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Tom Hansen = (Not a) Defender of the PAC

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I wanted to bring your attention to a couple of excellent commentaries based upon the absurd level of whining coming out of Norman following the Sooners-Ducks game. Again, to make it clear, we agree the Sooners got robbed with a horrible call. Check that, two horrible calls from the same play. But the level of whining coming out of OU brass was unreal this week. OU President David Boren and head coach Bob Stoops were looking to ride on the Pac-10's "soft" national image and bully the conference. Not satisfied with suspension of the Oregon crew, these guys made absurd demands of voiding the game, threatened the conference to cancel a scheduled game against the Huskies, which only egged on a lunatic fanbase that was issuing death threats to those referees.

Unfortunately, for those of us in the Pac-10, Tom Hansen, the conference commissioner, let those guys walk all over him. And Darek Johnson from Dawgman.com calls out Tom Hansen for failing to stand up to the bullies from Norman:

What we have today is an attempt by Oklahoma to bully the Pac-10, because the Pac-10 has the national reputation for being soft. This evidence mainly stems from poor showings against non-conference foes and horrendous bowl game agreements and TV contracts (Can anyone explain why WAC member Fresno State was on national TV eight times last year? When was the last time a Husky game was seen throughout the entire country?).

Nevertheless, Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen immediately apologized to Oklahoma for the officiating errors. He then announced that the referees for the Oregon-Oklahoma game were being suspended for one game--which is a move that makes things murkier because the problem was supposedly with the replay booth, right?

The Sooners want the rest of the country to think that they were completely homered by the refs in their game against Oregon. But the Sooners don't acknowledge that they themselves benefited from some terrible calls as well, earlier in the contest.

The prospect of Oklahoma backing out of its agreement to come to Husky Stadium in 2008 would be a big financial hit for Washington. Athletic Director Todd Turner will obviously try to avoid that outcome. But from the standpoint of the Pac-10, even in light of its dubious past treatment of Washington, it would be a result worth accepting. When you look at a situation where the replay official is receiving death threats, and nation-wide outrage of the blown call is rivaling that of the kidnapping of the Lindberg baby, the only proper way to deal with Oklahoma's continual posturing is to backpedal no further.

It's time for Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen to stand firm for his conference.
Amen to that. And Darek is not the only one who has doubts about Tom Hansen. The guys from Dump Dorrell goes further to point out that to date Tom Hansen has failed to be an effective advocate for Pac-10:
For years, Tom Hansen has stood silently and meekly on the sidelines of the annual national debate on the BCS and big bowl bids.  When Pac-10 teams were shut out year after year, Tom did practically nothing.  While coaches and league officials from Nebraska, Florida State, Texas, Miami and other schools whined and caused a ruccus on national television day in and day out to get their schools considered for the title game or any one of the prized BCS bowl slots, getting any soundbites they could, Tom Hansen did nothing.  Barely a peep.  Sure, he threatened to leave the BCS in the 2000 season if Oregon State was left out of the Fiesta Bowl (OSU did get to play in that game, and crushed Notre Dame, after Kansas State thankfully lost in the Big 12 championship game to #1 Oklahoma).  We will give him credit for that.  But Washington was snubbed from the title game that year in favor of a campaigning ACC and Florida State (who scored a grim 2 points in the title game loss to Oklahoma).  So, Tom gets a wash that year at best.

Then there is the Oregon snubbing in the 2001 season.  Ranked #2 in BOTH polls, Oregon should have played Miami in the championship game (who went on to crush Nebraska, who had given up 62 points in a loss to Colorado in the SEC championship game), but due to the ridiculous "computer rankings" Oregon had to settle for a 3-loss Colorado team in the Fiesta Bowl (who Oregon went on to crush).

That was followed by the embarrassment of Southern Cal's BCS title game snub after being ranked #1 in both polls at the end of the 2003 season.  The following year we had #4 ranked Cal's 2004 BCS bowl snub after many Big-12 coaches left Cal off their final ballots to let a lower ranked Texas snatch the final BCS bowl, the Rose Bowl, and gain for the Big-12 conference the riches of the purse.  Which was followed in 2005 by #6 Oregon, a 1-loss team (against Southern Cal), being snubbed in favor of lower ranked 2-loss teams Notre Dame (of course), Ohio State, Georgia, and 4-loss Florida State.

Where was Tom during all this?? Even before the dreaded BCS, there were a number of other snubs that we cant recall now but that occurred under Tom's watch.  How about our very own UCLA Bruins getting snubbed by the Sugar Bowl as the #5 ranked team in the country in favor of #9 Ohio State?  Where was Tom then?  Prior to that we can only remember one other Pac-10 school who had a New Year's Day bowl game, other than the Rose Bowl, since Tom's Tenure began in 1983 (Arizon, Fiesta Bowl 1994).  Before we hear about how well other conferences' fans travel, and how poorly Pac-10 schools' fans travel, let us point out that Oregon State handled the Fiesta Bowl affair by promising 30,000 fans to the Fiesta Bowl committee.  That is not hard to do, it only takes a little bit of creativity.
Make sure you read the entire post which is an excellent commentary on Hansen's (inept) performance as the conference's commissioner.

It is pretty obvious to Pac-10 fans up and down the West Coast (and in the Arizona desert) so far Tom Hansen has been a miserable failure in carrying out his duties as the leader of the best athletic conference in America.

GO BRUINS.