For all the hate USC gets, for all the negativity surrounding us, we sure get a lot of love when it counts. If you own a computer or radio, you have been hearing about how the Pac-10 is struggling to divide the conference into two divisions for a number of reasons. There is one thing that is totally consistent across all stakeholders: Everyone wants USC in their division.
We are the key to everything and what’s arrogant is that not one other school is refuting that. For all the time people spend talking about USC losing its spot as the alpha dog in the conference, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Maybe in the media, but not in reality. The more I read about these negotiations, the more I realize if USC left the Pac-10 (I still do not recognize the name change), the conference would rank in relevance somewhere between the Big East and the Marmonte League in the California high school CIF.
Send me hate mail, do whatever you’d like, but the real court of relevance is the court of dollars, bitch. Sorry, I just wanted to say bitch after that because it felt arrogant. Teams in the north are tripping out over the separation of divisions because they need a game with USC and to a lesser extent UCLA. And here is why:
The league gets revenue from television contracts. That revenue is shared throughout the division. Revenue sharing money is split in half. The first half is evenly distributed to all teams. The second half is doled out according to who had the most television appearances. I’ll give you one guess who is nationally televised the most. I’ll give you a hint. They are arrogant and expert bear fighters. People like to see them lose as much as they like to see them win. They are, of course, the USC Trojans. This kind of thing is not unprecedented and it really does explain why so many people hate USC. I mean, it sucks to think no one will ever care about your school no matter how much they win. In case you are a delusional forest dwelling Washington State fan, I was talking about USC, whose “fall from grace” is a bigger story than Oregon’s return to greatness.
Boise State could go undefeated for 10 years and USC versus [insert DI opponent] would make more money. This is partly due to a strong brand image and partly due to being located in the 2nd largest media market in the United States (hence UCLA being somewhat relevant even if I think they are about as relevant as the disposable toilet seat covers you find at the airport). They are the only team the East Coast stays awake to watch. Our shit is awesome even if you hate it.
A perfect example of this was when KCAL/KCBS dropped the Angels in favor of the Dodgers. The Angels had just won the World Series and the Dodgers had missed the playoffs by quite a bit. When I interned in the sports department of that very station (actually I just kind of showed up from time to time and called girls from the fire escape while drinking a flask and checking out the Hollywood Hills), they told me the reason for the change. Essentially, it is NOT EVEN CLOSE how much more brand equity the Dodgers have than the Angels regardless of record. No one cares about Angel baseball. The Dodgers losing is a bigger story than the Angels winning, like it or not. Dollars don’t lie. Fans choose with their hearts, advertisers choose with their wallets. Same with the Lakers over the Clippers. No one cares Blake Griffin. Same with USC over the Pac 10. It’s about brand equity.
Here’s the AP’s explanation from a post I read on ESPN today:
Currently, about half of the football television revenue is split evenly with the other half divided based on how many times each school is televised. That has historically favored the Los Angeles schools as UCLA and USC usually are on TV more than the other schools. That also means most schools want to be in a division with the Los Angeles teams unless the formula is changed.The rest of the revenue from sources such as bowl games, the NCAA basketball tournament and basketball television revenue is split evenly. According to IRS filings, the Pac-10 payouts range from less than $7 million for Stanford to about $11.5 million for USC.
In case you are curious, the payout for a BCS game is more than that of a regular bowl. A lot more. In case you don’t watch football, guess which Pac-10 team has gone to the most BCS bowls in league history? I won’t answer because it’s arrogant that I don’t need to. Being that that money is PAID OUT EVENLY even to teams that don’t make a bowl game at all, I’ll just say YOU’RE WELCOME. I’d talk about other sports, but they don’t really matter. Yes, tournament berths in basketball are lucrative, but not to the tune of the 8 figures, which a BCS berth pays, not to mention the fact that college football television deals pay like an ATM on cocaine after it caught it’s spouse ATM fooling around on him with a credit card reader.
There is one strategy where the California and Arizona schools bond together and the Oregons, Washingtons, Colorado and Utah form the least relevant alliance in the history of mankind, but my gut is that the North South breakup happens. UCLA and USC bond with the Arizonas and the new kids, while the Nor Cals, Oregons and Washingtons hang out up north in a tough grouping. While this appeases the Oregons and Washingtons by giving them the SF market and in-roads into the prospect rich state of California, it also really favorably sets up USC for success.
The Conference Championship Game is lucrative. It will be fully maximized by having it’s most popular (or infamous if you hate USC) team in the game for television purposes. Looking at this division, USC will only have guaranteed games with UCLA, Utah, Colorado, Arizona State and Arizona. If you had to bet which team makes the Conference Title Game most of those six teams in the next 20 years, who are you picking? Who are you picking if your money is on the line? Sure there will be upsets, but look at who historically has been the best team of those six over the past 100 years. With the winner of the conference championship getting a Rose Bowl bid, this seems like a way for USC to have the lion’s share of ways into the Rose Bowl, for ratings, for revenue, for sure super arrogant. Even the staunchest SC hater would have to admit the easier the football division for USC, the more the writing is on the wall. By the way, the wall is made of gold and the writing is done in crushed up caviar and squid ink.
Say what you want, but the Pac 10 is trying to set up a scenario where they get USC in the Title Game every year and the North/South break up is just that. I am not shocked though because I am arrogant enough to know it has always been about USC anyway.
Now buy a shirt and get stoked for the Arrogant Game Preview tomorrow.