Endzone pylon with the Pac-12 logo. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

The Coming Apocalypse: If “Events” Force the Pac-12 To Expand Again, Who Shall It Be?

I think the Pac-12 is very happy right now to be sitting at 12 teams. Two times now in the last few years, the Pac-10/12 Conference flirted very seriously with adding Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M. In the end, most of us were very happy with the fact that this did not end up coming to fruition. While there was at least some appeal to the idea of having the old Pac-8 reunited and with the idea of Texas and Oklahoma showing up to Husky Stadium every few years, the pros did not seem to outweight the cons; noteably Texas wanting to become the dictator of the conference. In addition, other than Texas, most of us were very leery of the idea of adding schools who ranked in the 300+ range academically to a conference with so many prestigious Top 100 schools.

Larry Scott seemed to make the most of the situation by bringing in the two most respected academic FBS institutions in the western half of the country, who also happened to be located in the two largest media markets west of the Rockies not already included within the Pac-10 sphere of influence. Colorado and Utah definitely seemed like the best possible schools to add to bring the conference that coveted championship game and more eyes on TV sets. His bold move was rewarded handsomely with a huge TV contract and the beginning of the Pac-12 Network next year.

I think most Pac-12 watchers seem to think there is no reason the Pac-12 would expand again. They did their dance with the Texas/Oklahoma crowd, twice, and it seems highly unlikely they would go that route again. But, I don’t think anyone is convinced that the national conference realignment shuffle is over yet. While it has gone from the big boys (SEC, ACC, Big 12) down to the lower rungs (Sun Belt, Colonial, Atlantic 10), there is every reason to believe that another round of realignment is right around the corner and it will again include the major conferences.

As each major conference comes up to their next TV contract, they will be looking at ways to enhance their revenue and overtake each other in bragging rights. Then, there are the issues of scheduling difficulties and conference alignments. For instance, how weird is it that Missouri is in the SEC East? Working out football and basketball schedules can be tricky when you have 13 or 14 members and may be a lot easier to coordinate with 16 teams. There are also big time programs or major media markets to be claimed. So, do not be surprised to see conferences like the ACC, SEC, Big 12, and Big Ten start making moves in a year or two to get those numbers up to 16.

While there will certainly be some poaching of each other, I’d also expect to see schools in the Big East, Conference USA, and Mountain West become targets. Then of course, there are the independents like Notre Dame and BYU. Will the Big Ten aim for the New York City and Washington DC markets? Will the ACC aim for more Northeastern exposure? Will the Big 12 reach further west and north?

Which begs the question; If the other  five major conferences decide to go for 16, would the Pac-12 sit pat at 12? Maybe they will and maybe they should. Geographically speaking, it isn’t as easy to poach suitable schools from other conferences as it is for the other five whose overall ranges and media markets overlap with each other. On the other hand, if Boise State and San Diego State can play in the Big East, I guess anything is possible. But, I doubt the Pac-12 would reach out west of the Rockies unless it includes Texas. But, given the dance the past few years, that seems unlikely.

It does seem that the Pac-12 and Big Ten wouldn’t need to expand given their new scheduling alliance that gives each conference many of the benefits of expansion without having to actually add teams. But, Could the Big Ten say no to Notre Dame? Could the Big Ten give up a finger in the big East Coast markets? While the Pac-12 options are certainly not as palatable as the other conferences, there are a few that might fit in and give the Pac-12 a stranglehold on the western half of the country.

Which of the following universities would be acceptable in an expanded Pac-12? You may click on up to four choices.

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So, my question to you, the readers of Husky Haul is this; Should the Pac-12 start exploring expansion again, which schools would be acceptable to you? I’ve put together a potential list of schools based on institution size, academic reputation, and media market size. They are listed in the table below.  After checking out the table of data, please take the survey above asking which universities would be acceptable in an enlarged Pac-1X. You may click on more than one university.

University Media Market (rank) Academic Ranking (2012 USNWR)
Hawaii Honolulu (71) #164
San Diego State San Diego (28)^ #164
Fresno State Fresno-Visalia (55)^ #37 Regional West
Nevada Reno (108) #181
UNLV Las Vegas (42) Ranking Not Published
New Mexico Albuquerque-Santa Fe (44) #181
BYU Salt Lake City-Provo (31)^* #71
Colorado State Denver (16)^ #128
Boise State Boise (112) #67 Regional West
Air Force Colorado Springs-Pueblo (92)* #33
Texas Austin-Dallas-Houston (48,5,10)* #45
Oklahoma Oklahoma City-Tulsa (45,61)* #101
Oklahoma State Oklahoma City-Tulsa (45,61)* #132
Texas Tech Lubbock-Amarillo (143,131) #160
* means national appeal
^ means market penetration

In case you were curious, here is how Pac-12 schools rank academically based on the 2012 U.S. News and World Reports Academic Rankings.

Pac-12 University USNWR 2012 Academic Ranking
Stanford #5
UC Berkeley #21
USC #23
UCLA #25
Washington #42
Colorado #94
Oregon #101
Washington State #115
Utah #124
Arizona #124
Arizona State #132
Oregon State #138


Tags: Boise State BYU Conference Realignment Hawaii Idaho Larry Scott Nevada New Mexico Oklahoma Oklahoma State Pac-12 San Diego State Texas Texas Tech UNLV

  • http://twitter.com/OS_Beaver OS_Beaver

    Pretty sad we are talking about such teams.  Oklahoma, one of the premier blue blood programs in the nation, and Oklahoma St., a new perennial national program with T. Boone were casually written off by the Pac-12 presidents.  That is an example of presidents notb always knowing best.   They were stuck in their slow pace of change thinking and thought, “Hey, we just became the Pac-12″.  The clued in people, were adamant that superconferences would be near and were without doubt inevitable.  Didn’t matter if it was in 2,3,7, or 12 or more years.  You could bank on plenty more movement ahead.

    As I wrote about last September if you have a chance at a PAC-14 you have to take it.  Once those two were in, not only were you much stronger and respected right there, but you also essentially guarantee the PAC-16 would be great as well.  Odds would have been 85% or higher Texas would have followed, but if the LHN was too big a deal we could wait a year or two at most and still have great options.  KU/MU was still possible at the time.  KU/KSU was the worst we could have done but logistically it would have worked pretty good.  It was just that two Texas schools would best capture markets.  TT/KU was a pretty good option since PAC basketball would become instantly among the most elite.  UCLA is doing great recruiting wise but you are looking for more premier content for the PAC Networks.  I even stated that TCU/TT should be considered and we should get over this Pac-12 president think.  One school like TCU does not have much impact on the overall culture and they have a nice campus and are doing great work right now on an expensive stadium improvement of a new side of the stadium.

    The bottom line is with OU/OSU on board we would have had our beachhead and been in the cat bird’s seat.  The presidents for whatever reason were not most interested in being as strong a conference as they could and guaranteeing they would always be positioned as such.  Now, I think we have to look at Nevada and UNLV for the future.  Then maybe BYU and BSU or SDSU are the next best overall for the conference.   There wasn’t enough foresight by these presidents though.  The Pac-12 already has too much weight in the middle and not enough elite programs at the top.  That means too many games in between as you wait for those most exciting programs.  If I was USC I would start to get annoyed with how many average programs they have to go against. 

    In life you always have to strike while the iron is hot and we could have had both OU and OSU and had a league that never again would have had any jokes about it struggling somewhat against other premier conferences.  Even the before joked about Baylor actually has good potential know moving forward.  They are going to build a beautiful stadium by a river and they have a strong recruiting base.  They always seem to be in the NCAA basketball tournament in both men’s and women’s as well. 

    I still think the PAC would be wise to get into Texas.  In a few years UTSA will have enough potential.  They are imroving pretty fast and San Antonio/Southern Texas is one of the best markets out there where future growth will be big.   Who to pair them with is the question?  Houtson would probably be the smartest choice.  Houston is the biggest metropolis of South Texas.  You could have Nevada/UNLV join the North and those two Texas schools join the South.  USC, and the other South teams will get a boost from more Texas recruiting and overall even under a decade later and continually moving forward this grouping would provide the PAC its strongest recruiting base, exposure, markets, etc.  I don’t expect the Pac-12 presidents or ADs to get it imediately but when they move on to become Big 12 commishioners and become your serious competition, you just have to realize that the landscape will move with or without you.

    • Kapapala

      Texas-San Antonio and Houston in the Pac-12? Man, you’ve lost your mind. Let’s add Memphis and South Alabama too…

      • GoState99755

         This is the first time I’ve agreed with you all day!  OS Beaver is a
        perfect example of why Ore State is ranked last in academics in the

    • Go Ducks!

      This Beaver is clueless.

      • GoState99755

        This is the first time I’ve agreed with you all day!  OS Beaver is a perfect example of why Ore State is ranked last in academics in the 12-Pack.

    • Winston7ok

      The only team left in the West with a Legacy and National Brand which also has the Academic credentials, is BYU.
      With Air Force right behind.

      It will never happen in the Pac. No faith based institution will ever be welcomed. Yes, even a Notre Dame.

      What was laughable was Utah being admitted without any tradition of excellance in Athletics or Academics.

      And Utah will never dominate the SLC TV market. That will always belong to BYU. BYU is a National Team with a National Brand and market, ask ESPN.

    • GoState99755

       Univ of Texas – San Antonio….PASS ME THE PIPE BRO!

  • 834

    Trust me, you guys don’t want to deal with BYU.

    • Tony

      Why?  Can you give some specifics instead of repeating that tired old rhetoric that people keep spewing about BYU?  I’m guessing you’re a SDSU fan, sour grapes from getting your butts handed to you by BYU.

      • GoState99755

         #1 – They won’t play sports on Sunday, which makes
        scheduling for non-football sports very difficult.  Student athletes miss
        much more class time because of that demand. 

        #2 – They also tried to pull a Texas on the MWC demanding a larger share of the
        TV deal than any other member institution.


        #3 – You can’t buy a beer in Cougar Stadium & both
        (yes, there are only two) bars in downtown Provo are awful.  I don’t mind The SLC & Park City, but
        Provo is as a dismal town to party in!

        834 is correct…they are a handful!   BTW…I’m NOT an SDSU fan!

  • HSkill

    San Diego State is a community college school, and was dominated by a weaker school like BYU….

    • GoState99755

      “Weaker schools like BYU…,”  REALLY???  Where are you getting that?

      How many Football Nat’l Championships has either of the oregon schools won
      since BYU’s in 1984?


      How can you call BYU (#71) a “weaker” school when it
      ranks 30-schools higher than your school in Eugene in academics?  BTW…BYU ranks higher academically than well
      more than half of the 12-Pack:



      Washington State




      Ore State

  • Bob

    San Diego State has become an excellent football school and a dominant basketball school despite playing in a league far from the west coast where it belongs.  In the Pac-12 it would flourish.  9th largest city in the U.S. and 60,000 applicants for admission every year.  It’s a perfect fit. 

    • GoState99755

       You’ll see I’ve been defending SDSU up & down this thread.  However I have to call BS on “excellent football school,” and “dominate basketball school.”

      An “excellent football school” doesn’t go to TWO-bowl games in the last THIRTEEN-yrs, nor does an “excellent football school” loose in last yrs New Orleans Bowl to Lousisana-Lafayette.  Yes…Lousisana-Lafayette.  Get a grip bro…the ‘tecs have only won one-bowl game since 1970 (2010 Poinsettia Bowl vs Navy).  Dude…that’s one bowl win in 42-yrs.  That’s hardly “excellent football.”

      Currently ‘tec hoops is better than football, but by NO means is your basketball program “dominate.”  SDSU has only been out of the 1st Rnd of the NCAA tourney only ONCE (2010-’11) in school history…hardly “dominating.”  I’m sorry but, having only two D-1 head coaches (Tim Vezie & Steve Fisher) with a winning record is the school history is far from having a “….dominate basketball school.”

      Don’t get me wrong, SDSU is vastly improved in the last few years in both sports, but I think an ABOVE-AVERAGE football program, and a GOOD basketball team is a little more realistic than “excellent” and “dominate.”

  • Reklein27

    Those academic rankings are great and all but outside of Stanford, cal, ucla, and USC, sdsu has the highest admitted student gpa of any of the PAC 12. It takes a 3.8 gpa and good sat to even get into sdsu these days.

    • Kapapala

      Not to sound rude, but you are joking right? SDSU is a Cal St. school. It may be the best Cal St. school, but it is one nonetheless. No way it stacks up with UW or even Arizona or Colorado academically.

      Athletically, market size, and alumni base maybe…

      • GoState99755

        BTW…you do sound rude. 


        By all means…don’t let empirical facts like “highest
        admitted student GPA” get in the way of your elitist attitude.

  • Go Ducks!

    The candidates are all very weak….especially academically.  I guess we’re stuck with adding BYU and maybe Air Force.  SDSU won’t be accepted by USC and UCLA and is on par with Boise academically (i.e., a jr college)

    • Rob

      A JuCo with an Average GPA of 3.78 to get into…   ASU has an average incoming GPA of 3.3, UW is 3.68, and UO is 3.59.  And by the way, before you bring up the research thing, SDSU DOES have 14 PHD programs.

      • Go Ducks!

        Please….any competition to go to SDSU is simply because of the beach.  SDSU is ranked #164 (same as Hawaii).  SDSU is basically a JuCo in a nice city.

        • Rob

          Is that why nearly 60,000 people applied to SDSU and only 35,000 applied to USC?  (granted, growing up a UCLA fan, I have other suspicions on why that is…)

    • GoState99755

       Not true!  SDSU is
      ranked much higher academically than Boise JC. 
      SD St is ranked #164 nationally…while Boise is not considered a national
      institution by the US News & World Report, thus unranked nationally.


      Why no t consider CSU? 
      Colorado State (#128) ranks higher academically than Ore State (#138) &
      ASU (#132) & is only ranked 4-spots lower than Utah (#124) & ‘zona
      (#124).  Colo State’s MBB team went to the
      2011-’12 NCAA basketball tournament, something only ONE 12-Pack school accomplished
      last yr.   BYU & the AFA are the only teams in your
      poll ranked above Colorado State in academics & both come from much smaller
      media markets:  Colo Spgs (#92) & SLC

  • http://twitter.com/blykmyk44 Myk

    The answer is none of the above…I find it very unlikely they will split the pie 16 ways to bring all of those non-entities into the club..doesn’t make any sense

  • Ghouser

    BYU will never happen, the PAC would never take a school with discriminatory practices. Don’t really see Air Force either. Cal state schools are too weak academically. Same goes for Boise and UNLV. From the list, best fits are probably UNM and Hawaii. Both are fairly weak choices, but would likely improve with membership. UNM has terrible a football program right now, but that will likely improve somewhat even without having the PAC in their recruitment brochures, and at least they would bring a pretty decent basketball program. Hawaii needs to upgrade facilities, but their sports programs have a pretty good following, not just on the islands, but also in several mainland areas too (lots of Hawaiian transplants on the west coast).

    • Tony

      I love the hypocrisy here!  “The Pac would never take a team with discriminatory practices.”  LOL  So, the PAC 11.5 (shouldn’t count Utah) is going to….discriminate against BYU for their religious conservatism to punish BYU for this supposed discrimination?  Sounds logical to me!

      • Ghouser

        Nothing to do religion, more a homophobic policy. I guess they do wrap it the vail of religion. I don’t really understand the Utah comment…. So any discrimination invoked in name of religion must be tolerated least ye be discriminatory? Now that sounds logical to me!

        • Winston7ok

          Being against same sex marriage is not “homophobic” but simply maintaining a 6,000 year status quo.

          To disagree is not to hate, but merely to disagree.

          Tolerance of ones views,  is a one way street in the land of Liberal Fruits and Nuts.

          • GoState99755

            Who said anything about “same sex marriage?”  He said “homophobic,” as in they won’t admit gays to the university.

            BTW…our country’s laws are based on the constitution, not the bible.

          • IU Hoosier

            There are many, many students at BYU with same-gender attraction.

  • http://twitter.com/AMurawa Andrew Murawa

    There isn’t a chance in hell any one of those teams ever gets so much as a sniff from the Pac-12. Stanford, Cal and UCLA – just to name three – wouldn’t stand for that in a million years

    • GoState99755

      What does Stanford, Cal & UCLA have against the US Air Force Academy?

      Why won’t Standford, Cal & UCLA like to see, Colorado State, the #2 Vet School in the Country in the 12-Pack?

  • Winston7ok

    BYU and Air Force are the only two schools with significant National Appeal and Brand.
    They are also the highest ranked schools Academically from your list.

    This would round out the perfect symmetry of the league having two schools from the same State with the 4 California schools.

    It will never happen unfortunately, because the Liberal/Socialists of Berkeley, Palo Alto, Seattle and Eugene would never sit for a Faith based Institution like BYU tainting their hard left Utopian World.

    BYU would bring far more athletic and academic tradition and a National Brand, than a Utah ever could do.

    • GoState99755

      Good luck hiding behind “faith.”  Mormon scriptures are filled with racism.  Blacks weren’t allowed to be members of the LDS church until the second-1/2 of the 20th Century. On top of that, BYU will not admit homosexuals & kick students out for being in a homosexual relationship, as well as engaging in pre-marital sex & drinking alcohol.

      What a shame you feel being fair & open minded make ppl like myself hard-left.

      Good for Cal, Stanford, Washington & Oregon!  BTW…I think you left UCLA of your left pinko list.

      • Winston7ok

        Blacks have always been allowed membership.
        The Prieshood was witheld until 1978.
        Get your facts straight.
        You are exhibit A as to why BYU will never join the pac or any other conference.
        It was the Faiths in the South which excluded any membership whatsoever. And the schools of the SEC didn’t even admit African Americans, that cannot be said for BYU.
        You speak out of ignorance.
        Liberal Pinheads like yourself are fine with other points of view….As long as those views comport with your views.
        Dialogue is a one way street with progressives.
        Now go and polish your hammer and sickle.
        Carry on.

  • GoState99755

    You are incorrect when you wrote the Univ’s of Colo &
    Utah  “…also happened to be located in
    the two largest media markets west of the Rockies not already included within
    the Pac-10 sphere of influence.” Last time I checked the 12-Pack didn’t have a
    team in the San Diego Mkt & at #28 – San Diego ranks hirer than the SLC Mkt
    (#31).  In addition, both Denver &
    Boulder, Colo are EAST of the Rockies.


  • Gostate99755

     I’m surprised Colorado State isn’t ranked higher on your
    list.  It ranks higher than Ore State
    & ASU in academics & is only ranked 4-spots lower than Utah & ‘zona.
    In addition, CSU is in the #16 media mkt (Denver).  Colo State’s MBB team went to the last NCAA
    basketball tournament, something only one 12-Pack school accomplished last yr.   BYU
    & the AFA are the only teams in your poll ranked above Colorado State in
    academics & none of the schools in your poll come from a larger TV market
    (Denver – #16).

  • LoFasZz

    CSU. Far and away the best academically and would add a regional rival to CU. Made the NCAA tournament last year. Building a $200 million brand new on-campus stadium. 2 Time national title head coach.

  • Winston7ok


    Of course, BYU would be competitive in every sport.
    They generally have 8-10 top 25 programs every year.

  • Go Ducks!

    It’s too bad that the PAC12 can’t dump some of the lesser programs for the better available candidates.

    (1) replace Washington State with BYU
    (2) replace Oregon State with UNLV

    Wazzu and Oregon State are cellar dwelllers that bring the conference down.    The other two schools would provide new markets/fans.

    • GoPAC2

      You really think taking out Wazzu and Oregon State, and adding BYU and UNLV would be good for the conference? You’re an idiot. BYU is a mormon s***hole. UNLV is nothing, and has no fan support other than basketball. STFU idiot duck