Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News is one of the best in the business, and my favorite source on the Pac-10. He’s a Daily News alum, and a great guy to boot. Here’s what he had to say about the Pac-10 expansion talks.
All the talk is on a 16-team expansion, but what about a 12-team league?
“I can’t help but wonder if the Pac-10 honchos have concluded that it’s an all-or-nothing situation. Either they’re going for 16, or they’re going to stand down at the Pac-10. Just adding two teams is just not worth it on the revenue side. They’re going to go big and if they don’t go big, go with what they’ve had. But nobody’s told me that. I’ve been very skeptical all along that Colorado and Utah would do enough on the revenue front to make it worthwhile. There are a lot of steps, and a lot of those steps have nothing to do with the Pac-10.”
Where does college football go from here?
“I don’t know what they do with some of those leftover teams – Colorado, Baylor, the Kansas schools. Maybe they’d end up joining the Mountain West, a fifth conference. I’m just not sure how it’s going to shake down. It has the potential to be completely different than it has been. A month ago, I would have told you that the chances would be minimal, now I would say they’d be significant. Texas still holds so many of the cards. If the Longhorns are still adamant about staying in the Big-12, there’s a good chance the Big-12 stays together in some form. But what is the SEC doing behind the scenes? What is the Big-10 doing behind the scenes? I’m sure as much as we know, there is twice as much we don’t.”
When you talk about these changes, it sounds like college football will change forever after this…
“They would have to change the BCS, either as its currently formatted or do away with it all together. There’s a theory that the Big-10 commissioner Jim Delaney thinks the BCS will not survive past 2015. He’s putting his conference in position to thrive in some kind of post-BCS world. If you have four, 16-team super-conferences, they’d have to radically change how the BCS is structured. But I think (college football) will evolve again. What’s happening in the BCS, there is a gap between the haves and have-nots. If there are four 16-team conferences, what’s going to happen to the WAC? In 10 or 15 years, I wouldn’t be surprised if major college football, instead of 120 teams, is 65 teams.”
OK, let’s be honest, there’s only one question the readers really care about. How does this affect UCLA, particularly recruiting?
“It would say it helps UCLA’s recruiting – there would be a much stronger affiliation and more roadtrips in Texas. You go back, and UCLA has recruited really well in Texas. UCLA and Notre Dame were raiding Texas every year, before everybody else was really getting in. I think it would really help the schools that have a national feel. They’ll be able to go into the homes of Texas recruits and say, ‘You’re going to be on TV a lot more because you’re playing Texas schools, and you’ll be home once a year, every two years maybe.’ But it ain’t going to help Oregon and Washington, I can tell you that.”