This is the first of a 4 part series on the sword of Damocles hanging over the current conference alignment that is PAC 10 expansion. Eventually, at a time of their choosing, the PAC 10 will add two members and reap the profits of a football championship game.
This first part gives an outline of what will lay ahead in this discussion. As each article is posted, this article will be edited to include links to the others.
Many teams are suggested for PAC 10 expansion whenever the topic emerges. For geographic reasons I chose to exclude most teams east of the Rockies. Texas and Colorado are included despite the increases travel costs and that a change would be a lateral transfer from one BCS conference to another. Any rival that might accompany either school has much less of an impact once either of these schools is added, and adding these two teams would weaken the natural rivalry structure of the PAC 10.
This leaves Boise State, BYU, Fresno State, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, SDSU, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah and Utah State. Utah State is omitted because they are never included in the discussion, unless the responses by the MWC or WAC are considered. I include Idaho for the historic connection with the PCC, and as a natural rival for Boise State. UNLV and Nevada are the geographical best fit and deserve some consideration.
The second article will explore the merits of each of these teams on the gridiron. Each team’s last nine games vs. PAC 10 opponents, corresponding to a current full season in the PAC 10, should estimate how a team would fair in the PAC 10. Bowl records over the last 10 years will be given as a second measure of performance against quality teams. The number of games against PAC 10 teams in the last 5 years will give a measure of the desire of the PAC 10 to play each institution, especially if the PAC 10 team travels. Home attendance will also be examined. This will yield a bank of data to allow a quantitative analysis of the quality of the football programs involved.
The third article will look at academic measures, other PAC 10 sports and TV market share. A table will be included with each prospective institution’s Carnegie Foundation Ranking, research funding and enrollment figures. Any sport that all PAC 10 teams field that each school does not will be noted. TV market share can not be ignored as TV money funds nationally competitive athletic programs.
It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with my background that I conclude that BYU and Utah are the best option for expansion. I have stated as much in the past, now I am presenting facts to back up my opinion.
The forth article will examine scheduling issues caused by the expansion. For this discussion I assume an expansion involving a natural rivalry pair, not necessarily Utah BYU. This is the falling action of the series, and I admit I may be the only one interested in this post.
The length of this introduction demonstrates the need of more than one post.
To be continued