As of now, it’s mostly all gossip and speculation but we hear tell that there may be a big time (more like Big 12 time) expansion in our, uh, beloved athletic conference’s future.  And the not-so-big surprise is that its motivations would be primarily financial. We know, you’re shocked, right?

It looks like the Pac-10 is considering extending an exclusive invite to six schools from the Big 12 to join the cool kids’ table … and a potentially lucrative TV network that would show all PacBig 10+6 conference sports, all the time. Or something similar that’s apparently code for “Cha-ching!” read more »

With the men’s basketball season bearing down upon us, the Clog decided to take a peek at the upcoming home basketball schedule (Insert sound of prolonged head banging on desk).Whoever in the athletic department configured the ’07-’08 basketball schedule managed to place three marquee match-ups during winter break: UCLA, USC and Arizona. Fans who have been salivating over the chance to see the much ballyhooed freshmen phenoms—O.J. Mayo and Kevin Love—before they jump to the pros will have to make the drive up to the Haas Pavilion during the first week of the new year. Let’s not forget about Chase Budinger, who will most likely be saying “au revoir” to the Wildcats this semester.Students planning to stay home until Martin Luther King Jr. Day will miss eight of 19 home games, including four Pac-10 games. And of course, this just had to be the year in which most college basketball analysts think that the Pac-10 is the strongest conference in the land.As for the non-conference schedule, Cal will play host to Mississippi Missouri (Berkeley admissions apparently didn’t care much about geography) as part of the inaugural Big 12/Pacific 10 Challenge. The Clog would be much more excited for the game if Quin Snyder was still around (we still have dreams of seeing his famous mane in action).Berkeley will once again host the Golden Bear Classic, which will include Bucknell College. The Bison became famous in 2005 for upsetting Kansas in the Big Dance and garnered their first national ranking last year.Other than Missouri and Bucknell, the out-of-conference schedule is full of patsies to get the boys in shape for Pac-10 games. Last time around these warm-up games managed to get everyone except Oski banged up (more on that to come later).Image Source: Nate Tabak, Daily Cal2007-2008 Schedule [CalBears.com]

Interesting piece on Stewart Mandel’s blog over at SI.com.

Apparently, Pac-10 commissioner Thomas Hansen would rather pull out of the BCS rather than lose whatever is left of the sanctity of the Rose Bowl, if the BCS chooses to go with a “plus-one” model to decide the national champ.

bq. “Our presidents have no interest whatsoever in a plus-one model — none. It’s a little annoying that my colleagues continue to float this idea as though it has merit. If they continue to push it, and try to push us into a corner …” What? The Pac-10 would leave the BCS? “Yes,” he said. “No question.”

Mandel hits all the points right on his blog.

* Would the presidents and chancellors of some of the biggest, most storied programs in college football really go along with being left out of the national championship?

* The whole “keeping the Rose Bowl the Rose Bowl” is long gone. The “traditional” Big Ten/Pac-10 matchup has given way, in recent years, to Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska playing in it (all Big 12 schools) and Miami (a Big East team at the time, but now in the ACC).

* And of course, most of the fans and alumni of the various institutions will be pissed if their schools miss out on a chance at the national title.

Something Mandel doesn’t mention, the Pac-10 would probably lose a lot of money if it leaves the BCS. The BCS is (or can be) a money-making juggernaut. Why would the biggest conference on the west coast want to be left out of it? Just to keep a silly little bowl game?

This may all be a minute matter because we have to wait for the BCS contract with FOX to end and we have to wait for the Rose Bowl’s contract with ABC to finish before we can really start thinking about revamping the BCS … again.

Pac-10 Commish Not Dealing in Reality [SI.com]

First it was new Stanfurd head coach Jim Harbaugh making himself look like an ass, and now it’s Les Miles down at LSU.

We’ll preface this by saying that we never thought that we would have to come to the defense of USC, but when someone attacks the conference as a whole, then everyone has to get up in arms and defend the Pac-10.

What did Miles say? He pretty much said that the Trojans have an easier schedule and that they will benefit from it. He also said something to the effect that his Tigers will have a tougher time with tougher competition in the SEC.

bq. “I can tell you that I would like nothing better than to play USC for the title,” Miles said in a speech that radio station WWL made available on its Web site…

bq. “I can tell you this, that they have a much easier road to travel,” Miles said of the Trojans. “They’re going to play real knockdown drag-outs with UCLA and Washington, Cal-Berkley [sic], Stanford — some real juggernauts — and they’re going to end up, it would be my guess, in some position so if they win a game or two, that they’ll end up in the title (game). I would like that path for us.

bq. “I think the SEC provides much stiffer competition.”

And as our friends at The Band is Out On the Field said, Miles pretty much puts Cal in the same breadth as Stanfurd by sarcastically saying that the Bears (and UCLA, U-Dub and the Card) are juggernauts.

Yes, we know that the SEC is probably the best conference in the country. Yes, we know that Cal was smashed by Tennessee last year. But we wonder if Miles remembers the beatdown ‘SC gave to Arkansas last year.

We will always have this debate, and sadly the only Pac-10/SEC game on the docket next year happens to be when the Bears host Tennessee. We’re not going to say that Cal will be playing for the Pac-10 in that game in addition to trying to exorcise last season’s demons, but if the Bears lose, then the SEC will brag all the way until the Trojans beat Miles and LSU in that bowl game Miles wants so badly.

Image Source: Deng-Kai Chen, Daily Cal
LSU coach rates SEC best [ABC 2]
Les Miles = Total Douchebag [TBIOOTF]