The commitment of Colorado to join the Pacific 10 conference is the first domino to fall in a string of events that will inevitably change the landscape of college football. Nebraska is thought to be the next pillar to be removed from the Big 12's platform, and it's difficult to imagine the conference remaining intact after its removal.
Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma St would join Colorado in the Pac-10 to form the first Super Conference in college football.
The conference would be split into two regional sub-conferences, with Arizona and Arizona State falling on the wrong side of the Mason-Dixon line, having to face powerhouses Texas and Oklahoma every year.
Much like every punch in the gut, however, there is some silver lining for Arizona in this conference migration.
1. Increased exposure in Texas and Oklahoma
The Wildcats have clawed their way back into Pac-10 prominence by recruiting well in the state of Texas.
2011 has already hinted that Oklahoma will be a recruiting hotbed for Arizona in the future. The fact that the Wildcats will be playing at least two games a year in that region can only stand to increase the amount of exposure to recruits in those areas.
No one expects for the top Texas talents to start choosing Arizona over the Longhorns, but the kids who are spurned by Texas will have the opportunity to leave the state and play against them ever year.
2. Increased National exposure
A 16-team super conference featuring powerhouses like Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon, and USC (if they ever recover from NCAA sanctions) is an unheard of entity in college football.
The marketing capabilities of certain match-ups are astronomical and you can expect ABC and ESPN to take advantage on a consistent basis.
No longer will fans be subjected to mediocre Big 10 match-ups when there are far superior games on. The more national exposure the conference gets, the more exposure Arizona gets. More exposure leads to better recruits. Better recruits lead to winning.
3. Increased Television Revenue
The biggest reason Arizona will benefit from the Pac-10 expansion is because of the increase in television revenue.
The Pac-16 would undoubtedly receive its own network, and Arizona would stand to make about $10 million dollars more a year from television contracts. Now is where everyone starts to argue that the rest of the Pac-16 will receive additional funds as well.
However, Arizona is one of the few teams that are in the black as far as athletic budgets, thanks to Jim Livengood's ability to maximize profits. So while ASU will be spending its $10 million to move out of debt, Arizona will be able to spend all its money on its stadium expansion, new facilities, equipment upgrades, etc.
Arizona is in a unique position for the next two years as well, as the expansion will conceivably occur before the 2012-13 football season.
With the sanctions handed down by the NCAA against USC and the inability of Chip Kelly to stabilize Oregon's behavioral issues, Arizona has an opportunity to be at the top of the Pac-10 for the next two years.
If Arizona can continue to win, they will be at the top of an expanding conference with tons of excitement over the future of the program. College football recruits all over the country would relish at an opportunity to defend Pac-10 prestige against Oklahoma and Texas, and Arizona might be their best opportunity to do so.
Arizona stands to benefit a lot from Pac-10 expansion. Hopefully, the benefits will outweigh the drawbacks.