Commish Scott: Please drop the digits

It's such a good idea, I wish I would have come up with it myself. Alas, I can't take credit for it, but I can do something; I can make sure Larry Scott knows about it. So I'm sending him this online missive in the hopes that the idea will take root and spread like a papered e-fungus all over his credenza.

Larry Scott
Pac-10 Commissioner
Walnut Creek, Calif.

Dear Commissioner Scott (or can I call you Commish?),

First of all, congratulations! All the hoopla surrounding the 'coming out' of the new and (hopefully) improved Pac-10 this week deserves nothing short of a giant round of applause. Not to throw a ton of criticism on your predecessor, Mr. Hansen, but he needed to go. Apparently he was too busy trying to pass off the notion that El Paso in December was somehow a good idea to realize that his best days were long behind him.

I saw that quote where you said that historically the Pac-10 has been about management and governance. Man, were you being kind! From the perspective of competing for the almighty buck in the marketplace of college football, conferences like the SEC, Big-10 and Big-12 were front and center, while the Pac-10 was over in the corner trying to pawn off some 10-year old star maps as the genuine item.

But I digress. While Hansen was clearly too busy trying to keep his job instead of doing his job, you literally hit the ground running since your appointment, going around and invigorating the base of the conference, stirring up the passions of those in a position to remake and jump-start 'The Conference of Champions' so it can compete and thrive in the 21st century. For that you are to be commended. As proof of your animal diligence, you went out and stirred up a hornet's nest with the Big-12 (which was awesome, by the way), and added two new properties to the Pac-10. You've also rebranded the conference with a sharp new logo and an overhaul of the league's website that was long overdue.

In short, you've been a busy guy. So this is where I come in, to try and lighten your load just a little bit. Not much, as I'm not nearly as smart as you are, but maybe this idea might allow you to focus on the big ticket retail, to the things that matter.

So here it is. Are you ready Mr. Commish?

Drop the 10. Or in 2011, drop the 12. Or whenever you expand to 16, as you've already hinted at many times - just drop those too. Do away with the digits. They've become superfluous. They have no meaning anymore. Heck, the Big-10 doesn't have 10 schools anymore, and the Big-12 doesn't have 12 - so what's the point?

For that matter, all the conferences up and down the east coast have had it right for some time now, and since Tuesday was the day you signaled to that side of the country that the new and improved Pac-10 is open for business, let's show them you really mean it. I mean, how can you reveal a website redesign and a beautiful new logo the same day you announce that the Pac-10 is going to be the Pac-12?

If that isn't a textbook example of sending a mixed message to the very audience you're trying to cater to, I don't know what is. But if it was simply the PAC - problem solved. Just like the Big East, Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference, the PAC could join the ranks of the conferences who knew better than to attach a meaningless number to their robust brand.

You're still in New York, right? You have time to make good on this idea! Face it, Commish - simply using the PAC as your conference name has so many marketing possibilities I'm surprised no one in your office thought of it. And as sad as I am to say it, I didn't come up with it either. Slewdog did. Or rather, the person that uses 'Slewdog' as their handle on our message boards. Either way, when I saw the suggestion, I knew it was a winner. It's brilliant!

I'm sure you saw the slight alteration we did to the new logo: Apologies are in order. It's a hack job, to be sure - but it was just to give people a little idea as to what it might look like without the burden of having numbers attached. As Andy Staples of so eloquently put it in his piece recently about the new Pac-10 brand, the hopes are that the wave rolling into the mountain on the new crest will evoke images of the west coast and championships. Amen to that.

That's the beauty of this idea; without the numbers, you are now free to make that wave and the mountain as big as you want. Turn it into the Bonzai Pipeline meets Mt. Rainier if you want. Maybe add a tree in the middle if there's room - although that might piss off California fans. OK, scratch that. Regardless, without the burden of those integers staring you in the face, you're free to explore a whole new range of possibilities. Heck, the reality is, you've already stated they aren't right. The PAC isn't 10 teams anymore, at least starting in 2011. Let's get a jump on things.

So the next step is - what do you want the PAC to stand for? It could simply be short for the 'PACific' conference, or you could make an acronym of it - like the Pacific Athletic Conference. I bet Utah would get a kick out of that, being a founding member of the WAC and all. It could be a solid housewarming gift - like a nice set of candles or maybe a gift card to their local Starbucks. Again, I'm just spitballing here.

Either way, I'm sure you can come up with something in that space that is a lot snappier and original. Point is, without the burden of having to quantify your conference, it's all PAC, all the time. It's clean, it's sharp, it's new, and it gets to show off more of what the West has to offer.

Think of the savings just in stationary and interoffice memos alone! For cryin' out loud - you wouldn't be caught dead using that old Pac-10 stuff when Utah and Colorado show up at your door, would you? Granted, I know you'd be leaving some merchandising money on the table by not cashing in on those completists who want every Pac-10, Pac-12, Pac-14 and Pac-16 piece of memorabilia they can get their hands on - but in the long run I think it's a price worth paying - especially when it frees up time for you to work on the rest of that site redesign (and it does need work, if you don't mind me saying. The basketball section alone…ouch!).

Say it with me Commish…it's not the leader of the PAC - the leader IS the PAC! Isn't that what the 'Conference of Champions' has been dying to say for so long now? Long live the PAC! Down with the digits! Those numbers are as old as Frank Kush's temper, and ill-suited to your new and flashy ways. I know you poked a little fun on Tuesday when you said you wanted to make sure it was the Pac-12 to show people that we know how to count.

Forget about that. We know where the real counting is done - the negotiating table, cash registers, ATM's and e-Commerce - like Paypal. The Big-10 is raking in the coin. Are they worried about the fact that they have more than 10 schools in their conference? Heck no! How's this for a number - One. That's the number of networks they own. And I know you want a network too, Commish. How else are you going to have time to watch tennis?

So let's cut right to it: All of this rebranding and reaching out to those damn east coast bias people is just the first step in trying to pry open those big, fat wallets that Hansen could never touch, even when USC was competing for national championships. This is about a lot more than just exposure. This is about the Benjamins, baby. So since you've already decided the Pac-10 is through as we know it, cut the head off completely! Kill it dead.

Because I think you know we're onto something here. It's not just idle blog chatter, or blatter. You know an idea like 'The PAC' can work, and showcasing it as your marketing centerpiece can be the first step in cementing your legacy as the commissioner that brought this conference out of the Dark Ages and into the digital marketplace with a bullet.

But don't thank me, Commish. Thank Slewdog. And if it doesn't work, it was his fault.

Sincerely yours (and seriously, believe it or not),

-C. Top Stories