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Friday, May 21, 2010
Mailbag: What about a Pac-10 championship game?

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

I will be on vacation next week, but there still will be plenty of posts on the Pac-10 blog -- from me and from "guest" bloggers.

Be nice to them.

To the notes.

Dan from Oregon writes: Have you heard any more rumblings about the Pac-10 adding a "championship" game in lieu of expansion? At this point, it seems like there really are not any expansion candidates out there who both would want to join the Pac and would be a net positive in revenue.If revenue is the objective here, and I have to think it is, because the round-robin format serves the competition well, then a championship game seems to make the most sense. The conference adds X amount of revenue, and will not have to share it with another team.Personally, I think it is a horrible idea. Imagine what would happen if an 8-3 Oregon State team beat an 11-0 USC team for the Pac-10 "championship." Would the Rose Bowl be obligated to take Oregon State? I would imagine the Rose Bowl folks would be howling in protest over the lost revenue at missing out on the Trojans.That said, adding a championship game seems to make the most sense from a purely financial perspective. What say you?

Ted Miller: First, don't write off expansion yet. A lot of smart people are reviewing the possibilities and it's likely there are plenty of scenarios for increasing revenue that go beyond population and TV market size. And you never know if commissioner Larry Scott is going to pull a rabbit from his expansionist hat.

As for a championship game, that's also being considered, with or without expansion, and I'd say the odds are pretty good (again, with or without expansion) that the Pac-10 decides to start playing one. Why? New inventory that would appeal to media partners, which would provide a revenue bump.

As for an 8-3 team beating an unbeaten team for the title, that's the risk inherent in a championship game.


Will from Eugene, Ore., writes: I'm curious about two things.The first, who of the many potential candidates [at cornerback for Oregon] do you see as the current front runner? Cliff Harris and Anthony Gildon have already proved they can capably handle the job, and I've heard nothing but great things about Terrance Mitchell and Avery Patterson this spring. I was hoping you might have some insight. Second, how do you think this group will fair against what is considerably one of the best groups of Pac-10 quarterbacks we've seen in sometime?

Ted Miller: My guess is Harris and Talmadge Jackson will Oregon's two starting cornerbacks. I wouldn't be surprised if Mitchell, an early enrollee freshman who was impressive this spring, ends up as the nickel back. That said, you never can have too many cover guys in a secondary. Plenty of guys will play. The Ducks are fairly wealthy here and they will use that to their advantage.

In fact, you could make a solid argument that the Ducks have the best secondary in the conference -- they are experienced, deep and athletic. So if you ask how they should fair against an impressive group of QBs, I'd say, "Better than most anyone else."

But you know what makes any secondary look good? A smothering pass rush. Based on what we saw and heard this spring, Oregon might also have that.


Jon from Tumalo, Ore., writes: If only voters in college polls used [strength of schedule] as you used [cost of living adjustment] regarding Kiffen's salary.My question: If USC, Texas, Ohio State, Florida or Miami played Boise's schedule and went undefeated would you put any such team in the BCS champ game or ding said team for a joke of a schedule?

Ted Miller: First, it's not Boise State's fault they are in the WAC. I'm sure they'd join the Big 12 or Pac-10 if invited. Moreover, the Broncos are aggressive nonconference schedulers. This fall, they play Virginia Tech and Oregon State, a top-10 team and top-25 team, respectively, from BCS conferences.

Boise State deserves -- and has earned -- national respect, see a pair of Fiesta Bowl wins as well as a home-and-home sweep versus Oregon. If the Broncos go undefeated in 2010, at this point it seems to me they deserve a chance to play for the national title over a one-loss team from a BCS conference (though a qualifier on that is if both Virginia Tech and Oregon State go belly-up and lose a bunch of games).

Further, you could argue that Texas played a regular-season schedule in 2009 that is comparable to what Boise State faces in 2010. The Longhorns slate looked weak in the preseason and weaker as the season went on. And Florida played only one team that ended up ranked in the final top-25 -- No. 17 LSU -- during the regular season.

Moreover, I think it's more equitable to, as you say, "ding" the "have" schools for avoiding competition than the "have not" programs. Those schools you mention have a choice, and sometimes they choose the cowardly path and play four nonconference patsies.

So, no, if USC, Texas, Ohio State, Florida or Miami played Boise's schedule and went undefeated I would not necessarily put them in the national title game. But I might with Boise State.


Mark Emmert from Seattle writes: Somebody forwarded the comment about me driving a Lamborghini Murcielago in town. True enough, and what fun that was. While I really wish I had one, I am in fact still driving my Prius and love it. But, the UW has a fabulous partnership with Boeing and Lamborghini to design and test composite materials. Lamborghini donated $1 million to create a lab for this purpose. Our faculty and students are helping to create the next generation of light weight, high strength airplanes and cars. As a great bonus, the director of the lab also gets a Lambo demo car to use sometimes. He lent the Murcielago to me to take to a Regents meeting, so I got to cruise in class for a short while. What an unbelievable car! I love sports cars and this is the most amazing street vehicle I have driven. Sadly, though I was just a poser.

Ted Miller: For the record, the new president of the NCAA is no poser.

And, as you can probably tell from this note, he is a down-to-earth guy.