Convention rarely boxed in Rick Neuheisel as a head coach at Colorado, Washington and UCLA, so why should it as a college football commentator?
Neuheisel, speaking off the cuff on his SiriusXM radio show, speculated that, hey, perhaps UCLA should consider leaving the Pac-12 for the, er, flatter? less populated? more landlocked? pastures of the Big 12.
Said Neuheisel, a former UCLA quarterback:
I wouldn’t be surprised to see UCLA say, "You know what? This deal with this USC thing? We’re gonna go and be our own guy, rather than always tied to the school here in Los Angeles." It wouldn’t shock me at all. I don’t have any inside information. I’m just saying from outside looking in.
Ah, "This USC thing." That's the idea that the Bruins operate in the shadow of USC, and they should follow the course of Texas A&M and leave big brother behind and join another conference. Ergo, Aggies leave Big 12 and rival Texas for SEC -- and beaucoup dinero -- and the Bruins should consider such a move to establish their own distinct identity.
Of course, the Big 12 would leap into the air and click its collective heels together if UCLA wanted to make such a move. That said, it's more likely that Texas A&M would reverse course and return to the Big 12 than UCLA would leave behind its West Coast affiliation.
Just think UCLA fans: You'd give up trips to San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Boulder, Salt Lake City, etc., for Lubbock, Texas, Stillwater, Okla., Ames, Iowa and Morgantown, West Virginia -- a fine 2,400 mile jaunt from Westwood.
Neuheisel, a former coach not thinking about the romance of college football road trips, noted that money drives just about everything in college sports and that UCLA might listen if it was worth its financial regard, as quoted by Bruins Nation.
UCLA just left Adidas for cash. They went to Under Armour. Right? If there were a reason to do it...If all of a sudden...and you take Los Angeles and put it into the Big 12 market where Texas and football are king, it would have a huge impact.
While money is the beating heart of college sports, there also is a brain. Conference membership, despite appearances, is about more than football. It's also about culture and academics and, yes, other sports.
It's far more plausible that Texas joins the Pac-12 as part of a future "super conference" expansion plan than any LA school would look to move east.