Conference Realignment: A West Coast View

While nothing is official until announcements have been made and ink is dry on the paperwork, two individuals with official ties to Oklahoma State and a current Pac-12 Conference school said that it is going to happen, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma will soon be joining the Pac-12 making it at least the Pac-14.

There is plenty of talk that Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott does not want to sit at 14 conference members and that two other Big 12 schools will be joining the Oklahoma contingent.

It is known that the Pac-12 greatly values Texas and has designs on Texas and Texas Tech being that pair. However, the Longhorns stubbornness in wanting to keep it's third tier rights and partner with ESPN in the Longhorn Network is a sticking point for both Texas and Scott and the Pac-12. The other pair in lieu of Texas and Texas Tech appear to be Kansas and Missouri or Kansas and Kansas State.

One journalist with plenty of experience and contacts throughout the conferences and schools most heavily involved in the current state of realignment is George Schroeder of the Eugene (Ore.) Register Guard. Schroeder, who also writes for national publications, including Sports Illustrated, has covered Arkansas and the SEC, Oklahoma and the Big 12, and has been in Oregon covering the Ducks, the Pac-12, and national college football for the past four years.

Schroeder says his sources tell him the Pac-12, as reported, will take Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, with or without Texas.

"It's clear that Oklahoma and Oklahoma State that the Pac-12 is ready to invite them and that they have that indicated to them regardless of whether or not Texas or anybody else is willing to come along," said Schroeder. "I have heard that from people that are high up at the Pac-12 that will happen. I'm also hearing that they really want Texas and that they don't want to be at 14.

"Now as things continue to happen and as we wait for the SEC and Texas A&M (to be official), I think we are going to continue to hear wilder and wilder things," added Schroeder. "The KU and K-State thing would be mildly surprising to me. They would love to have Kansas, academically and basketball. It would not be a monetary thing with football, but it would give you a flagship basketball program on one side of the league and one on the other side of the league with UCLA. It just gets weirder and weirder as time goes on."

Schroeder said he isn't sure whether all of this realignment and the move toward super conferences is good or bad for college football and college athletics. It really kind of remains to be seen. He also isn't sure whether the rapid movement of it all is good or bad or if something is being missed in breakneck speed that schools and conferences are shifting.

He does see that Oklahoma State and Oklahoma will fit in some ways into the culture of the Pac-12 Conference and in some ways they may not, but their influence will be felt and be felt the day they join the league.

"I think it all sort of depends on if they take two schools and get to 14 or if they take four schools and get to 16," started Schroeder. "If you get to 16 and you have the East-West divisions then you are still with the same schools you have been playing all these years. You would have the original Pac-8 and then you would have Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, Colorado, and whatever these four Big 12 schools would be. At that point it is a nice fit because you really have two leagues within one. If you just have 14 then it is a cultural adjustment for everybody because the Pac-12 is a different league. Even the passion is different. Oregon can fit in anywhere.Their fan base is like that in the SEC or Big 12. Eugene is a liberal hotbed, but their passion for football is like the schools in the SEC and Big 12.

"The image of UCLA fans half filling the Rose Bowl and playing with beach balls like they are at Dodger Stadium is a little bit of a characterture, but it's not a bad characterture. It will be a culture shock in some ways for everybody."

Get ready for a little shock because it sure looks strong that the Cowboys are edging that way along with the Sooners. The major question is who or what two will join them?

GoPokes Top Stories