Pac-12 poaching the Big-12 would be nice, but don’t sleep on the West

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 17: A PAC-12 logo is seen during the PAC-12 Men's Basketball Media Day on October 17, 2013 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 17: A PAC-12 logo is seen during the PAC-12 Men's Basketball Media Day on October 17, 2013 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images) /

With all the noise coming out of the Big 12, Pac-12 and commissioner George Kliavkoff would be wise to lock up the west before worrying about opportunistic Big 12 schools.

While everyone is theorizing about where the rest of the Big 12 will end up following the departure of Texas and Oklahoma, however, most pundits are missing a few big fish that the Pac-12 should likely prioritize in trying to attract before the 2024-2025 school year when the Big 12 could potentially crumble.

While Baylor and Texas Tech are exciting options to think about, the biggest win of all could be striking sooner to attract BYU and Boise State (assuming the Pac-12 could get over its strict member admittance requirements). This would truly lock in the main Western powers before the complete starting of mega conferences.

Arizona Wildcats
Arizona Wildcats /

Arizona Wildcats

To me, BYU should be priority No. 1 for the Pac-12. Because of the changing landscape of College Football and college athletics altogether, independent programs will soon be a thing of the past if you want a seat at the Playoff table.

BYU while not as high profile of a school as independent Notre Dame, their addition would bring in a very strong and dedicated fan base to the Pac-12. The Cougars would enhance the league’s profile arguably as much as any potential Big 12 team could bring in.

On the other side of that, while Boise State would not bring nearly the following of BYU, however, their addition would virtually ensure that the stronger Western programs would be locked into the Pac-12.

By fortifying the West, not only would it bring in more revenue for the conference, but also likely lock in the conference from being raided by other conferences.

By not looking to lock in the conference, the Pac-12 could be at risk of losing its bigger member schools like USC, UCLA, or Oregon. All those teams could potentially look to chase the dollars of a mega-conference in the SEC or Big 10, as they are best positioned regionally, while also securing larger TV deals which only becomes more attractive to the bigger programs.

Arizona Athletics is uniquely positioned to be able to capitalize on a different division if other schools join the Pac-12.

If the Pac-12 were to expand to 16 teams, they could have more pod-like divisions of four (Baylor, Texas Tech, BYU, and Boise State). The Wildcats would likely enjoy a bit of a relief as they would possibly see a division consisting of Arizona State, Baylor, and Texas Tech in a hypothetical Pac-12 Southeast.

That alone could increase the Wildcats’ presence more in the East with better-timed games for those, not in the Pacific and Mountain Time Zones.

The other hypothetical divisions would become just as, if not even more exciting as you could see all the California schools in a division, while BYU and Boise State could join Utah and Colorado in a hypothetical Mountain division, meanwhile the Washington and Oregon schools together in a Pacific Northwest division.

With each team playing their division foes once, a crossover with another division, and then seeded “challenge weeks” with the Top four teams playing the conference semi and final games, while the others are also podded together.

This could create a nine-game conference slate that could also likely provide more Pac-12 teams a chance at bowl eligibility, while also positioning the conference to have multiple playoff teams each year.

When looking at basketball, the four added squads would only enhance the conferences’ incredible depth, especially as Baylor is the defending national champs, and are a team on the upswing as a perennial tournament contender.

To me, the new hypothetical Pac-16 would rival the other powers in the strength of the conference.

Already having a strong presence in recruiting, and now having an international recruiting superstar in Tommy Lloyd, the Wildcats would likely only benefit from the added beef to the schedule each year with the additions of Baylor, Texas Tech, BYU, and Boise State.

On the Women’s side, a guaranteed Baylor vs. Arizona matchup at least once if not twice a year, in addition to Stanford would be electric!

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