- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
PHOENIX -- After the coaches and athletic directors met with commissioner Larry Scott on Wednesday at the Pac-10 meetings, Stanford's Jim Harbaugh revealed some major news.
"The really interesting thing from Stanford's point of view we're going to be on national television for five straight weeks, starting with UCLA [on Sept. 11]," he said. "I don't know if that's ever been the case in the history of Stanford football."
What? Did you expect some expansion headlines?
Sure, it was a lead topic. Sure, everyone is interested. But even if the coaches were filled in on some grand plan -- which they weren't -- they were told to hush when approached by nosy reporters.
"Not really at liberty to talk about what those [expansion scenarios] are," Harbaugh said.
For the the most part, conference coaches seem, to borrow a term from Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, "neutral" on expansion. There also seems to be a general feeling of confidence that Scott and the administrators and consultants looking into the matter ultimately will make the right decision. The right decision, of course, meaning one that makes every conference program richer.
"I like our conference. I like the natural rivalries we have. I like the fact we play everybody in our conference and a true champion comes out of it," Sarkisian said. "But if there is value in expansion, if Larry Scott and his team -- who do a great job -- if they deem it's the best thing for our conference, then I'm all for it. If we do it, I know it will be the right thing to do because of the time and effort they're putting into this. And if we don't, I'll have faith that was the right thing to do. Either way they go with it, that's why they hired him and they'll make a good decision."
Said Harbaugh: "Is [expansion] a good thing? What we got right now is a good thing. It's set up really well. But our conference is going to look at all possible options. You've got to be open because you don't know what the landscape of college football will look like in two to five years. I think the Pac-10 is being proactive."
What about a conference title game, with or without expansion?
"I think that would be great, would be great for our conference," Sarkisian said. "I know for our kids, they love playing football. So if they give them another chance to play a game, they'll play it. I'm sure that's how it would be for the other nine programs in our conference. Just from an exposure standpoint for our conference, I think it would be a good thing."
Scott has significantly restructured the conference office since he took over last summer, including hiring deputy commissioner/chief operating officer Kevin Weiberg (the former Big 12 commissioner), chief financial officer Ron McQuate, chief marketing officer Danette Leighton and senior associate commissioner/SWA Gloria Nevarez.
Scott also has retained retained the Creative Artists Agency, the global marketing and entertainment firm, to explore expansion possibilities, according to a report from Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News.
With all the new faces and agenda items, the meeting, in large part, functioned as a "getting to know you" session.
There was other business, of course. Administrators talked about improving conference marketing. Moreover, the upcoming TV and media negotiations are critical as the Pac-10 tries to catch up to the SEC and Big Ten.
Football travel rosters are expanding!
Sure, expansion is front-and-center at the meetings, but that doesn't mean it's the coaches are obsessing.
"From our perspective, we're obsessing about the 12-game schedule we've got coming this fall and recruiting," Sarkisian said. "[Expansion] talk is really out of our hands."