"We could have expanded, but the deal didn't make any sense at the end of the day for us, especially given the position that we are in," Scott said. "There is a very high bar. It's hard to imagine very many scenarios for our conference to expand because the bar is so high." - Larry Scott, Pac 12 Commissioner, September 20, 2011.
Well, well, Pac-12! You must be feeling awfully smug at the moment! For over a year you've hoodwinked the entire CFB world into thinking that you were going to be the first BCS conference to go super-nova - a 16 team television juggernaut. For over a year, you've let Larry Scott wreak havoc across the length-and-breadth of college football. The Big XII is now on life support. The Big East is receiving last rites. Battalions of lawyers are preparing to launch lawsuits. And no one knows what the future will hold.
All except the Pac-12 of course. You're standing pat. How nice. How proud you must be.
Turns out you never had the votes to back up Larry Scott's grandiose visions. You all must have known that all along. But you never curbed your dog either. I mean last summer, you allowed Scott to play a very public game of footsie with Texas and Oklahoma (even stooping to cop a cheap feel off of ugly stepsisters Texas Tech and OK State). Was it all and act? Was it done to make Fox Sports and ESPN get all hot and bothered? It certainly looks that way. And I suppose it worked. After all, even though its a mostly mediocre league (with its most lucrative property, Southern Cal, on double-secret probation), the Pac 12 now has the richest television deal in all the land ( $27b over 12 years), not to mention the best BCS-conference network. Eat your heart out Jimmy Delaney and Mikey Slive.
Maybe we should have seen this coming. After all, Larry came to us from the Women's Tennis Association. He had a businessman's eye for the jugular and a for-profit mentality. He is a Harvard grad and a former tennis pro. And he speaks French. By contrast, Slive and Delaney are plodders. They're lawyers. They'd paid their dues running podunk conferences before getting their call up to the big leauges. They're dinosaurs by comparison.
Well, the ends must have justified the means after all.
But what has your deal with the devil wrought? I will tell you. First, you played the part of homewrecker for the Big XII. It had always a bit of a shaky marriage between the old Big 8 and the rump of the old SWC, but the league was limping along. It would likely still be limping along until you publcly courted UT, TT, OU and OSU in the early summer of 2011. Baylor threatened a suit to be taken along if its Southern Division mates defected. Texas and Texas A&M talked speculated about joining the SEC. So did OU. Then the conference demanded committments from all the members to stay. Nebraska declined to commit, CU decided to bolt.
All that was Larry Scott's fault.
When Dan Beebe picked up the pieces, he had to acquiesce to Texas's outsized demands. More revenue. A television network of its own. Whatever UT wanted. It ultimately became to much for A&M. They approached the SEC. A&M isn't a good fit for the SEC except for one thing - more revenue. Assuming that everyone else is going to 14 or 16 teams that is. So the SEC sold out. Now we're in the middle of a maybe-maybe not courtship with A&M.
That was ultimately Larry Scott's fault too.
By August, 2011 it had become a <i> Guns of August </i> situation - a game of brinksmanship. Sixteen or die, we were told! Take the money and damn the traditions or the cohesiveness of the league. The SEC continued to play hard-to-get with A&M. Baylor threatned more suits. So did ISU, KU and KState. Everyone assumed A&M to the SEC was (and remains a done deal) , necessitating the SEC take another team from the Big XII or raid the ACC. The Big East began to unravel. OU president Dan Boren said it was not going to be passive. Larry Scott said as late as Labor Day weekend that the Pac was being approached by schools. Everyone threw jet fuel onto the flames. Everyone assumed everyone else was going to get the jump. The ACC lost its nerve. John Swofford and the ACC put the knife right in the Big East's. Again. The second time in 5 years. What a guy.
That was all ultimately Larry Scott's fault too.
Fast forward to today. At a time when it should be cleaning up its act, CFB is paralyzed. Dan Beebe is catatonic. Mizzou may or may not defect. A&M has one foot out the door. West Virginia is nationally humiliated, along with Villanova. Louisville and Cincinnati are practically homeless. TCU has no idea if it will be dumped back the mid-majors. Fans are left wondering what will happen.
Hey! Who cares? The Pac-12 got its money. Right?
Some conference, hmm? Shame.