A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum.......only one person showed up. The Pac-10 and it's grandiose move to make itself into the world of collegiate athletics first superconference has been stopped dead in it's tracks by the very thing that almost got it everything it wanted. Money. The Big XII ( someone HAS to rename all of these conferences, this is getting ridiculous) has now been reduced to 10 with the departure of Nebraska and Colorado. Honestly I never saw Colorado's fit in the Big XII but hey, to each his own. At the 11th hour, people from all over the world of college athletics got together and managed to hand Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M enough cash to get them to stay, and also somehow doubled the other conference teams revenues overnight.
Why wasn't this done in the first place? Why did the league not sit down, make a pact to improve the TV deals and get everyone in a better place a long time ago? Well, that one is simple. No one was worried about better offers until now. The PAC-10 decided it wants to play in everybody's back yard, and they almost pulled it off. Whether you are for or against these "Mega-Conferences" you have to appreciate what the PAC-10 almost pulled off. Their anchor school, mired in a boatload of controversy and NCAA sanctions, needed someone to pull the conference weight for the next 2-4 years while they bail themselves out of purgatory. Helloooooooo, Texas. Mack Brown and Co. were just the shot in the arm that the PAC-10 needed. Prestige, the top money-making school in college athletics, tradition, and what else, 4-5 little piggies following along behind. WHAM! All of the PAC-10's problems are solved in an instant. They become the country's premier Football conference (admittedly some in the SEC would have still had words with me on that one), and manage to remove the single biggest competitor from the map West of the Mississippi, for TV rights and money. None can argue that the PAC-10/Big XII alliance would be the next step in the evolution of collegiate athletics. The dominoes would have fallen like never before.
So, what saved it all? Who stepped in and saved the world of college athletics from itself? Well, Andy Katz has his views on the subject, and I think the only name not being bandied about as being involved in this is the President ( I think that little problem down there in the gulf has his attention right now). Maybe everyone just took a deep breath and said it was time to survey the situation and let cooler heads prevail, and then again, maybe someone just said the magic words, "Show Me The Money"!
Either way, the PAC-10 has fired the first really big shot in this battle. There were skirmishes here and there, but no one had brought out the big guns yet. Those days are over. The next shot that gets fired, might actually sink something important.