The PAC-12’s woes are well known but stop and consider just how bad things are.
The media situation is dire. The PAC-12 Network so far is a disaster and can’t even strike a deal with DirecTV. Unlike every other conference, the league owns the network outright and so has a bigger overhead. Basing it in San Francisco is just more money down the drain.
Football just completed another poor bowl season and had a bit of scandal surrounding instant replay.
Not a single PAC-12 team is in the basketball Top 25 and on Wednesday afternoon, former USC assistant Tony Bland pleaded guilty to charges in the Adidas trial. Arizona coach Sean Miller’s situation (he was allegedly wiretapped discussing payments to a player, an account that was widely questioned) remains unresolved.
And UCLA, the conference’s most historic program, fired coach Steve Alford before conference play even started.
Obviously the league is aware of all of this and has acted: it’s hired a PR firm.
You can’t blame one person but Larry Scott is the commissioner and he’s catching some heat over the mess the conference is now in.
What’s fascinating to consider is what might happen if the PAC-12 continues to fall behind and eventually gets close to collapse.
There is no real alternative on the West Coast. The PAC-8/-10-/12 has always controlled the region and you’d think it would be too remote for the ACC, the SEC and the Big Ten to pick it apart.
The Big 12, generally considered the power conference most likely to disintegrate, could conceivably pick off a couple and in a bonus, the PAC-12’s struggles make it much less likely Texas will bolt or to at least give it fewer options.
In short, as it stands now, the PAC-12 is a bloated mess with no easy answers, and that’s probably good news for its rivals.
By the way, here’s an update on the post-Alford coaching search. We did see that UCLA was still flying commercial but it still didn’t occur to us that part of that would be sitting in the Cincinnati airport for a few hours like the rest of us.