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Pac-12: The Conference in Crisis

Brian Taylor

Posted on December 4, 2018 23:08

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The Pac-12 Championship Game fell flat on it's face, symbolic for a conference that is at a real crossroads.

The signature event for any of the Power Five football conferences is their annual conference championship game, as each conference takes the opportunity to celebrate their season, crown a champion, and make one final case to be included in the College Football Playoff. As each of these conferences held their title game last weekend, it was the Pac-12's game that stood out to me, for all the wrong reasons. 

Last Friday, with Washington and Utah squaring off down the road at Levi's Stadium, even with tickets in the lower level selling for $13 on Stubhub, I chose to watch the Pac-12 Championship Game on TV.  Not only because I wouldn't willingly subject myself to being around scores of Husky fans, but also who in their right mind schedules an event at 5 pm on a Friday in the Bay Area? The conference sold out to TV and as a result, the Huskies and Utes played to enough empty seats ("announced" crowd of 35,134) that most of the top deck of Levi's Stadium was tarped off, a HORRIBLE look for the "biggest game of the year." 

The game on the field was befitting of the disaster surrounding the event, as Washington won 10-3 in a game featuring no offensive touchdowns and little crowd emotion. In fact the loudest the crowd got on the evening was during the trophy presentation, when Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott was booed roundly on the heels of a blistering four part series by The Oregonian exposing the conference's finances and the hierarchy.

Having been shut out of College Football's Playoff for the second year in a row and three of the last four years, the Pac-12 finds itself in real danger of being left behind as conferences like the SEC and Big 10 continue to get stronger as a result of smart maneuvering, lower overhead, and a smarter television package with better distribution.

Football is what moves the needle in college sports and if the Pac-12 wants to remain relevant nationally, they need a socialist revolution of sorts. The SEC and Big Ten both bring in more money annually than the Pac-12, and both of those conferences operate with lower overhead (as in, not operating out of the most expensive real estate in the country), pay their commissioners less (and achieve more), and find a way to redistribute a greater percentage of that money to their member schools, which they are able to turn into things like better facilities and better coaches. If the Pac-12 wants to remain relevant, there needs to be a redistribution of wealth from Larry Scott and his cronies to the universities.

The Pac-12 touts itself as "The Conference of Champions" based on the sheer volume of championships its member institutions have won, but it's the lack of football trophies that will continue to define what should be the most fun conference in the land.

Brian Taylor

Posted on December 4, 2018 23:08

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Source: FOX Sports
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