Discover more from Bald Faced Truth by John Canzano
Canzano: Things and thoughts for your Saturday
Pirates playing chess... big hearts, a $20 million insurance policy and more.
Some facts, things and thoughts for your Saturday:
— The weekly mailbag moves to Sunday due to ‘Ralphie the Buffalo’ dragging its handlers to Texas and Florida. If you have a mailbag question, send it my way in the comment section or find me on Instagram or Twitter.
— The Pac-12 held a one-hour zoom call with presidents, chancellors and the nine remaining ADs on Thursday at 5 p.m..
What was the tone?
How did it go?
I asked one of the athletic directors on the call.
“Meeting was fine. I think we are pretty solid,” the person said. “Waiting to early next week. League needs to deliver something soon and good. Excellent communication between ADs. Seems we are strongly committed to wait and see the deals.”
The “early next week” part jumped out to me.
— Colorado’s departure to the Big 12 doesn’t help move things along quickly or make that wait easy. I asked the same AD source how the current economic climate in the media world is affecting the Pac-12’s negotiation. How much, if any, of the delay is on Commissioner George Kliavkoff? The slow-moving presidents/chancellors?
“Just taking far too long,” the source said. “But the climate is terrible. And peers from other conferences are trying to take the league. Along with (Fox) trying to own it all. Not healthy.”
— Fox has USC and UCLA as part of its Big Ten contract and also has the Mountain West Conference. The network doesn’t “own it all” but it has a foothold in the Pacific time zone. It isn’t motivated to help the Pac-12 get a good deal. In fact, you could argue that Fox benefits from the destabilization of the Pac-12 (see: USC, UCLA, Colorado).
I’ve been told, on and off during the last six months, that Fox was still at the table with the Pac-12. How aggressively? Not sure. I’ve wondered if the network wants anything more than a few FS1 Thursday/Friday games, if that.
Meanwhile, ESPN currently doesn’t have anything west of the Big 12 footprint when it comes to college football. It needs the 10:30 p.m. ET window filled and the Pac-12 offers that. Also, Apple remains a potential partner. I wonder if Apple would just take an equity stake in ESPN and gobble up the entire Pac-12 package in one giant linear/streaming bite.
I had a Pac-12 CEO Group source tell me two weeks ago “it will be worth the wait.” I don’t think the person was blowing smoke. But that ‘wait’ needs to end soon. How’s next week for everyone? Work for you?
— I’ve been thinking a lot about the health of the ecosystem and the role that television plays in it. College football essentially shut out the entire Pacific Time Zone with the four-team playoff. The playoff expansion to 12 teams elicited cheers from a lot of college fans, but most notably those in the Pacific Time zone.
Last October in a podcast conversation with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, I asked about whether the major conferences care about the health of the landscape.
Sankey said: “If the College Football Playoff stayed at four, we’d be fine given what’s happened since it was implemented. That is not the perspective offered by everyone else over time. One of the motivating factors from our perspective is the need for football to be relevant on a national basis.
“That’s important for us all.”
— Is the regional health of college football important to media companies? You’d think so. They do lucrative business in the space. But the companies also have shareholders, profits to worry about and a fiduciary duty to generate a pile of revenue.
I know lots of good, smart, conscientious people who work in the media-rights world, but it doesn’t feel like a holistic game right now. It looks more like pirates playing a game of chess.
— Shout out to Portland State’s football team. Coach Bruce Barnum’s players volunteered at Camp Exceptional, a summer camp for special-needs and typical children held last week.
It was the 10th year of the sports camp. I may write more about the camp in the coming days but it was a joy to see players show up every day at 8 a.m. and pour their energy into kids who will never forget it.
— The men’s basketball teams at both Portland State and University of Portland showed up, too, during the “basketball” day of the camp. Those two programs had some interesting friction between them last season. The head coaches didn’t shake hands at the end of one of their meetings. It was nice to see the beef set aside and watch the city’s two Division I men’s basketball programs co-exist for a good cause.
“I’m feeling great,” Rising said. “Everything is where it needs to be right now.”
Rising is ‘Mr. December’ in the Pac-12. He’s engineered victories in back-to-back conference championship games for the Utes. At media day I watched the quarterback closely as he moved around, lightly playing pickleball on a court that was set up off to the side.
“You — and everyone else were watching,” Rising told me.
He looked surprisingly mobile and fluid.
Whittingham told me that his quarterback will be able to start fall camp in a limited capacity. Rising won’t be hit. Utah will monitor how Rising’s knee looks and feels before making a determination on whether he’ll start the opener at home vs. Florida on Aug. 31.
Would Utah start Rising if he’s at 90 percent?
How 95 percent?
“Absolutely not. No way,” Whittingham said. “There’s not a chance we’d put him in there if he’s not ready.”
— Dan Lanning has a contract extension that gives him unusual security at Oregon. It also creates some in return for the Ducks.
Lanning is 10-3 as a head coach.
Oregon bumped Lanning’s salary next season from $4.7 million to $7 million. His contract now runs through 2028. The buyout should Lanning leave for another job before the end of the deal is a whopping $20 million.
Should he tip Mario Cristobal?
I appreciate all who support, subscribe and share this independent writing endeavor. Please consider a paid subscription or gift a subscription to a family member or friend here: