College Football in 2011 represents a rapidly changing game, and in a few years, the Pac-12 could become the Pac-16.
Does anyone else remember the good old days when there were only 10 teams in the Pac-10—all of them on the West Coast—and we didn’t have to deal with talks of expansion and traveling to teams all the way across the country? Oh, wait, that was only last year.
With the recent addition of Colorado and Utah, the Pac-12 has been growing as a conference. As rumors have been swirling about adding new teams to the conference, the reader and college football fan is left to wonder the validity of such claims. It certainly seems, however, like these claims are merited.
A brief history of the Pac-12 is indeed one of expansion. The roots begin in the Pacific Coast Conference (Berkeley, Washington, Oregon, Oregon State) in 1916. While the PCC inevitably disbanded to form the Athletic Association of Western Universities (featuring Cal, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington) in 1959, with the addition of Washington State the conference continued to look for expansion.
In 1964, Oregon and Oregon State both joined the conference that was commonly referred to as the Big Six. Having already had a Big Eight in college sports, they switched gears and called themselves the Pac-Eight. In 1978, the conference added Arizona and Arizona State.
From that point on, however, it was starting to seem like the Pac-10 was a bit permanent, as those 10 schools had maintained their membership for the longest in college football division one history sans the Ivy League.
This lasted until last year, when the Pac-10 sent invitations to the University of Colorado and the University of Utah.
With the recent success of the SEC in football, fans are left to wonder if their reign of dominance will continue until someone puts a stop to it. One solution than many think could work would be to expand the Pac-12 into a super conference.
If this ends up happening—perhaps becoming the Pac-16—there would be a College Football super conference as strong as the SEC that could perpetually give them a run for their money.
For a fan of football, watching these distinctly different cultural centers clash multiple times every year should make you giddy. Included are powerhouses from across the country, and it would be phenomenal to watch these teams play the likes of Oregon and Stanford.
That being said, with so much competition in the league, it would be difficult to make a bid at a bowl and the added travel becomes a bit of a nuisance for all of these teams that share very little in common geographically and culturally.
Here is a list of teams that could be involved in this merger.