Phil Caldwell

Sports Blogging With a Grin

Pac12 Expansion: Forget Texas! Four Teams That Should Be on the Radar

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AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 10:  The Texas Longhorns mascot Bevo XIV attends the NCAA game against the BYU Cougars on September 10, 2011 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.  Texas defeated BYU 17-16. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Imag

Erich Schlegal/Getty Images

With all the talk this week of the Pac-12 Conference adding schools in Texas and Oklahoma, count me as one college football traditionalist that hates the idea.

Not so much the idea of expanded conferences and 16 team divisions. That could work, and could be fun. It’s this idea of expanding the Pac-12 into states and regions that have nothing to do with the tradition of the west and it’s on-going insecurity of being snubbed by the east.  It’s what fuels the passion for many of our teams!

Having the name “Pac” in the title suggests west, as in Pacific Ocean, but Oklahoma and Texas suggest “flat dust storms, lots of cows, and too many tornado’s!”  Not exactly tourist attractions that would motivate fans from out west to visiting games.

For Texas and Oklahoma fans on the other hand, it would mean finally something to live for.  Something to yearn about as you sit sizzling in triple digit heat during the dog days of summer waiting for football.  The prospect of visiting cities where sun glasses don’t melt off your face.

Pristine with snow-capped mountains!  The Pacific Northwest with it’s water, Utah for it’s skiing, and Southern California with it’s warm climates and white sand beaches.

Texas and Oklahoma?  Nobody goes to Texas and Oklahoma, we go through Texas and Oklahoma, as fast as we can in most cases!

Nope, the new conference should be based on localized tradition.  It’s what sets college football apart from the professional leagues. Natural rivalries work best when they are from similar regions!

Four teams that could help improve all of this in the Pac-12, instead of stretching it to areas of the country that are far removed from the west!


Boise State

BOISE, ID - NOVEMBER 19:  Kellen Moore #11 of the Boise State Broncos throws a long pass over Anthony Williams #91 of the Fresno State Bulldogs at Bronco Stadium on November 19, 2010 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

They have that putrid blue field that they just love so very much there in Boise. The rest of us, not so much.

Entire flocks of Canadian Geese have dropped dead from the sky after flying over it.  A fluorescent bluish hue that induces headaches and extreme dehydrating diarrhea to most fans, especially when viewed on television for several hours.

But there is hope.  It could be changed back to normal field grass green for the right deal.

Well membership in the Pac12 is the right deal!

Boise State is constantly on the outside looking in come the end of the season.  No matter how many games they win in a row, when it’s all over the pundits doubt their strength of schedule.  Pac12 membership would change all of that.

Even with their uniforms rivaling Oregon in terms of cornea-searing designs, membership in the Pac12 ends the debate.  If they win here, they’d be in.

Some question the academic strength, but the school is up-and-coming according to recent publications, and who can argue with the football team’s performance over the past decade?

The team is flat-out good. They are consistently ranked in the preseason Top 10, which is more than you can say about 10 of the current Pac-12 football teams.

Two years ago, Oregon learned how difficult road games to Boise State are, when the bucking Broncos of Boise State did what the rest of the teams in then Pac-10 could not do: they beat the hated Ducks.

The team is a natural rival to four separate teams in the Pac-12. Student-fans could drive to the games, just like all the other traditional NW teams, unlike long airplane trips required for Texas and Oklahoma.

Furthermore, the skiing and recreational activities in Idaho are just a trifle better than they are in Texas and Oklahoma!

Alumni provides the money for football programs due to how they travel, and most sane alumni would rather it be Idaho than the barren plains of the south-Midwest!


HONOLULU - SEPTEMBER 02: Levi Legay #53, Shane Austin #10, and Jett Jasper #82 of the University of Hawaii Warriors and other team members rush out of the tunnel to take the field in their season opener against the University of Southern California Trojan
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Not exactly the mecca for stellar football programs, but the Hawaii Warriors of the WAC are an attractive choice for all Pac-12 teams, evidenced by the number of preseason games scheduled against them year after year.

And although the stadium and fan support leave much to be desired, it’s still Hawaii.  It’s warm when it’s raining sideways in the north, and rival fan bases would thus flock to the islands for these annual games.

In terms of potential tourist dollars for Hawaii, the Pac-12 offers by far the most lucrative deal.

Allowing the Warriors in the Pac-12 could wreak havoc for teams who routinely overpower the islands in terms of recruits. But Hawaii, already with a consistently potent offense that gives visiting teams fits, the defense would likely also evolve into a powerhouse manned mostly by locals

Nationwide, what kid wouldn’t dream of playing football mixed with surfing lessons in the offseason?

And with their uniforms already among the coolest-looking in college football, they seem to be the most logical of the sub-west teams to convert to the big time!


AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 10:  Wide receiver Ross Apo #11 of the BYU Cougars catches a second quarter touchdown pass by Jake Heaps against the Texas Longhorns on September 10, 2011 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Erich
Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Ever since BYU ripped off the national championship from the University of Washington in 1984, Husky fans have had it out for Utah’s most elite Mormon institution.

And why not? BYU consistently has put out teams that can play with anyone. Just last week we saw the arrogant and pompous Texas Longhorns barely manage to squeak out a one-point win against this team of upstarts from one of the most beautiful areas in the United States.

Brigham Young University makes sense from a rivalry perspective too. The Utah Utes have played the Cougars 87 times, making these two teams not only one of the longest rivalries in the nation, but also a natural rivalry that the Pac-12 so dearly loves.

And lets not forget that NFL greats Steve Young and Jim McMahon are grads of this school, as is 1990 Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer. Danny Ainge played basketball at BYU, as did golf’s Johnny Miller and Mike Weir.

BYU is a proven athletic power that could easily keep up in the Pac-12.

San Diego State

SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 20:  Running back Ronnie Hillman #13 of the San Deigo State Aztecs carries the ball on a five yard touchdown run in the second quarter against the Utah Utes at Qualcomm Stadium on November 20, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The fourth nominee may be surprising, but San Diego State provides the rivalry for Hawaii that would need to happen for this to be feasible, and they just so happen to be located in an area attractive to most traveling fans.

Playing their first football game clear back in 1921, the Aztecs, like their former WAC rivals the Hawaii Warriors, have wreaked havoc on larger schools who foolishly scheduled them for “warm up” games.

Already this year they pulverized WSU with a 42-24 thrashing, and have jumped out to quick 3-0 start with victories over Army and Cal Poly too.  And with so many high schools in Southern California with so many blue-chip recruits, rising to the top of the heap of a new Pac16 would be merely a matter of time.

Furthermore there is no better place for frigid fans in the North to visit, than the city of San Diego.

With it’s pristine beaches and near-perfect fall weather, San Diego State would help the Pac-12 cover the entire state of California, and is the logical choice for the 16th member of the new Pac-16!


6 of 7


Potential Divisions

HONOLULU - SEPTEMBER 02: Ronald Johnson #83 of the University of Southern California Trojans is taken down by Po'okela Ahmad #40 of the University of Hawaii Warriors during first half action against the University of Southern California Trojans at Aloha S
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

With four teams located in the West, the new Pac-16 could be divided as follows:


Washington Huskies

Oregon Ducks

Oregon State Beavers

Washington State Cougars

Colorado Buffalos

Boise State Broncos

Utah Utes

BYU Cougars


USC Trojans

UCLA Bruins

California Bears

San Diego State Aztecs

Stanford Cardinal

Hawaii Warriors

Arizona State SunDevils

Arizona Wildcats

Read more from the same author:

Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners Need Not Apply for Membership in the Pac12


Written by PhilCaldwell

September 20, 2011 at 9:45 am

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