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Spaulding Roundup: Followup On Pac-10 Expansion Chatter & Other UCLA Football Notes

Wow. Looks like the discussion on Pac-10 expansion have spread like firestorm all over the internets. Yesterday I wrote about being against adding any schools from Utah. I have not changed my mind but I can see the merits of a package involving Colorado and Utah. We will see how it works out. One thing is for certain. Any expansion chatter should be nonstarter without Colorado in the mix. Pac-10 should look at as Colorado Plus One step. There is another really good argument from the perspective of Colorado fans. Phil Wallace noted in LA Observed (emphasis added):

Colorado: In 1994, the Pac-10 actually invited Colorado into the conference, only to be rebuffed. At the time, Colorado was just beginning play in the new Big-12 Conference, and did not want to go back on its commitment.

Times have changed though, and Colorado might be more interested this time around. Geographically, Colorado is in an odd location, where road games in Ames, Iowa; Columbia, Missouri; and College Station, Texas; aren't any closer than trips to LA, San Francisco, or Seattle. Most alums would probably rather travel west.

Back in 1994, Colorado was a major football power, but the program has since fallen on hard times and might be looking for a change of scenery. While it has a rivalry with Nebraska on Thanksgiving weekend, that game has lost some luster.

Colorado is highly desirable for the conference as Denver is a major market where the Pac-10 has virtually no presence. While its football team has struggled, there's no reason to believe that Colorado can't be successful on the gridiron again. Its basketball program has little history, but they do have a good coach in Jeff Bzdelik, and they would certainly be competitive.

The fact is, any Pac-10 expansion talk begins with Colorado. The question is, would they accept?

The answer at least from the Colorado fan perspective seems to be very positive. The Colorado fan sentiment of being more excited about Pac-10 road trips (sans Pullman) is evident here, here and here. Right now there is a poll on SBN's CU blog - Ralphie Report - which indicates more than 60 percent of Buff fans would want to join us in Pac-10. Colorado in the Pac-10 makes a lot of sense.

Now as far as the other team is concerned, I would prefer Colorado State because than the symmetry would be perfect, but I could be potentially open to a package deal with Utah. Bottom line though for me there is should no Pac-10 expansion without Colorado. We shall see how it all turns out. More football notes after the jump.

Ted Miller has done a little spring football power rankings for the Pac-10. He ranks UCLA at number 8:

8. UCLA: The Bruins offense must break through next year because it's hard to imagine the defense won't take a step back after losing six starters, including tackle Brian Price and cornerback Alterraun Verner. Problem is the offense, which loses four starters, ranked ninth in the conference in scoring in 2009.

This is completely fine with me. I actually like flying under the radar heading into this season. Except for the road trip in Eugene, none of the Pac-10 matchups scare me all that much heading into next season. Perhaps Washington is going to be ultra tough because it will be a make or break year with Jake Locker and the law of averages is piling up against us.  But we always play them tough. Don't get me wrong. All Pac-10 road games are tough these days but I am feeling pretty good about how our program has been progressing last two seasons. I have no problem with the national observers ranking us low at this time of the year. Let's keep our fingers crossed for a healthy and productive spring football camp.

Speaking of camps, Brian Price has been going to through his draft related activities. He recently did a Q&A with the Draft Zoo during which he talked about UCLA:

DZ:  Are you proud of the direction that UCLA is headed? Did you like being part of the rebuilding process?
BP:  Yeah, absolutely. That’s why I went there, to help put UCLA back on the map and to really build it back up. So yeah, I’m happy with it.

DZ:  You got a new coach during your tenure, Rick Neuheisel, who has NFL experience. And your D line coach, Todd Howard, played and coached in the pros. What’s one thing you learned from a staff with a lot of NFL experience?
BP:  Yeah, our D Line coach, Todd Howard, really stressed having great technique. That’s something that can take you a long way at any level. Once you get to the NFL, with all of the veterans, they know what they’re doing and you have to know what you’re doing. A lot of guys extend their careers by using good technique even after they lose a step physically. It’s important to have the right technique, or you might fall of some when you get [to the NFL].

DZ:  Who’s the best offensive lineman you’ve ever faced?
BP:  Hmmm, the best? Kai Maiava my teammate at UCLA. Everyday in practice. When you play here, the guys you face in practice are as good as you’ll see in college football.

tWWL's Todd McShay has Brian at number 15 on his draft board. I smell an NFL Draft open thread on BN, which I believe is going to be the first one ever (definitely not the last one under CRN) on BN.

Brian is of course the classic example of a "UCLA type of guy," and that allows me to end this roundup with a note on Lame. Larry Brown Sports took note of Lamey's recent comments concerning his "10 minute rule":

First of all, when Kiffin was working at USC last time Karl Dorrell was the coach in Westwood and he allowed the Trojans to take their pick of top recruits in So Cal like they were Neil Patrick Harris walking into a brothel. This time around it’s Rick Neuheisel coaching the Bruins — someone who lives for recruiting and has no qualms about stealing your recruit nor your wife. In other words, times are completely different now and Kiffin’s words sound solely like sour grapes coming from a man who saw a few top recruits choose UCLA over USC — not the way it was supposed to be (or used to happen). I’m not about to gloat over UCLA winning a few recruiting battles. Only time will tell if those really were victories for the program because most of player development depends on coaching. Neuheisel and Chow have a pretty good track record of maximizing talent. Pete Carroll was legendary for his abilities. Ed Orgeron was a flop. Lane Kiffin? I have a good reason to believe his results will not match his mouth.

Don't think Larry is alone on that last note.