Andrew Murawa is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-10 and Mountain West Conferences and an occasional contributor.
That sound you just heard may have been the proverbial first domino creaking a little. Today, Orangebloods.com columnist Chip Brown reported that, in advance of the Pac-10 meetings which begin this weekend in San Francisco, the Pac-10 is set to invite six Big 12 schools to join in the creation of the first superconference of the new era of college sports. Brown reports that Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech will be the schools invited, leaving Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Nebraska behind. All this comes on the heels of the Big 12 meetings, wrapping up on Friday, which opened with a plea by commissioner Dan Beebe for a united front among member institutions and a commitment to the conference. Obviously, this rumor has huge ramifications for the Big 12 and the Pac-10, but the ripple effect of such a move would be felt across the college sports landscape. We’ll take a look here at the specifics of this rumor and how this rumor could affect other conferences around the country.
The Pac-16. Or Big 16. Or the Great New Superconference
According to the Brown article, which cites multiple unnamed sources, the new conference would be divided into two eight-team divisions with the six Big 12 schools joining Arizona and Arizona State in an Eastern or Inland Division and Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington and Washington State forming the Western or Coastal Division. Then, with the aid of Fox Sports Net, already an operating partner with the Big Ten Network and television partner with both the Pac-10 and Big 12 conferences, the league would create its own cable network akin to the BTN. Perhaps coupled with new television contracts with ABC/ESPN, Fox, CBS, Turner or any other bidders, the projected revenues of the new conference (which would encompass seven of the top 20 television markets in the country) could rival those of the SEC or even the Big Ten.