Pac-12 (16) Is The Future

Bobby Curran
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Friday - September 14, 2011
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Peyton Manning. AP photo

The dawn of four super collegiate conferences may be closer than previously thought. When Oklahoma president David Boren stated that the Sooner athletic program was actively exploring its options, it served notice to all interested parties that change is once again in the air.

It is clear that the Big 12 now down to nine teams is headed for the scrap heap. (Note to other conferences: If you want long-term stability, make sure revenues are shared equally). After Texas A&M announced it was leaving, it initially had the consent of the other Big 12 schools. Now that the SEC is accepting Texas A&M, it appears that Baylor has withdrawn consent and is considering legal action.

Understandable, in a way, because if the marquee schools in the Big 12 are gobbled up by super conferences, who is going to want Baylor? Someone suggested the WAC might want it. Can you imagine the reaction to that by Bears fans? Going from a BCS situation to a conference struggling for its existence?

And it won’t be any easier for Iowa State or the Kansas schools. The reality is that while some may end up big winners, other will be on the athletic equivalent of life support. Closer to home, there would appear to be very little or no chance that UH would be invited to join up with the big boys. It’s way too early to hit the panic button, but being ready for any contingency is probably a good plan. There are going to be some very viable programs in the west San Diego State, Air Force, UNLV that will not be included in any super conference. And that could be a starting point for a league that could thrive outside of the magical 64. After all, they have to play somebody.

* Peyton Manning missing his first start in 228 games means more than the end of an impressive streak.

It seems none of the consulted medical professionals can even hazard a guess as to when he might be coming back. We’ve been told that he’s got a nerve regeneration issue, but a timeline is totally unpredictable. It doesn’t seem a certainty that he will even play at all this year. It’s hard to imagine the Colts as a playoff team without him.

* It seems extremely unlikely that we’ll see a full regular season in the NBA.

Considering that many teams will actually save money by not playing, the owners will be in no mood to lower their demands, and the players don’t seem to grasp that the former model is completely broken.

The players will come back eventually, but likely at reduced wages and very possibly without the cur- rent levels of guarantees in their contracts. If there are games played this year, expect them after the February all-star “break,” which will likely be a casualty as well.

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