Since the Pac-10 first asked, "What about expansion?" upon hiring Larry Scott as commissioner, Colorado was on the table as a potential partner.
All the hubbub about Baylor boosters trying to muscle Colorado aside? It was never an issue with the Pac-10, which has been eyeballing Colorado for months.
The Buffaloes are a good fit, culturally and academically. Heck, even temperamentally.
For Scott, they will be an even better fit when they are joined by their five friends from the crumbling Big 12: Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. That would set up a "super-conference" that could create a revenue-churning network paying out each team $20 million -- or more -- annually.
But even if there's an 11th-hour change -- Texas A&M to the SEC! Notre Dame to the Big Ten! -- know that Scott has considered out all the variables. He's convinced that Colorado, alone, adds value to the Pac-10.
"We have been through a pretty exhaustive and deliberate process and it was clear to us that in any scenario we were going to consider for expansion that Colorado was a great fit," Scott said.
Denver a pro sports town? Scott scoffed at that reasoning, noting -- with more than a hint of sarcasm -- the same could be said about the rest of the Pac-10's major cities. In other words: Another reason Colorado is a great fit.
Of course, Colorado isn't a sports powerhouse. It ranked 69th in the directors cup standings last year. It doesn't play baseball or softball (though adding both sports has been discussed). Its football and basketball programs just got docked scholarships because of poor APR scores.
Moreover, the divorce with the Big 12 could get interesting. Colorado administrators are unsure what sort of penalty they will incur for bolting the Big 12, particularly when the Big 12's survival is in question. The Pac-10 might have to pick up part of the tab. And, as things are now, the Buffaloes won't join the Pac-10 until 2012, which means two seasons of Big 12 play that could be fairly uncomfortable.
“In talking to [Big 12 commissioner] Dan Beebe a couple of presidents and chancellors, we certainly have a longstanding relationship and I think we can work well together for the next two years until we move officially to the Pac-10," said Colorado president Bruce Benson, striking an upbeat note.
It comes down to this: Scott's decision to invite Colorado before all others wasn't about micro-analyzing the present and trying to figure out why something wouldn't work.
It was about imagining how things could work in the future.
And after penciling it all out, both Colorado and Scott came to the same conclusion: A marriage between the Buffaloes and the Pac-10 will be good for both partners.