Would you call Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott “one of the most influential persons in college sports — ever.”
CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd has, writing a bio about the man who just got the new Pac-12 conference a hefty 12-year, $3 billion deal with ESPN and Fox, enough to vault him to the No. 1 spot on the website’s new list of the College Football Top 100 (linked here).
Dodd writes: This is about a guy who sees to and beyond the Pacific Rim to revenue streams in China. Scott has determined that, for some reason, the Chinese love UCLA, to the point that there are 100 Bruins merchandise stores in the communist stronghold. Uck-luh the natives call it, pronouncing it phonetically.
“It’s an aspiration brand to the Chinese,” said Scott, relaxing on a couch of his office, which provides a three-sided view of the Northern California landscape north of San Francisco. “They have this kind of fantasy notion of the California lifestyle and U.S. academia.”
More entries from the list:
No. 39: Matt Barkley and Robert Woods, dynamic quarterback/receiver tandem, USC. There’s not a lot for USC fans to look forward to this year. They’re out of the Pac-12 title race and can’t go to a bowl game for the second straight season. But that’s not a reason to stop watching, as the Trojans have one of the best quarterback/wide receiver duos in the country in Matt Barkley and Robert Woods. The latter was named Pac-10 Offensive Freshman of the Year and was on just about every freshman All-American team after racking up a USC record for all-purpose yards. (And in case you didn’t know, USC has had a few pretty good freshman play in their illustrious history.)
45. The Pac-12 Hot Seat, conference furniture, Pac-12. When Pac-12 media days roll around next year, there’s a good chance there will be a few different faces from this year’s edition. While every conference has their fair share of coaches on the hot seat, it seems as though the Pac-12 has a hot couch with so many people to fit on it. Washington State’s Paul Wulff, UCLA’s Rick Neuheisel, Arizona State’s Dennis Erickson and Cal’s Jeff Tedford are those that are feeling the heat … and a bad year by USC’s Lane Kiffin could find him starting to sweat as well.
70. Agent X, compliance disaster in-waiting, Potentially Everywhere. He’s out there right now. Lurking. Ready to provide student-athletes with extra benefits at a moment’s notice. “He” is Agent X, the person keeping compliance officers and athletic directors up at night. 2010 saw Agent X burst on the scene as infractions cases at USC, North Carolina and Auburn dominated the headlines. X could be a number of people, from a runner looking to steer kids to a school to an agent hoping to sign players when they eventually head to the NFL to an uncle looking to make a quick buck of the football talents of a kid.
92. Qualcomm Stadium, home field, San Diego State. Thanks to years of incompetence from its regular Aztec tenants, the former Jack Murphy Stadium’s most prominent ties to college football have been the Holiday Bowl and (more recently) the Poinsettia Bowl. And those aren’t insiginificant, particularly considering some of the classics that have been played in the Holiday. But that should change this year. SDSU is poised for potentially their biggest season in school history, with senior quarterback Ryan Lindley and sophomore running back Ronnie Hillman forming the most dynamic QB-RB combo in the Mountain West. To win the conference the Aztecs will have to go through both TCU and Boise State, but wouldn’t you know it–both MWC frontunners must visit Qualcomm this year, the Frogs Oct. 8 and Broncos Nov. 19. With two chances for the Aztecs, don’t be surprised if “the Q” plays host to this year’s version of Nevada-Boise, the upset that turns the non-AQ BCS chase on its head.