Canzano: Mailbag deals with Pac-12's future, Oregon-Washington decision... and hotdogs
Your questions, my answers...
My oldest daughter got a part-time job for the summer. She’s working in a small restaurant as a server. She makes $16 an hour — plus tips. We made plans to pop in on Sunday afternoon to sit in her section for the first time.
On the car ride there my wife turned to her two younger sisters in the back seat and said, “There will be no rolling around on the restaurant floor, OK?”
I don’t know if you have kids, but there’s something fascinating about observing them in the wild. My oldest was on the job, seating customers, taking orders, delivering food, and clearing tables when we walked in. She was the only server on duty and did a really nice job on our table. My highlight was simply watching my kid walk around the place with confidence and purpose.
I’m having a lot of fun with this new writing endeavor. I write what I want, when I want and tell the stories I think need to be told. I appreciate everyone who has supported by reading, subscribing and giving a gift subscription. Also, a big ‘thank you’ to those who have helped others find my new column home — JohnCanzano.com.
Thank you, all.
Onto the mailbag…
Q: Would you rather see the Pac-12 continue without the Los Angeles schools but with limited access to the playoff or watch Washington-Oregon-Stanford join the Big Ten? — @KMasterman
A: I’d rather invent a time machine and convince the Pac-12 presidents not to hire commissioner Larry Scott. He set the conference on this path. My four-part series on Scott in 2019 laid that out. Neither of the options you presented are great ones and I can’t stop thinking about the role Scott played in leading the Pac-12 to this moment.
Q: Should we be eating hot dogs or hamburgers at our 4th of July party? — @The_GMan23
A: Hmmm… I like both. But there are a limited number of places (baseball game, Costco trip, a 4th of July BBQ) where I feel great about eating a hot dog. My vote: hot dog.
Q: What should be reasonably expected with Tuesday’s Big 12 meeting to discuss taking four Pac-12 schools? Is it a formality that Arizona, ASU, Utah and Colorado will be joining the Big 12? — @ConSports
A: I don’t blame those four Pac-12 schools for exploring a contingency plan. I also don’t blame the Big 12 for discussing expansion. But nothing is imminent. In fact, the Pac-12 already is also exploring expansion and will likely try to poach a few Big 12 universities. Only one of those two conferences will survive this.
Q: What happens if the four Pac-12 schools in the South join the Big 12 and the Big Ten invite doesn’t come for the Ducks or Huskies? — @Lanigan2020
A: I don’t see Oregon and Washington ending up on the outside, looking in. They’re the glue holding the Pac-12 together. If UO and UW leave, the Pac-12 splinters. If they stay, I think there’s a solid chance the rest of the Pac-12 merges with the Big 12 in an ESPN-fueled effort.
Q: Does Arizona State have any shot as a fifth Pac-12 team to Big Ten? Pluses: huge media market, plays D-1 hockey, great baseball weather in Feb/March, and oh, has never lost to a Big Ten team in football at home (10-0). — @PhilipTortora
A: That top-12 Phoenix media market is the biggest selling point. However, the snooty Big Ten presidents like to tout that their conference is comprised of Association of American Universities members (except Nebraska, which lost it after being admitted). ASU doesn’t have AAU status and that keeps the Big Ten from considering it. Notre Dame doesn’t have the AAU stamp of approval either, incidentally, but there’s wide speculation that the Irish would be an exception.
Q: Will the SEC take Clemson, Florida State, and possibly Miami before Notre Dame makes a decision and will that ultimately force Notre Dame‘s hand? — @JustinBracy2
A: The ACC members have a contract that prohibits them from leaving the conference before 2036. There are some whispers about the members challenging it in court, but I suspect that would drag out, too. Notre Dame has to act much sooner. The Irish should shop itself to the highest bidder ASAP. It can’t afford to wait. I suspect that will be the Big Ten — as it makes geographical sense — but we’ve seen some wild things in the last week.
Q: This has been a terrible week! Is there any hope for the Beavs and Cougs? — @BartSkee33
A: If the Pac-12 sticks together, Oregon State and Washington State should be fine. But I can tell you there’s a lot of angst right now in Corvallis and Pullman. Worst-case scenario, WSU and OSU end up in a glorified version of the Mountain West Conference. Best-case, those two stick close to Oregon and Washington and end up in a blended Pac-12/Big 12 offering.
Q: How will Cal ever pay off its stadium debt now? Getting into the Big Ten is a fantasy, so we'll be left with mid-major TV deal money. There's no way out of a $100M(?) debt with that. Do you think it's a possibility that Cal shuts down its football program within a few years? — @RuminatingOrion
A: There’s a lot of ball to play before we get to a “shut down” situation. Cal is paired with Stanford and sits in the Bay Area television market. Because of that former Fox Sports Network president Bob Thompson told me he believes Cal/Stanford are worth $90 million total in annual television revenue. That is a huge advantage.
Q: Simply, what is your best guess where the Ducks end up? And I understand it’s an informed guess, none of us really knows. — @DonLoving18
A: I was told this week by one long-time UO administrator: “It’s not what Phil Knight had in mind 20 years ago — to end up in the minor leagues.” Oregon will be OK because of this. The Ducks will either tailgate USC and UCLA into the Big Ten or become one of the major tentpoles in a Pac-12/Big 12 blend. Either way, I think they’ll matter.
Q: Should be interesting the Big 10 and LA schools dealing with Time Zone Changes every week. Thoughts? — @mychaelcaruso
A: I’m told by sources at USC and UCLA that they were given some assurances from the Big Ten about travel. I think travel and scheduling is going to place a major strain on the non-revenue generating sports at USC and UCLA. Nobody at those places seems to care because of the money involved, but I wonder how much bellyaching we’ll hear over the years. It’s why I think the Big Ten is weighing the addition of a handful of Pacific Time zone additions (Oregon, Washington, Stanford, Cal, etc.) that don’t quite pencil out in the media revenue world.
Q: Who is more attractive to the Big Ten, Stanford or Oregon? — @williamswes
A: The ex-Fox Sports Network president, Bob Thompson, placed Oregon’s media-rights value at $30 million and Stanford’s at $45 million when I pressed him. That may be all that would normally matter to the Big Ten. However, I think Oregon’s national brand and Phil Knight’s clout give the Ducks the edge. If the Big Ten takes Oregon, I would expect there to be some sort of subsidy or waiting period (See: Maryland) before the Ducks are allowed to take a full conference media share.
Q: Larry Scott... Inept or corrupt? — @DeafDux
A: Larry isn’t dumb. He is a terrific negotiator who sees the angles just fine. He negotiated extremely well — for himself, for example. I think he is selfish, arrogant and insecure. He was loathed by the underlings at the Pac-12 office. He is a Harvard-educated tennis player who knows nothing about football, and as a result, made lots of bad football decisions. I suspect Scott was more concerned with trying to angle for his own contract extensions than the well-being of the conference. Tough to win big when the guy in charge is worried mostly about the guy in charge.
Q: Is the post office a site under consideration for a baseball stadium? Is Portland Diamond Project still happening? — @jabraisen
A: I’m told by sources that the Portland Diamond Project turned its stadium focus to the Portland suburbs. They’re a little stalled right now because MLB is crawling toward expansion, the A’s stadium situation is dragging out, and leadership in Las Vegas is far more ambitious in trying to attract a team. I’m holding out hope, but I feel like we are entering a critical 12 months for the effort. It needs some momentum.
Q: True or false: the Blazers can offer one of the three best packages of any team in the NBA (young guys and picks) to the Nets for Kevin Durant. — @GetSit
A: Kevin Durant would be a fun experiment. But I don’t see him landing in Portland. On the bright side, getting Durant is not the biggest development Blazers’ fans should be wishing for this summer. I’d like to see Phil Knight buy the team. We all know it’s for sale (even though the team says it’s not). The Paul G. Allen Trust explicitly directs that the franchise be sold and the proceeds be used for his passion projects. Time to get the franchise in the hands of someone who would love it, nurture it and make it a winner.
Happy Fourth… enjoy the hot dogs…
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John: For a whole year you have been telling us the great things about Commissioner George. You are blaming Larry Scott for a lot of things..Probably well deserved. But, Commissioner George was the one in charge when the Pac 12 and ACC vetoed the 12 team NCAA football playoff. I believe for
more money. Now it has come back to bite him in the backside. Maybe his decision will be the demise of the Pac 12. USC and UCLA are having the last laugh.
As an OSU grad one minute I very pissed and another very sad. Realistically I think the Beavs and Cougs are going to be the odd men out in all of this when the dust settles. I think of what will happen to baseball, softball, women’s basketball, and gymnastics…all sports that perform/rank well nationally but will suffer not being in a Power 5 conference. Will an Olympic athlete like Jade Carey stick with OSU or transfer out. Does Scott Rueck move to another school when he can’t recruit 4 & 5 star athletes. The pissed off me says that despite the financial payday, all the left out schools should refuse to schedule Big10/SEC schools in football so they can’t pad wins. Make them play all 12 games in conference and have them cannibalize their records. Would a perpetual 6-6 record work for UCLA even with the financial payout? Very disgusted at this mess.