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Expanding the Pac-10 with CU+1?

Although this is the first time we are bringing up the topic on BN, I have a feeling this is not the last time we are going to take up this issue. Wizard had an interesting post this past week riffing on a Kansas City Star column pondering the expansion of Pac-10 through the addition of Colorado Buffaloes with another team:

Colorado to the Pacific 10? By no means is this out of the question. The Kansas City Star, in its recent series on the Big 12, considered the possible jump of the Buffaloes. Wrote Blair Kerkhoff: "Colorado, the only Big 12 school in another time zone, often looks West. Could it resist an overture from the Pac-10?" If Colorado headed West, it likely would do so with another team to maintain balance in the new conference and give the Buffaloes a travel partner. Although Air Force, Colorado State, Utah and Brigham Young are mentioned as candidates to join Colorado in the new league, the Utes and Cougars make the most sense to the Wiz. Now why would the Pac-10 even consider expansion? First, the conference could split into North and South divisions, with Colorado and its partner joining the Washington and Oregon schools in the North. This in turn would create a lucrative football title game without disturbing cherished league rivalries (Oregon-Oregon State, USC-UCLA, etc.). The second reason is that a beefed up Pac-10 -- with the addition of the Denver and Salt Lake City markets -- would be a television juggernaut. Consider this: outside of San Diego, Las Vegas and Albuquerque, the league would have every major TV market in the West.

Hmmm. Here are some of my thoughts on the topic. I am also putting up a poll on the right side asking the question if Colorado were to join the Pac-10, which team would make sense to pair up with Ralphie's crew?

Photo: Jenna Isaacson (Columbia Daily Tribune)

Honestly, I am some what ambivalent about the idea of expanding the Pac-10. I like it the way it is right now. I am not sure why the Pac-10 should bother with prostituting itself out like other power conferences (except the Big-10), expanding so that it could have a championship game? To me the reason why Pac-10 is so special is because we have those end of the year natural rivalries between USC-UCLA, Cal-Stanford, ASU-UA, OSU-UO, and UDub-WSU. There is something magical about the last regular season game for every Pac-10 team (sans SC which sometimes has ND as the last game) that gets so fired up for the inter-state, inter-region (Cal-Stanford), or in our case the inter-city games. That's what makes the conference fun. I honestly wish the Rose Bowl dumped it's alliance with the BCS nonsense, and went back to the old arrangement of Big-10, Pac-10 showdowns. Now that won't happen (topic for another day perhaps).

Anyways if the Pac-10 were to expand I think the most logical way to expand it would be to add two prominent schools from another Western State with high profile college football culture, so that the conference can be symmetrical in it's regional divide, and maintain it's end of the season rivalries. And since in the aforementioned post it specifically talks about Colorado joining the conference, I'd think Colorado State would be the other logical choice. CU-CSU's fierce and intense natural rivalry would reach a whole new dimension under the glare of the Pac-10. Here is the game winning FG from the '05 game, as seen from the CU student section:

Man, that reminds of our student section when Nikosi Littleton batted down a Rob Johnson pass in the end zone to seal the win 1992. Bedlam at the Rose Bowl. Let's hope the UCLA student section gets to experience that in December of this year.

Going back to CU-CSU and Pac-10 expansion, the addition of those two teams would also add Denver as another huge Metropolis TV market in the conference in addition to Seattle, Bay Area, LA, and Phoenix.

I am not sure adding Utah schools makes any sense to me. Add Utah schools to the conference so we can look forward to rocking good time roadies to Salt Lake City and Provo? I don't think so. Utah's TV market doesn't seem all that big of a deal considering the low population density in that state. I am not really all that excited about having Air Force in our conference. As for San Diego State and Fresno State, adding those schools to the Pac-10 makes as much as sense as adding Toledo, Cincinnati and Miami (OH) to the Big-10. Entries to power conferences is not an entitlement. There has to be a high threshold when it comes to having a track record of committment to excellence in research in these higher education institutions. I think there has to be some discernable indicator that insitutions for higher education are committed to academic/research excellence before angling for an entry to a big time power conference. Fresno State and San Diego States of the world just don't pass the mustard. They are good options for folks who live around their surrounding communities and do not have the grades to go to a high profile school, but they are simply not the same caliber institution as a Stanford, Cal, UCLA, Washington or the other preeminent state school in the Pac-10.

Anyways, I am interested in hearing thoughts from Bruin fans and other Pac-10 fans on this issue. What do you guys think? If Colorado were to join our conference, which other team would make sense?

Note to our friends from Block U. Please don't try to game this poll by posting the link on Utah message boards (like you guys did to influence a poll on DawgSports). In terms of polling we are interested in the opinions of Bruin fans and fans from other Pac-10 schools only (you are more then welcome to discuss in comment thread why Utah would be the natural partner of Colorado). So if anyone wants to publicize this online poll, post it on Pac-10 boards, not on the mid-majors salivating to get into our power conference.

As mentioned above, this is probably not the last time we are going to be discussing this topic on BN. But might as well get the conversation started during the dog days of off-season.