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How the Pac-12 and its Media Allies Will Begin Spinning Colorado’s Expected Departure

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day

It’s already happening. Just hours after news began breaking that the Colorado Buffaloes are expected to land back in the Big 12 Conference, the Pac-12 narrative of downplaying the departure of CU has begun in full force.

The Pac-12 Conference is in a dire situation. There is no TV deal in sight and they are about to lose one of their remaining 10 teams one year after two of their anchors, USC and UCLA, announced they would be heading to the Big Ten in 2024.

 

So what now? While no one can possibly deny the impact of a loss like USC, the narrative is already beginning that the loss of the Buffaloes will not be the demise of the conference and that the loss of CU can be replaced by a new school, such as San Diego State, SMU or someone else.

That spin is coming. And don’t take my word for it. It had already begun before lunchtime on Thursday.

Just look at this article from Pac-12 mouthpiece John Canzano, who has been wrong, thus far, at nearly every turn on the Pac-12‘s future.

Trade up? Really?

 

Colorado is arguably the most compelling storyline in the league with new football coach Deion Sanders. What is the Pac-12 possibly trading up with? Yes, San Diego State has been a compelling expansion candidate, but the fact that the league had not previously invited the Aztecs to the conference in the last few months tells you all you need to know about how the league really feels.

There’s little to suggest the Pac-12 is in a position right now to simply replace Colorado with another school. Had those other schools been compelling enough to their potential TV partners, they would have added them long ago. It didn’t happen.

As has been the case over the last few months, the Pac-12’s actions, or lack thereof, tell one story, and their words then cover up those inactions with another story. And round and round we go.

But now, the spin has to begin in full force, and there’s often been a sympathetic national media voice to prop up this league beyond what it has deserved over the last 12 months.

 

How Does This End?

For a league that has been dragging its feet on finding new TV partners, there’s absolutely nothing to suggest that Colorado leaving helps their cause. In fact,

When looking at average TV viewership from 2015-2019 and 2021, Colorado ranked fifth in the Pac-12 at 1.49 million per football game, behind Oregon, Stanford, Washington, and Washington State, according to The Athletic. Losing a Top 5 brand with Top 5 viewership in the midst of a struggling TV contract negotiation will not help the cause of the league.

Their only hope is to spin, spin and spin some more.

However, despite all the spin coming from friendly media outlets in recent months, the likes of ESPN, Apple, and others have simply not bought it. They haven’t fallen for the Pac-12’s tricks, so what’s to suggest that will begin now?

The league has been its own worse enemy for the better part of a year, however, its media enablers have not allowed them to look in the mirror and reflect on the lack of foresight, poor decision-making, and ineptitude that has led to his moment. And based on the last 24 hours, it’s not appearing like it’s going to change.

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