California's rout of Colorado won't help Buffaloes' chances of joining Pac-10 in 2011
Colorado, which will join the Pac-10 for either the 2011 or 2012 season, was thrashed 52-7 last week at California. Financial considerations mean it's more likely to be 2012.
Seattle Times colleges reporter
With each California touchdown last week in Berkeley, each cannon shot celebrating the Bears up on Tightwad Hill, Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott's sinking feeling must have grown more pronounced.
First, there was the obvious misgiving as Cal thrashed Colorado, 52-7: "This is the Colorado football program we're getting in a year or two?"
And then there was this irony, which couldn't have escaped Scott in the cascade of Cal points: The game perhaps served to muck up further the timing of Colorado's entry into the Pac-10.
Utah is set for 2011. If Colorado could settle its exit-penalty fee with the Big 12, reported to be about $9 million, it would match Utah's timing. If not, it comes west in 2012.
"Buff" does not describe Colorado's bank account. Meanwhile, games like the one in Berkeley make it likely the school will have to fire coach Dan Hawkins (now 17-34 in four seasons), a dismissal that would cost about $2 million and deepen Colorado's financial plight.
If Colorado could free itself from the Big 12 by next season, the Pac-10 could stage its first championship football game. That means a head start on branding a new event and an earlier buzz about it. But Scott told reporters at the game he sees a "less than 50-50" chance of Colorado's addition in 2011.
With a decision due by October, why couldn't the Pac-10 membership divvy up Colorado's exit penalty, knowing that the only way to realize the cash from a title game in 2011 is to have the Buffs in the fold (it takes six-team divisions to make that happen, per NCAA rule)?
The SEC returned $14.5 million to its 12 members, after expenses, from its 2009 title game. Even if the Pac-10 kicked back $10 million for a lesser-entrenched property in 2011, that would figure to be more than each school's share of "subsidizing" Colorado.
No doubt that will also be an issue at Wednesday's meeting of athletic directors in San Francisco, at which the items of division alignment and revenue-sharing will dominate.
Saturday brings an intriguing agenda of Pac-10 intersectional games, mostly against Midwestern powers. It includes Nebraska at Washington, Arizona State at Wisconsin and Iowa at Arizona.
Outside that realm, there's Cal at Nevada on Friday night, Houston (possibly without quarterback Case Keenum) at UCLA, Wake Forest at Stanford, Louisville at Oregon State, WSU at Southern Methodist and USC at Minnesota. In other words, it's the kind of day that will shape perceptions of the league.
Iowa-Arizona is the only matchup of ranked teams nationwide Saturday. 'Zona coach Mike Stoops is an Iowa alum, but he's a lot less concerned about that than conjuring ways to neutralize the Hawkeyes' preseason All-American end Adrian Clayborn.
Stoops said the Iowa defense is similar to Nebraska's (the Huskers ran roughshod over Arizona, 33-0, last year in the Holiday Bowl) in that "they can stop the run with one less guy. That enables their guys to get out in space and take away quick, easy throws."
He means the ones Arizona quarterback Nick Foles loves. He's 49 of 59 so far (83.1 percent).
Arizona State is a big underdog at Wisconsin, owing partly to the fact Wisconsin defines the word "physical."
"You don't see people in our league quite like that, other than probably Stanford," says ASU coach Dennis Erickson.
Among those challenged in Madison will be ASU junior defensive tackle Bo Moos, son of WSU athletic director Bill Moos.
Tuesday, in response to a Madison writer's question, Erickson touched on what might have been back in 1987, when he was coach at Wyoming. He was interviewed for the vacant Wisconsin job, didn't get it — the Badgers hired Don Morton, who went 6-27 in three years — and Erickson was hired by Washington State.
Said Erickson, "I certainly was very interested."
And what's more ...
• Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, on ex-Washington assistant Randy Hart: "Nobody has more energy on this staff than Randy Hart. I love going out to practice and watching him coach for all two hours, 15 minutes. He's never standing around, looking at his script; he's looking at his players, coaching them. We could have an hour conversation right now about him."
• California solved the problem of how to deal with Colorado's highly regarded 6-foot-8 giant left tackle Nate Solder: It rushed 5-11, 213-pound LB Jarred Price, who had two sacks and a forced fumble. Said Coach Jeff Tedford: "He gave him fits, just because of how quick he is."
• USC coach Lane Kiffin returns to Minneapolis, where he got his high school diploma. Says the well-traveled Kiffin: "I always said Minnesota was my favorite place, because of the people. It's like one big family."
• UCLA S Rahim Moore, to The LA Daily News, after playing Stanford QB Andrew Luck: "He's probably the best quarterback in the Pac-10, probably in the country."
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or email@example.com
About Bud Withers
Bud Withers gives his take on college sports, with the latest from the Huskies, Cougs, and the rest of the Pac-10.
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