I discussed possible Big 10 expansion some time ago and wish to thank all those who read and commented on it. Now we head West.
The two previous expansions of what is today called the Pac 10 were in 1964 when Oregon and Oregon State joined and 1978 when Arizona and Arizona State left the WAC for the Pac 10.
When the South West Conference disbanded Texas was interested in the Pac 10 and Colorado was invited in. However with the creation of the Big 12 Colorado stayed put and Texas became a member of the Big 12.
The Pac 10 today consists of paired schools: Northern Cal. with Stanford and Cal, So. Cal with UCLA and USC, Oregon and Oregon State, Washington and Washington State, and Arizona and Arizona State. This is very beneficial for scheduling purposes in basketball as a team can play multiple teams close by on each road trip.
This to me would be a factor in expansion. As will location, being competitive in other sports and academic credibility.
Let's look at some paired schools.
Colorado located in Boulder just a short drive from Denver and The Air Force Academy located in Colorado Springs roughly 70 miles from Denver. The Denver area is a good tv market and would help the Pac 10 with tv contracts by adding the area. Colorado has a history of winning with a National Title and a Heisman trophy in the recent past. They are a good academic school as well. The Air Force Academy is a regular visitor to Bowl Games and an outstanding academic institution. With the number of Air Force veterans spread across the country they bring viewers to the tv sets which means advertising dollars.
Colorado has been a troubled program recently but seems to be cleaning up its act. There are no real disadvantages to adding this duo other than the distance. Denver is 900 miles from Phoenix and just under 850 miles to L.A. Possibility "interesting"
BYU and Utah These schools have a history with the AZ. schools and are close in terms of mileage as Utah borders Arizona. Salt Lake City is 5oo miles from Phoenix. The Utah schools are both solid football and basketball schools. They are comparable to OSU and UO and UW and WSU in terms of academics. While the Utah tv market is small the Mormon Population throughout the country would help. The tv market is the only real negative against them. Possibility "interesting part 2"
Texas and Texas A&M or Oklahoma This is an interesting possibility. The distance between Austin and Seattle is great 1700 miles, 1400 from Oklahoma City and Phoenix is 1100 miles away. Could the lure of the Pac 10 get Texas to bail out from the Big 12? If they did another school would have to come with them. Oklahoma or Texas A&M make sense. Oklahoma would be the bigger catch. Would the idea of gaining a foothold in California or in Texas for the Pac 10 schools prove irresistible? Texas and Oklahoma are both great basketball schools. Possibility "Texas and Oklahoma would be in tomorrow if they asked to join."
Non paired schools:
Hawaii Too far away for scheduling as air costs would be outrageous, the football program is on the downside and Hawaii Hoops? Forget about it.
Fresno State The Pac 10 feels they already "own" the Ca. tv market. Fresno has become a good football program. Possibility "iffy"
San Diego State see Fresno
UNLV I live in Nevada they have worse facilities than many high school teams and are a perennial loser in football. The hoops program would be their only shot. Possibility "We'll call you sometime."
Boise State Too new to the successful football world and no offense they are in Idaho.
Nevada Reno No chance Nevada has 4 million residents. 2 million live in Vegas.
I see no other schools they would even consider.
My thoughts are this: The Pac 10 would take UT and OU in a heartbeat. Would they consider adding 4 teams and taking in any 2 sets of the 3 paired schools. Probably. Also if say Texas and Oklahoma came in adding two more teams from among Fresno, San Diego State, Boise or one of the 4 non-invited paired schools would be attractive and help balance the schedule.
Fourteen schools in two 7 team divisions could happen.
I welcome your thoughts on the scenarios I've presented.