Hold on everyone. No need to get excited here. We don't intend to stir up any unnecessary speculation here. But we do think the following quote from Dennis Dodd from Sportsline.com about Pac-12's new TV deal is more than noteworthy:
In other words, the Pac-12 just became a player for the likes of Urban Meyer. I'm not saying Meyer will be hired in the Pac-12, I'm saying that the Pac-12 can now afford coaches of his stature. UCLA, not exactly Fort Knox when it comes to paying coaches, now has the ability, if it chooses, to pay Meyer if it fires Rick Neuheisel. The question is not whether it will, the reality is that it can make that call without getting hung up on.
It's too bad UCLA didn't have the foresight to go after Urban Meyer right out of Bowling Green. They could have gotten him at a cheaper rate than Karl Dorrell. It's all water under the bridge now but file Dodd's point away for future discussions.
Let's make something clear here. We are going to root for Rick Neuheisel to succeed in 2011. We want him to get our program back on track with an 8+ win season and victory in that last game against USC. If he doesn't get the job done next year, UCLA will have to look for a new Athletic Director, who can make his own football head coaching hire. We will not trust Dan Guerrero at that point.
Dodd's point becomes an important one if we do get a new Athletic Director who is looking to bring in his own football coach. He or she will not be able to use lack of resources as a legitimate excuse to pursue high profile candidates like Urban Meyer. As Dodd said the issue really is not whether Meyer will coach at UCLA, although it's kind of fun to ponder the possibility of Kiffin-Meyer feud spilling over to the West Coast. This is more about about UCLA being able to go after coaches like Meyer by using new war chest at its disposal.
There is an additional point from Dodd that is worth writing down. Dodd on Larry Scott's role as Pac-12's commissioner:
Scott delivered because these commissioner jobs have evolved into giant fundraising endeavors. Sure, every once in a while a commish has to suspend or fine someone but that's small stuff. The commissioners' mandate from the presidents they serve is to make as much money as possible for the schools. Mike Slive and Jim Delany, two powerful guys with powerful NCAA backgrounds, had been the best at it -- until now. In less than two years Scott reshaped and repackaged his conference in such a way that it became the most lucrative league television property in history. Remember, this is a guy who sees profit centers in China for UCLA gear.
The comment about UCLA' reach in Chinese market is not an accident. Everyone here probably remembers that classic Bart Simpson episode in Tokyo involving "UCLA Yankee Cola." The appeal of UCLA's brand in the Asian market is powerful one. It's one of the factors that makes UCLA stand out compared to most of its Pac-12 counterparts. Just something to keep in mind as we continue to discuss the direction of Pac-12 and more importantly our dysfunctional athletic department as we slog through the long off-season.