry Scott. Lot of folks are anxious to kiss his rear end because he has shown a sign of pulse unlike the previous regime. That is just not going enough. When Scott came aboard, our main concern was what he was going to do boost our TV contract while also maintaining the core identity of the conference.
It is unclear whether just adding Colorado and Utah will substantially boost our TV revenues. It is unclear whether revenue intake per school is going to dramatically increase in the coming years (thankfully Utah is being forced to come in as unequal partners because their inability to bring much to the conference table). It is unclear whether adding Utah was a must after the conference added Colorado.
Scott has not answered any of those questions in a satisfactory manner and he has admitted that he didn't take into account considerations of the members schools or how details of a 12-team expansion plan would work out. So there are lot of reasons to be skeptical of the current state of the Conference. If Scott doesn't come up with the money and results in next 5 years, he should be shown the door back to the tennis circuits.