If you're a longtime fan of Arizona or Arizona St., the inevitable realignment doesn't mean as much for you, as not so long ago (1978) both schools left the WAC to join the Pac-10.
And nowadays, apparently the Pac-10 (or soon to be something else) is the place to be.
With Colorado announcing they are joining the conference, the dominos have begun to fall.
And while a football traditionalist (or basketball for that matter) probably doesn't like the change, the Arizona schools should enjoy the change.
Well there are several good reasons, starting with the obvious:
1. Better Competition.
You ever heard the expression "you're only as good as your competition?"
Well with the possible addition of teams like Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma St., and even Colorado, both schools should sharpen their teams in both sports.
In football, Arizona in particular should benefit. The Wildcats have been on the fringe in the last several years of becoming a solid team. The added challenge should only improve Coach Stoops' team.
Last year's drubbing in their bowl game to Nebraska only proves that they need the seasoning that teams like Texas and Oklahoma provide.
Sure, they'll get killed for a few years. But they'll catch up (more on that in a moment).
As for the Sun Devils, they too have a storied past, and might feel more at home playing against other teams in the Southwest, rather than the Northwest.
And you know Dennis Erickson would relish the chance to beat a team like the Longhorns or Sooners.
In Basketball, it gets even better for the Wildcats, who, until the last couple of seasons, have been the class of the Pac-10, along with UCLA.
But with the possible adding of Texas and Oklahoma, they not only get two great football schools, they get two pretty decent opponents in basketball, not to mention Texas A&M and Oklahoma St as well.
Seeing Arizona and Texas play every year should be a pleasure.
As for Arizona St., not typically known as a basketball school, it should actually help them too, as none of the possible six teams being added are "great" basketball schools either (unless they would add Kansas for some reason).
For the Devils, playing Colorado should be a pleasure (and a win).
2. Better Recruiting
For those of you that keep up with recruiting (I don't), the adding of a few powerhouses should help with the recruiting significantly.
Just ask the smaller SEC schools.
So now, it should be a little easier for the recruiters. They can say not only, "You'll play against USC," but "you'll play against USC, Oklahoma, and Texas."
That should help convince a few more recruits to stay with Arizona and Arizona St., rather than go elsewhere to play in a "better" football conference.
3. Better Exposure
If the six teams rumored to join the Pac-10 do join, can you imagine the sponsors that will hop all over the new conference?
There will surely be a TV network within the first season, meaning your Wildcats and Sun Devils will be on TV that much more.
Plus, it means more exposure to pro scouts.
How many pro scouts are at an Arizona (State) v. Washington St. game?
Now, how many would probably be at an Arizona (State) v. Texas game?
4. Better Rivalries
Think about some of these rivalries (in football or basketball):
Arizona v. Texas
Arizona St. v. Texas
Arizona v. Oklahoma
Arizona St. v. Oklahoma
Arizona v. Texas Tech (apparently they've played several times)
Arizona St. v. Colorado
Arizona St. v. Texas A&M
Arizona v. Oklahoma St.
And so on, and so forth.
Rolls off the tongue doesn't it?
While I'm not 100% in favor of the new expansion, these are some nice possibilities, no?
So for you Arizona and Arizona St. fans out there, don't be too pessimistic.
Rather, consider your football stadiums half-full.
Er, completely full.
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