How Does the Pac-10 Realignment Help Washington Husky Football?
Over the past several weeks, the Pac-10 has experienced the highest of highs heading toward a 16-member conference, and the lowest of lows with their most recent flag bearer, USC, getting hammered by NCAA sanctions.
After all the dust has settled, the Pac-10 has become the Left Coast Dozen, or the dirty dozen if you look closely at USC or Oregon's recent track record.
At any rate, now that Utah and Colorado are in the conference, what does this mean for our beloved Washington Huskies?
With Utah and Colorado in the conference, the Huskies schedule will get more interesting. Utah has been good for the past several years, and Colorado, although rebuilding, still has some good talent. These games will also give the Huskies a chance to compete against teams with styles of play that differ from the current Pac-10.
In addition, the creation of a 12-team conference, the Huskies will most likely play five games against their conference mates, and a couple games from the other half of the Pac. This new wrinkle could give the Huskies a chance to add another tough non-conference opponent to help their national exposure.
New Recruiting Opportunities
With the addition of two new markets, Denver and Salt Lake City, the Huskies will get some exposure to audiences they haven't had previously. Depending on how the schedule is divided, they could end up with consistent away games in both cities. This will add two more potential sources for recruits for Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian.
Given the consistent performance of the Utah and BYU programs, there should be some talent to steal from there as well. All of Colorado's recent struggles have had more to do with program-level issues, and poor judgment rather than with the talent pool of football players from that region.
Both of these states, as well as their neighbors Wyoming and Montana, will also get more exposure to UW's improving program. These additions will give coach Sarkisian and his staff more levers to pull as UW aims to return to its place as a regional power.
Conference Championship Games
With two six-team divisions within the conference, a Pac-10 conference title game becomes a reality. So depending on the way the Bowls are aligned, there could be a play-in game to decide who goes to the Rose Bowl and, or a BCS berth. It will definitely add some interest to the late season Pac-10 games.
The expansion of the Pac-10 was also timed well with the pending renegotiation of the TV contract situation. A championship game, as well as additional markets, will significantly increase the TV revenue for all of the member of the conference.
For Washington, this increase in revenue could significantly help in funding for a new Husky Stadium, which will in turn drive higher revenue to the program, enabling the Huskies to keep up with the other teams in the conference.
While it is easy to look at the lost opportunity of a Pac-16 as a disappointment, the addition of two teams from significant markets will still bring significant benefits to the Washington Huskies both on and off the field.
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