First, the Pac-12 is having problems getting a new media deal, especially since the Big 12 beat them to it. The need for possible content partners to know what inventory they will have may force them to work on expansion sooner rather than later, although they would prefer to get the media deal done first. It may wind up as streaming-only with Amazon, ESPN+ or both. Which leads us to…
SMU. The P-12 commish was in Dallas earlier in the week for a long series of meetings with Smoo officials. The other probable expansion target for the P-12, perhaps before SMU, is San Diego State, which keeps them in SoCal at a school with a brand new stadium and a good football/hoops profile. But the longer the media negotiations drag out, the harder it is to predict.
The Big 12 still needs to resolve the Texas-OU situation, and an early departure is still not quite dead, although it’s not very likely. Meanwhile, the Little Dozen hasn’t given up on expansion, including raiding the remnants of the Pac-12, which may be looking around if a suitable P-12 media deal is not forthcoming. The B12 also talking to Gonzaga as a non-football member, which would make the strongest hoops league even stronger. SMU wasn’t considered as a B12 expansion option when they took BYU, et al, but now that the P-12 is considering the Ponies, might the XII do a pre-emptive strike to keep the P-12 out of Texas?
Well, let’s see. Not going to be easy. There is some money down here, a lot of it and a lot of people have it. If that gets mobilized then things can happen. The school has to commit to winning of course. That’s the biggest challenge. It’s happened before when things got — ahem — mobilized by folks like Governor Clements, etc. LOL
It really speaks to the incredible, historical growth of Dallas.
I’m not sure everyone realizes that Dallas/Ft. Worth is now the 4th largest metro area in the US, quickly approaching a population of 8,000,000. Added over 600,000 people between 2016-2022 (roughly the size of NWA).
It’s projected to pass 10,000,000 and overtake Chicago to become the third largest city in the 2030s.
SMU just happens to be in the hottest market in America.
Well, they are building this. Recently broke ground.
And I actually like Rhett Lashlee. He knows how to evaluate talent and can recruit. SMU is well positioned for the portal too. Tons of good HS football players leave DFW and want to come back. Sonny exploited that at SMU and is now doing it at TCU.
It’ll take some doing, but it’s possible. Getting into the PAC 12 will spark some alum interest. That’s huge. No one wants to see SMU play Navy or East Carolina. But Cal, Stanford or Oregon is a different deal.
The Big XII wants to expand, too. The Pac may still blow up if the new media deal falls below the goal, and that’s really likely to happen if it does not get expansion done soon.
San Diego State may be the lynchpin. If the Pac can get SDSU, then they have some flexibility on the second school (SMU, Boise State to name two) and still get enough money in the new deal to be somewhat viable in the years ahead.
However, if SDSU goes to the Big XII, things get very, very dicey for the PAC in terms of money on a new deal. Even with SDSU, the Pac still may not secure enough money to keep everyone on board.
So the Pac as a Power Five conference is in peril. It certainly looks like the Big XII is willing to expand all the way up to twenty schools if that looks like the best way for them to stay viable and make more money, and it has its new media deal in hand. The Big Ten, whether it wants to say it publicly or not, still needs a couple of West Coast schools to balance things out. Meanwhile the Pac’s plan hinges on San Diego State as the lead candidate for expansion.
If you were a leader at one of the current Pac members would you just hope the expansion/media deal works out well enough to live with it or would you hedge your bets by backchanneling with another conference?
As I mentioned at the end of OP, the B12 might take SMU just to keep the Pac-12 out of Texas. Of course they could also poach the Arizona schools or Colorado and Utah (or even Oregon and Washington) and completely implode the P-12.
I think everybody in the P-12 needs to be proactive. If the B1G comes west again, or the B12 raids them, or the media deal sucks, they need to have options in place.
Thanks, that’s what I remember too but as you say the winds have changed. I might be giving the Texans too much credit for being ready to move if and when . Nevertheless, thanks, thought maybe there was something I had missed or did not understand.
I have no idea how any of this will shake out. I have been so wrong so often when it comes to these things I’ve decided I just better off waiting & watching. Regardless, I hope we don’t come down to two super-duper conferences of 20-25 members each. I don’t see any reason for the SEC to expand again. I can’t imagine any school bringing anything the conference doesn’t already enjoy. About the only thing I could see changing that is some sort of BIG-SEC merger or maybe the SEC & BIG each taking half of the ACC. That’d mean one or two power conferences against everybody else.
But does that translate to college football attendance, particularly where the affiliation is with a non-public university? USC is in a similar situation to SMU or TCU but Arkansas has higher attendance according to published attendance figures.
USC used to sell out the Mausoleum, particularly when the NFL was gone for a couple of decades. Dunno if they do since they downsized it a few years back and the Rams and Chargers are there. UCLA can’t draw flies.
Frankly, if NWA had not exploded in population we would be pretty much in the same category as OSU, Ole Miss, MSU, TT etc. A Second tier, respectable but not on the lower rung of the top tier as we are at present. SMU and TCU at the same level as Memphis, Mizzou, Houston, Tulane ECU, BYU, etc.