In the Pac-10, Money Grows on the Football Field, Not on Trees

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In the Pac-10, Money Grows on the Football Field, Not on Trees
Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

The college football landscape has shifted dramatically in recent weeks, and the Pacific 10 Conference has been the leading brainchild behind the madness. The current realignment might be a sour note for most traditionalists, but what is the perspective on the West Coast?

The Pacific 10 has now added the University of Colorado starting in 2011. Now, the next line of shifts come with Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma saying, “Thanks, but no thanks,” to Pac-10 Commissioner, Larry Scott. But Scott quickly responded with his rebuttal.

Enter the University of Utah. The “Utes” have won 49 games since the 2005 season, which compared to the 16 wins “up-and-coming” Washington has over that span, looks pretty admirable. But how will Utah compete in the newly formed Pac-10, er 12?

Utah has made a name for themselves as BCS bowl busters, not once, but twice in the past decade. Now, with an automatic berth in their sights, the big names in the Pacific 10 might have a thing or two to say about that.

Although football is played on a spacious green landscape with thousands of fans breathing down your neck, it seems that the game, at least this offseason, has been played behind closed doors and spoken with checkbooks and dollar signs.

Colorado and Utah look to be a great fit on paper, and in terms of location and performance. In truth, Scott was not fighting blindly to add these media markets to increase revenue for the entire conference. Adding Denver and Salt Lake city to his list of cash hungry media markets like Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, and the Bay Area, will send television revenue through the roof.

No, this does not mean $20 million split up evenly, like the proposed deal laid out with Texas and Oklahoma joining, but the bottom line for Pullman and Tucson will skyrocket. Seriously, Texas or Oklahoma would have made a trip to Pullman in early October the toughest ticket in town.

Sure, Texas or Oklahoma would have made every game interesting in the Pac-10, but Utah and Colorado hold natural border rivalries already and carry extensive football traditions in their own right. But you can’t blame Scott at swinging for the fences in an attempt to reel in the big fish.

However, Scott persuaded the 18th and 36th largest media markets in the country to join his media metropolis on the Pacific Coast, and most can already see the greener grass.

From the sun drenched deserts of Arizona, to the hustle and bustle of stars in the Hollywood spotlight, and all the way up north on the 5 Freeway to the cold winters in Oregon and Washington, athletic directors across the conference will be fertilizing the grass in their stadiums with dollar bills.

As for the purists in college football, rejoice and take it in, as only one season stands in the way of the old and the new. 

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