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Friday, October 8, 2010
Are the Pac-10 bowls a bust?

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

An interesting -- and critical -- look at the Pac-10 bowl arrangements from Ryan McGee.

While much of the focus during the first year-plus of Larry Scott's tenure as commissioner has been on expansion -- what that means in the future with divisions and a championship game and the ensuing broadcast contracts -- the Pac-10's bowl arrangements have long been a source of frustration.

They aren't as good as the SEC, Big Ten and Big 12. And there aren't enough, either.

The problem, though, is there is no obvious solution. Name a major West Coast -- or even Mountain Time -- bowl the Pac-10 doesn't play in (Fiesta doesn't count as a BCS bowl)? Exactly.

The SEC and Big Ten have the Florida bowls wrapped up. The Big 12 gets the Cotton Bowl because it's in Dallas.

SEC, Big Ten and top-level Big 12 teams travel better than Pac-10 fans, at least that's the reputation.

As in most things: It's all about money. Bowls want to make it. So do conferences. It's not about East Coast bias. It's about a bias for making money.

I, personally, like the addition of the Alamo Bowl. Big fan of San Antonio. With the right sort of business savvy, that game could be nurtured into something more on par with the Capital One or Outback Bowls. For example, what might happen if Larry Scott and local and corporate partners go to the SEC and say: "We've got a $6 million payout for your No. 2 team to face the No. 2 team from the Pac-10 on Jan. 1."

SEC commissioner Mike Slive would provide a pregnant pause. And then give Scott a Cheshire Cat grin. (Of course, it's not that simple, but you get the idea.)

That scenario also could work if the Cotton Bowl gets upgraded into a BCS bowl in the future: The Alamo could step into that void.

But in order to take that next step -- either by upgrading a current bowl or creating a new one for New Year's Day -- it's going to take some creativity on the business end.

Scott hasn't exactly been the retiring sort thus far on going after Big New Things. Guess here is bowl arrangements are also on his agenda.