NCAA Football: Utah Has To Join The Pac-10, Even as a Consolation To Texas

Ross LipschultzAnalyst IJune 17, 2010

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 14:  David Reed #16 of the Utah Utes celebrates with Jereme Brooks #85 after making a touchdown pass reception in the second quarter of the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Joe Schad had an incredibly rough day on Monday when he reported that Texas’ move to the Pac-10 was “imminent,” only to have the ‘Horns decide six hours later to stay put in the Big 12.

So what does Schad do, run and cry to mommy?

Wrong. Just like Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy, he’s a man.

And this man got right back to work. He revealed that the Pac-10 extended an offer to Utah Tuesday to join the conference, and it appears that the Utes will accept as early as Friday.

Rejoice Salt Lake City! This is the best news you’ve gotten since the Jazz moved to town.

Ironically, jazz is illegal in Utah.

Nevertheless, Utes fans should be ecstatic over the news. This is a team that has won its last five bowl games and has two undefeated seasons in the past ten years.

But because they were part of the Mountain West, the odds of them being in the BCS Title Game were equal to South Africa’s chances to win the World Cup.

What, too soon?

Now, the Utes have to be considered legitimate contenders. In a mediocre Pac-10 where the best team is strapped with a list of sanctions longer than the Old Testament, Utah becomes a perennial threat. They already showed they can compete with the big boys in their 2005 Fiesta Bowl and 2009 Sugar Bowl wins.

Good news for them! There are no big boys out west anymore.

Sorry Oregon, but if you want to be seen as a top program, stop recruiting more thugs than 50 Cent.

Back to Mormonville, U.S.A. Utah hates being outside of the BCS, so not taking the Pac-10’s deal would be Howard Hughes crazy. The state’s senator and attorney general have already pushed resolutions calling for a playoff and to investigate the BCS for antitrust violations, which just seems outrageous and unnecessary.

By joining the Pac-12, their government stops looking stupid, and who doesn’t want that?


No Utes fan should see their guys as second fiddle. Yes, Larry Scott went after the Texas and Oklahoma schools first, but shouldn’t that be expected?

Texas is to football as Utah is to boring.

Instead, they should look at the huge benefits that joining a power conference provides. Obviously, they are eligible for a BCS bid and that’s just dandy. But assessing all the other goodies that joining brings, Utah would be a kid in a candy store. 

Without candy corn.

First, the recruiting possibilities. With USC significantly hampered for the next two seasons, Utah can boast about having the best record of Pac-10 schools to west coast prospects. If you want to get your name out in the public eye, what better way to do it than with a team that hasn’t had a losing record in more than 10 years?

No, Vince Young, getting into an altercation at a strip club is not a wise alternative.

Second, the television base. Sure the Pac-10 should be tickled pink to have the Salt Lake City market, but the reverse should be noted as well. Now major cities like Los Angeles and Seattle will have a reason to watch Utes football, bringing in greater television revenue.

And let’s be honest. Utah can use the popularity. People watch Utah football voluntarily like they watch any television show from Tyler Perry voluntarily.

Third, and most importantly, they leave the Mountain West at the perfect time. With Boise State coming in, the MWC would have been a slug-fest for best non-BCS team, and only one team can have that label.

If Utah came in anything but first and undefeated, they’d never sniff a BCS bout, let alone a title game. But in a BCS conference, having a couple losses won’t necessarily prevent a bid to the Rose Bowl, simply because you play “better competition.”

If by “better competition” you mean Washington State, the only BCS school not to make the preseason top 100.

I’m pretty sure most international fútbol teams could beat the Cougars.

So what must Utah do? Take the bid.

You get everything you want, with no real penalties. Sure, you are the consolation prize for the Pac-10, but that shouldn’t matter. Take your money, more talented recruits, and cornucopia of wins and dominate the Pac-12.

But most importantly, make Joe Schad right. If he gets this story wrong, he will as dead as Maurice Clarett’s NFL career.

Follow Ross on Twitter at Rossel64 and check out more from him at


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