PAC-KING IT UP:
With the introduction of Transfer Portal and NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) deals for student athletes, NCAA football has changed significantly in the last few years. But the recent restructuring of conferences has almost made it unrecognizable with the PAC-12 on life support after eight teams announced they will leave the conference following the 2023 season.
Colorado started the exodus a month ago by announcing they were returning to the Big 12 in 2024. Shortly thereafter, UCLA and USC announced they were leaving for the Big 10 next year and now the news last week that Arizona, Arizona State and Utah will depart for the Big 12 while Washington and Oregon will also join the Big 10 in 2024. All of the moves were predicated on television contracts.
The eight departing schools left for conferences where the TV deals are much more appealing than the PAC-12’s proposed five-year streaming deal with Apple TV which would have had a floor of $276 million with a ceiling as high as $600 million based on subscription levels. Last year, the Big 10 agreed to a seven-year $7 billion dollar TV deal with FOX, CBS and NBC. Last October, the Big 12 signed a six-year, $2.3 billion dollar deal with ESPN and FOX.
Now Cal, Stanford, Oregon State and Washington State are left trying to figure out how to keep the 108-year-old conference afloat. Some possibilities include a slew of Mountain West schools joining the PAC-12 to keep the conference alive. All of those schools are small-markets however and wouldn’t bring in the necessary TV dollars to keep the PAC-12 a major player.
The other possibility is some of the remaining PAC-12 schools joining the Mountain West or playing as independents. Either way, the days of the PAC-12 being a ‘Power Five’ Conference are over. As for the Rose Bowl, it will continue without the traditional PAC-12/Big 10 showdown, as “The Granddaddy of Them All” will now be part of the 12-team college football playoff that starts in 2024.
From a personal standpoint, it’s sad to see what’s happened to the PAC-12 with so many historic rivalries going by the wayside. The long and storied tradition of the conference has become another victim of college sports becoming big business.
INTENSITY AN ISSUE:
A few months ago, we wrote a story on why Eric Bieniemey could never seem to land a head coaching job in the NFL despite tremendous success as an offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs. Bieniemy left the Chiefs after five years this past off-season to become the OC with the Washington Commanders under head coach Ron Rivera.
Most NFL observers concurred that race was a possible issue when it came to Bieniemy not landing a head coaching job but a little nugget out of Washington’s training camp might shed some more light on why he remains an OC. Rivera told the media that some of his players were a ‘little concerned’ with Bieniemy’s intensity in training camp but he also touched on Bieniemy’s coaching style in comparison to his defensive coordinator in Jack Del Rio.
“It’s not going to change because he (Bieniemy) believes in it. Jack has his approach. Having been a head coach, I think Jack has a tendency to try to figure guys out a little bit more as opposed to, ‘Hey, this is it, this is the way it’s going to be.’ That type of stuff. Eric hasn’t had that experience yet.” One of the biggest points in a coach’s maturation is when he or she learns that it’s not your way or the highway approach. Over time, you learn that you can motivate and lead players indifferent ways. Rivera’s comments indicate the Bieniemy’s approach is rigid and that he’s not become flexible enough in his coaching style.
HITTING THE MUTE BUTTON:
The Baltimore Orioles suspension of their TV play-by-play voice has raised a few eyebrows. Kevin Brown was removed from MASN television broadcasts after pointing out the Orioles lack of success in the last three years in Tampa Bay versus the Rays. Apparently, Orioles management wasn’t too thrilled about the comments and took Brown off the broadcasts.
I watched the clip which got Brown into trouble and it is absolutely ridiculous that he was suspended for what he said. Brown explained how the Orioles were 0-15-1 in their last 16 series in Tampa which was supported by a graphic and that they had won as many games this year in Tampa as during the three-year stretch.
Brown’s suspension created a social media firestorm with many of his colleagues throwing their support behind him with the likes of Dan Shulman, Chris Russo and Michael Kay voicing their displeasure. Kay, the TV voice of the Yankees, said it the best when he mentioned that the suspension makes the Orioles look so small and insignificant and minor-league.
WANNA MAKE A DEAL?
When it comes to trade deadlines, Major League Baseball is king. The NHL trade deadline can have some juice to it but as we saw this year, it was a complete dud while the NFL deadline could cure insomnia. Meanwhile in MLB, you had 32 trades in the last two days leading up to the August 1st deadline with big stars such as Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Lucas Giolito and Paul Sewald all on the move. There’s always a lot of hype leading up to trade deadlines but only MLB can live up to the hype on a year-in, year-out basis.
Veteran B.C. sports personality Bob “the Moj” Marjanovich writes twice weekly for Black Press Media. And check out his weekly podcast every Monday at Today in B.C. or your local Black Press Media website.