Excuse me while I go get some paper towels and clean up this mess.
I just spewed Coke Zero out of my nose and all over my desk after listening to an interview earlier this week with Pac-12 propagandist, er, commissioner George Kliavkoff.
From a UCF perspective, my summation after listening to this comical interview is this: The Knights should be ecstatic they are getting ready to join the Big 12 and not the Pac-12. And, quite frankly, I think the Big 12 may soon put the Pac-12 out of its misery.
While it’s true that the recent decision to expand to a 12-team playoff (with six conference champions guaranteed spots) might have been a lifeline for the Pac-12, I still wouldn’t bet on the league’s survival. Especially after listening to Kliavkoff’s nonsensical comments on a recent podcast with two West Coast sportswriters — John Canzano and Jon Wilner — in which the Pac-12 commissioner actually said his conference is stable right now and seemed unconcerned that Washington, Oregon, Stanford or Cal could follow USC and UCLA to the Big Ten.
“Listen, I think if schools [were leaving] for the Big Ten they would have left already.”
Kliavkoff then reiterated his guarantee of a few weeks go that no Pac-12 schools would depart for the Big 12, which reportedly has been targeting Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah.
“I talk to our presidents and chancellors and athletic directors all the time; we have conversations about this,” Kliavkoff said. “Everyone is committed to working together to get a great grant of rights, following a good media rights deal, and I take people at their word.”
Um, isn’t this the same commissioner who had no clue until it actually happened that USC and UCLA were splitting for the Big Ten? Did he take those two schools at their word, too?
There’s an old saying — “All is fair in love and war.” Well, you can add conference expansion into the mix as well. We’ve certainly seen over the last few years that college ADs and presidents would join the TAC (Taliban Athletic Conference) if it meant a few more millions in media rights money.
Each individual school will do anything and everything to get as much TV payola as they possibly can. They’re sort of like legendary Washington Redskins offensive lineman Russ Grimm when asked in 1984 how important it was to beat the Los Angeles Raiders to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Responded Grimm: “I’d run over my own mother to win the Super Bowl.” To which Raiders linebacker Matt Millen quipped: “I’d run over Russ Grimm’s mother, too.”
This is why UCF should be feeling really good right now that they are getting ready to join the Big 12 — a league where none of its future members is running over anybody to get anywhere. This might be the one time in history where being relatively unattractive pays off.
Once Texas and Oklahoma leave the Big 12 for the SEC in a couple of seasons, UCF will be joining a Big 12 filled with a bunch of Plain Janes — decent programs that are currently unglamorous and, more importantly, unwanted by the SEC and the Big Ten.
In fact, other than the Big Ten and SEC, I’d say the new Big 12 is the most stable conference in college football because the new Big 12 doesn’t have any programs they want to cannibalize. It’s sort of the same reason lions don’t eat hyenas — because they just don’t find them very appetizing.
However, there’s no question that there are brand-name schools in the ACC and the Pac-12 that might just whet the appetite of the SEC and Big Ten.
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You better believe the SEC and/or Big Ten might try to poach North Carolina, Virginia, Clemson, FSU and Miami if those ACC schools can find a way to escape the league’s seemingly ironclad, long-term grant of rights deal. As for the Pac-12, as we’ve mentioned, it’s no secret that Washington, Oregon, Stanford and Cal are anxiously awaiting a possible invitation to the Big Ten.
This is why Kliavkoff is either delusional or disingenuous when he says all of the teams in the Pac-12 are on board as the league tries to negotiate a new media rights deal.
“No one’s going anywhere, we’re all together, we’re focused on doing this,” Kliavkoff said.
This, of course, is utter foolishness. All it takes is a couple of invitations from the Big Ten to, say, Washington and Oregon, and the Pac-12 is done. The league’s media rights negotiations would quickly fall apart and Utah, Colorado and the two Arizona schools would bolt for the Big 12.
And who’s to say Utah, Colorado and the two Arizona schools are going to passively wait around just to see what Washington and Oregon do?
Don’t be surprised if they run over their mothers to get to the Big 12 as soon as they possibly can.
Email me at email@example.com. Hit me up on Twitter @BianchiWrites and listen to my Open Mike radio show every weekday from 6 to 9 am on FM 96.9 and AM 740.