If you wonder why the Pac 10 was the first conference to start the ball rolling on conference expansion, then you have only to look at the NCAA sanctions that were passed down the same day against USC.
The Pac 10 is nothing without Southern Cal. And everybody knows it.
The Pac 10 exists for USC and to a lesser extent, UCLA.
Forget Oregon and Arizona State. They are merely another couple of teams to be sacrificed at the Trojan altar. The conference doesn’t exist for them. It never has. It never will.
In order for the conference to survive USC’s loss of scholarships and the two-year ban from postseason play, the Pac 10 had to do something drastic.
It happened with Colorado.
I doubt that there was a single conference official or athletic director in the entire Pac 10, who didn’t know that those bans were about to hit the fan. Extending an invitation to Colorado was merely the first domino, in a sequence that we have already begun to see played out in the coming days and weeks.
Colorado’s invitation, and the timing of it, was all about damage control. More directly, it was a desperate, blatant, and yes, brilliant attempt to push the news about USC sanctions off the front page.
Moreover, it worked.
Have you read much of anything in the headlines about the NCAA sanctions or USC’s punishment since the school began this ugly and entertaining game of musical chairs? Of course you haven’t.
Any remaining news of USC indiscretions was immediately crushed, like droppings under the Buffaloes’ stampede.
If you wanted any further proof of my contention, you needn’t look any further than the Associated Press’ announcement that they will not strip the Trojans of their 2004 football championship.
Surprise! Surprise! Whoever said that crime doesn’t pay?
You certainly couldn’t make a credible argument on that point to former Trojans, Pete Carroll or Reggie Bush. In fact, I might be inclined to wager a paycheck that Bush is allowed to keep his Heisman and to continue voting for future attendees at New York’s Downtown Athletic Club.
Would conference expansion have occurred in the Pac 10 without the sanctions against USC? Of course it would, eventually.
It just wouldn’t have happened right now.
To the hardened skeptics among you, it may not surprise you to learn that this was all about money, lots of it.
A two-year postseason ban against the Trojans would devastate the conference financially, flushing them down the drain like, well another product of the same name.
The Pac 10 couldn’t allow that to happen. Goodbye postseason; hello, Colorado!
Somebody had to step forward and save the Trojans. But just to be clear to everybody who elects to join the Pac 10, this is not about you. This is about them.
This is about Southern Cal.
You’re just along for the ride.