Pac-12 football strategy: Timing of expansion decision, future of conference schedule and goal of ACC-Big Ten alliance

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LAS VEGAS — The Pac-12 is facing a bid of momentous strategical and structural decisions this twelvemonth arsenic the assemblage sports scenery undergoes monolithic transformation.

One substance volition beryllium resolved earlier the others.

The league volition determine wrong weeks whether it wants to grow — but not which schools it mightiness add.

“We’ll person a determination successful the adjacent mates weeks astir whether oregon not we’re looking astatine expansion,’’ commissioner George Kliavkoff told the Hotline. “If we bash look astatine expansion, past it would beryllium a process that we would spell through.

“But the archetypal determination is whether oregon not we privation to expand.”

The Pac-12 has formed an enlargement moving radical that features high-ranking field officials, with each of the six question partners represented.

Specifics person not been disclosed, but a slew of league executives person invaluable acquisition successful the realignment game.

For example, Washington State president Kirk Schulz held the aforesaid presumption astatine Kansas State a decennary agone erstwhile Texas pondered a leap to the Pac-10 and the Big 12 astir collapsed. USC diversion manager Mike Bohn was Colorado’s AD erstwhile the Buffaloes jumped from the Big 12 to the Pac-10 successful 2011.

The determination to prosecute enlargement doesn’t necessitate support by the presidents and chancellors, but a three-quarters ballot of the CEO Group would beryllium indispensable for ceremonial invitations to beryllium extended to immoderate caller members.

Kliavkoff has not specified which schools are funny successful joining the Pac-12. But the database apt includes many, if not each of the universities successful the Big 12, which is reeling aft the departure of Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC.

However, aggregate manufacture sources contacted by the Hotline successful caller weeks judge the astir apt result for the league is to stay astatine 12.

“No schools truly adhd value,” said a root not affiliated with the Pac-12.

Each Pac-12 diversion section volition person astir $24 cardinal this twelvemonth from the regular-season broadcast agreements with ESPN and Fox, according to the word expanse of the Tier 1 declaration obtained by the Hotline.

That fig is expected to soar erstwhile the adjacent media rights deals are negotiated successful 18-24 months.

Any caller subordinate would person to bring capable media worth to summation the windfall for the existing schools and assistance the league constrictive the gross spread with the Big Ten and SEC.

Without Texas and Oklahoma propping them up, nary of the Big 12 universities are believed to transportation capable media rights worth to beryllium worthwhile to the Pac-12.

“All the conversations I’ve had are truly focused connected closing the gross gap,’’ Schulz told the Hotline recently. “That inactive drives a batch of the decision-making. You could prime schools that marque america a 16- oregon 18-team conference, but the adjacent question is, ‘OK, however does that adjacent the gross gap? …

“The 2nd happening I perceive a batch astir is organization fit. It’s not astir a peculiar state. It’s much astir akin styles institutionally. We person a large marque beingness connected the West Coast. If we adhd schools from antithetic geographic regions, does that acceptable well?”

While Kliavkoff and his enlargement advisors absorption connected the size of the conference, different radical is diving heavy into the operation of the shot product.

Merton Hanks, the Pac-12’s main of shot operations, is moving with each the diversion directors and caput coaches to crippled a strategy connected respective cardinal issues:

— Whether to driblet to 8 league games.

— If the part format should beryllium continued oregon eliminated.

— How to tweak the league docket to springiness teams the champion accidental for success.

“Merton’s complaint is to look astatine everything we determine astatine the league level to optimize for College Football Playoff invitations,” Kliavkoff said. “The timeline is to person a archetypal acceptable of moving recommendations by the extremity of the shot season.

“Once we person recommendations, past immoderate of them, I’m sure, we could bash instantly — erstwhile we enactment bye weeks successful for adjacent year, arsenic an example.

“But immoderate of them, similar whether we spell to 8 league games alternatively of nine, whitethorn instrumentality a small longer due to the fact that of obligations successful our existent media rights woody for however galore league games we play.”

The Pac-12 plays 54 league games; region 1 per squad and the full drops to 48. ESPN and Fox assuredly would balk astatine a script successful which those six openings were filled by non-conference matchups against creampuffs.

“Unless you travel up with a solution that’s much charismatic for TV for that ninth game,” Kliavkoff said, “you’re playing 9 league games.”

That exemplary could alteration erstwhile the Pac-12’s caller media rights declaration begins successful the autumn oregon 2024, and there’s an evident enactment that could intrigue imaginable media partners:

A scheduling concern with the Big Ten and ACC that creates a bid of high-profile matchups each season.

The 3 conferences are discussing a imaginable confederation successful the aftermath of the SEC voting to adhd Texas and Oklahoma. According to a study successful The Athletic, the confederation could beryllium formally announced successful the adjacent week.

However, aggregate manufacture sources person described the scheduling portion arsenic secondary to matters of argumentation and governance. And nary contented carries much immediacy for the tripartite confederation than a imaginable ballot to hold enlargement of the College Football Playoff until the adjacent declaration cycle.

If the 12-team format is implemented anterior to the 2026 season, past ESPN would person the enactment to go the sole rights-holder successful a non-competitive bidding process.

(ESPN’s hegemony implicit assemblage shot is simply a important issue, as we explained past month.)

But by delaying enlargement until the adjacent declaration cycle, the CFP could instrumentality each 11 games (over 4 rounds) to the unfastened marketplace and judge aggregate bids, thereby driving up the price.

In addition, a postseason format that features respective broadcast partners — for example: Fox and CBS and NBC — could spur each entity to prosecute a deeper involvement successful the sport, arsenic is the lawsuit successful the NFL.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 volition renegotiate their Tier 1 contracts successful the adjacent fewer years and would payment from a scenery successful which a slew of media companies are motivated to put successful regular-season broadcast packages.

The CFP is tally by the Board of Managers, a radical of 11 assemblage presidents and chancellors representing each league and Notre Dame.

According to Bill Hancock, the CFP’s enforcement director, enlargement would necessitate a unanimous vote.

“As with immoderate contract,” helium said, “amending the CFP statement would necessitate the consent of each parties.”

Which means 1 league could hold enlargement until 2026 — if it was consenting to hazard alienating the different 10.

But if, for example, 3 conferences voted arsenic a bloc, the concern becomes acold much palatable for everyone involved.

The CFP managers are expected to conscionable again successful precocious September and sermon the details and timing of expansion.

The result of that gathering volition assistance usher the Pac-12’s strategical decisions presently nether introspection by Hanks, the coaches and the diversion directors.

“By the extremity of the season, we’ll person a overmuch amended consciousness for what that (CFP) enlargement looks similar and what the timeline is,’’ Kliavkoff said.

“If you’re optimizing for CFP invitations, past knowing what it’s going to look similar a fewer years down the enactment is truly important.”


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