Driving down to the Coliseum for the first-ever Pacific 12 Conference game between USC and Utah on Saturday, I broke out my iPhone to check scores of games in progress, jumped on Twitter to get running commentary, news and injury updates and a delightful touch of snark, even used the new Watch ESPN app to listen to Matt Millen mangle the English language while calling the South Carolina-Georgia game.
But when Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott met with the media before the game, it was spent discussing not the culmination of his vision to expand the conference or the upcoming system of regional and national cable networks but the prospect of adding schools like Oklahoma from the disintegrating Big 12.
Trying to read between the lines was pretty difficult, until I found an obscure app that converts commissioner-speak into actual English. Without further ado, here are perfect translations of what Scott said and what the former Harvard tennis player actually meant.
What Larry said: "I'd prefer to be less popular. On this topic, we're trying to stay out of the story frankly. Our position hasn't changed. We haven't been looking for or aspiring to expand. We have no plans to expand."
What Larry meant: Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are calling me more often than a drunk-dialing ex-girlfriend. I need to play this cool.
What Larry said: "Our position is clear: we're not looking to initiate anything. But if schools are going to leave the Big 12 and there is going to be a paradigm shift or a landscape change, as people like to describe it, we will then step back, look at our options and reconsider."
What Larry meant: The Big 12 is the Titanic. The Pac-12 is the last available lifeboat, so we'll do what we want when we want.
What Larry said: "No one would support it (expansion) if we meant we had to go backward (financially)."
What Larry meant: I'm not stupid. Did you see how much ESPN paid the NFL for that terrible Monday Night Football package that doesn't include a single playoff game? Heck, the first USC-Oklahoma game alone is worth a healthy increase over the $3 billion, 12-year contract we signed with Fox and ESPN as a 12-team league.
What Larry said: "I felt we needed to expand to maximize our opportunity when we negotiated our TV rights. We overachieved against any goals that we had."
What Larry meant: A drunken rhesus monkey clearly negotiated the last Pac-10 television contract.
What Larry said: "It's not specified exactly what happens (to our television contracts if there is further expansion). It's subject to conversations, but it's clear they reopen."
What Larry meant: Break out the checkbooks. Again.
What Larry said: "I'm trying to be much more clear. Obviously it's a highly charged situation and people are hanging on every word. I have tried to be more precise recently."
What Larry meant: I don't want that whack job Ken Starr suing me. Did you see how much time and money he wasted investigating Bill Clinton? And Clinton wasn't about to relegate Baylor to Conference USA.
What Larry said: "I did speak with (Big 12 commissioner) Dan (Beebe) yesterday. We had a nice chat."
What Larry meant: If this idiot knew what he was doing and was not kowtowing to Texas every five minutes, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State would not be calling every five minutes.
What Larry said: "I know there will be a Pac-12 next year."
What Larry meant: I know there will be a Pac-16 next year.
What Larry said: "The ink is still trying on our new logos and field paint. It's our hope that the world stays the way it is and we get to enjoy what we've created. I don't think anyone in this day and age with how dynamic the situation is would stick their neck out and saying nothing is going to be different."
What Larry meant: Can I interest you in a bunch of merchandise with a 12 on it at deeply discounted prices?