Upon welcoming the University of Colorado into the league sometimes known as "The Conference of Champions," commissioner Larry Scott on Thursday called the occasion "the dawning of a new day for the Pac-10."
Scott wasn’t exaggerating. The day was new for the Pacific-10. It was so new that by the time lunch rolled around, the idea of the “Pac-10” sounded as outdated as the Nehru jacket.
Colorado has no ties to the Pacific. Unlike Arizona, it does not border a state that borders the Pacific. Furthermore, when a 10-school athletic conference increases its membership by one, it cedes its right to be affiliated with the number 10.
I know, the Big Ten chose to keep its name after Penn State joined. And now that the expansion into Nebraska appears imminent, the Big Ten ought to be called the Big 12. Except there is another Big 12 – for the next few minutes, anyway – and this Year of the Mutating Conferences is chaotic enough without two Big 12s. In any case, just because the Big Ten still labels itself as the Big Ten is no excuse for Larry Scott to be stubborn about this.
The moment Colorado joined the Pac-10, the Pac-10 became history. Besides, the Buffaloes could be followed into the conference by fatter dominoes: Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M, unless the latter two are assimilated into the Southeastern Conference, or even the Big Ten.
Scott was reluctant on Thursday to address rumors of a super-sized Pac-10 split into two eight-team divisions, with the Pacific-region schools on one side and six Big 12 escapees (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Colorado), plus Arizona and Arizona State, on the other side.
“No invitations have been issued,” the commissioner told reporters during a conference call. “There are still several different scenarios that we may or may not pursue. What direction it goes in from this point, I can’t say because I don’t know.”
Translation: He’ll let you know when Texas lets him know.
On his ideas about changing the name of a conference that’s obviously moving inland from the Pacific and upward from 10, Scott was no more revealing.
“From my perspective, the name of the conference, the brand name – what it stands for – ought to reflect the membership. Until our deliberations are concluded … we won’t go about the process of thinking about the logo or the name.”
Translation: Anything and everything is on the table.
I think I can help, Mr. Commissioner. If you want the name of the conference to reflect membership – presuming membership ultimately entails six schools from the Big 12 – then some combination of “Big” and “Pacific” might be in order.
Hmmn. The Big Pacific? Not bad, but it’s likely Big Pacific would be abbreviated to “BP” in newspaper headlines. Nope. Can’t stomach any more of those.
What about the Mountain Pacific? Two of the conference’s three time zones would be represented, which reminds me: Five schools in this 16-team league would be on Central Time. Yikes.
Southern Pacific? Maybe, although it’s probably bad karma to rename conferences after defunct railroad companies.
On the other hand, South Pacific has an enchanted-evening ring to it.
Here’s a second-hand name that can be dismissed: The Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives. That’s what the Big Ten originally was called. (Don’t get too haughty, Pac-10 fans. Before your conference was renamed the Pacific Coast Conference, it was known as the Athletic Association of Western Universities.)
If the Pac-10 commissioner had the same insufferable ego of his Big Ten colleague, Jim Delany, I could see him pushing for The Great Scott Conference.
Speaking of egos: It can’t hurt to make Texas feel at home, but I guess the Texas League already has been trademarked. Could you live with the Longhorn Conference? Doesn’t matter – Oklahoma couldn’t.
Wait, I’ve got it: The Conference of Champions. Respect is paid to the tradition of the Pac-10, and if Conference of Champions sounds a little wordy, it’s lots more economical than, for instance, the Athletic Association of Western Universities.
Besides, the Conference of Champions could be whittled down to the Champs Conference. It’s different, appropriately pompous and, best of all, because the name doesn’t include a specific number, the league could be expanded after it’s expanded.
As for the logo, Larry Scott, like the conference he administers, can go in any direction. But he might want to start doodling something with a lone star.