The situation was heating up, similar to when Bitcoin was introduced! George Kliavkoff, Pac-12 commissioner got testy at a Big 12 for what called trying to "destabilize" his league. Kliakoff spoke to 247Sports saying "The good news is my presidents and chancellors and athletic directors forward me all those messages. I have a big collection of those messages."
Both Pac-12 and Big 12 are fighting for a lot of the same media rights. The leagues have contracts that finish respectively in 2024 and 2025. Some Big 12 schools battled to try to get into the Pac-12 the previous year but it seems that today several Big 12 schools are looking to adding Pac-12 schools.
Kliavkoff says "I’ve been spending four weeks trying to defend against grenades that have been lobbed from every corner of the Big 12 trying to destabilize our remaining conference." He went on to say "I understand why they’re doing it, when you look at the media value between the two conferences. I get it, I get why they’re scared."
At first, Kliavkoff stressed the need for cooperation between the commissioners but later it was clear to see how frustrated he was. Unfortunately, things may get much worse as the critical moment for college football draws close.
USC is accepting expectations
Last season the Trojans went 4-8. However, the first-year coach, Lincoln Riley made a point of emphasizing that he expects nothing less than to win a championship this season.
He argued that "The reality is if there’s no pressure, then you probably don’t have the same opportunities as others do. You’ve got to see the opportunities in it. This is one of those programs and one of these cities that if you do it here, the sky’s the limit."
USC has got so much scrutiny over the last several months, more than any other team in the country because of Riley and the controversy around his leaving Oklahoma. The Trojans have the Nation’s No 1. Transfer class which features Caleb Williams, a five-star quarterback and Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison.
As far as Riley and the USC are concerned 2022 equals championship and nothing less.
Everyone is looking at Utah with much respect
The Utes are without a doubt the preseason selection, even though the USC is the top on-field story. Having received 26 of the 33 first-place votes in the preseason poll the opposing coaches were full of praise and extolled their abilities.
For example, Karl Dorrel, Colorado coach said "There’s obviously a guy at the helm that I have a tremendous amount of respect for." Referring to Kyle Whittingham, Utes’ coach. He went on to say "He’s got a great staff and they recruit. They do things right."
It was in 2021 that Utah won its first Pac-12 Championship. This was after they switched quarterback Cameron Rising. It is important for Utah to keep their expectations realistic and not get carried away.
According to Whittingham "We’re a program that is still working on our brand and trying to become more of a national presence. But you’ve got to earn that. No one’s going to give that to you."
The Big Ten
Coaches were asked about USC and UCLA’s upsetting move to the Big Ten and how this will affect recruiting and the health of the league in the long term. Many coaches weren’t willing to talk about it saying that the move is not going to happen for two years anyway. The remaining 10 schools got the other coaches’ votes of confidence.
For example, Jake Dickert, Washington State coach said "I think the Pac-12 is going to be here and is going to be thriving for a very long time." While Whittingham said that having had a long tenure in the industry, he is not surprised by anything that occurs in college football. And Dan Lanning, Oregon’s coach said "I have zero concerns from that front just because I know how strong our brand and product are. I share a vision that our leadership in the conference and school shares. Oregan is a brand that is national."
There will be four new coaches joining the Pac-12 in the fall. Riley, Dickert, Lanning and Kalen DeBoer from Washington. But more important was the number of transfer players who were present at the 12-Pac Media Day.
At the head of the group is USC quarterback Caleb Williams. Cameron Ward, an FCS transfer is going to be leading at Washington State following Eric Morris who now is the Cougars’ coordinator.
Ultimately the transition could be good for lots of programs. Jaydeb de Laura, from Washington State, was added to the Wildcats and brought Jacob Cowing as its offensive representative to Media Day.
The ceiling of the Pac-12 in 2022 will be decided by the new faces.