Mailbag: Pac-12 vs. Big 12, ESPN vs. Amazon, UCLA vs. UC Regents and loads more (2023)

The Hotline mailbag is published every Friday. Send questions topac12hotline@bayareanewsgroup.comor hit me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline.

Please note: Some questions have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Does ESPN have both the Pac-12 and Big 12 over a negotiating barrel? — @BruinSharman

Any updates on how the Pac-12 media negotiations are going? — @Vakaviti

Two questions focused on the conference’s existential crisis that seem particularly timely given what we think we know about the negotiations.

I framed it that way because we don’t really know. The Pac-12 has done a fabulous job to this point of preventing leaks. That’s unfortunate for us but good for the conference, because the fear of leaks can impact internal trust and strategic decisions.

But here’s our guess …

When the Pac-12 announced in early July that the presidents and chancellors had authorized commissioner George Kliavkoff to begin media rights negotiations, it avoided any reference to the timing:No date was given for the start of the 30-day exclusive negotiating window for ESPN and Fox.

We believe that window was delayed until the Big Ten concluded its media deal, which was announced Aug. 18.

If the Pac-12’s exclusive negotiating period opened days later, then it would be coming to a close right about now.

And that meshes with the comment earlier this week, by New York Post media reporter Andrew Marchand, that ESPN and the Pac-12 are hundreds of millions of dollars apart.

If the 30-day window is closing this week or next, then it would be about time for ESPN to place a firm offer on the table. And that offer could be well short of Pac-12 expectations.

We never expected the conference to sign an agreement during the exclusive period. All signs pointed to Kliavkoff taking the inventory to the marketplace and seeking bids from other companies. (After all, why would ESPN bid against itself?)

The report about the two sides being “hundreds of millions” apart — if we assume that’s true for the purposes of this exercise — doesn’t come as a surprise.

If, for example, the Pac-12 asked for $400 million over five years and ESPN countered with $330 million over five years, that’s a difference of $350 million. It doesn’t mean the sides will end up that far apart.

But therein lies the trick for the conference, and why these negotiations were always going to be difficult: The lack of competition for its inventory.

NBC, CBS and Turner don’t appear to be serious players. And we’re skeptical about Fox’s interest — that network already has what it wants (the Los Angeles market) through its deal with the Big Ten.

(Video) The Monty Show 823! Amazon At The Center Of The College Football World!

So the Pac-12’s best option for competition seemingly is from Amazon, which is both good and bad.

It’s good because Amazon has plenty of cash and probably would pay the Pac-12 more than the games are actually worth — the value for the company comes from the marketing benefits, not the football itself.

But it’s bad because Amazon doesn’t provide maximum visibility or media messaging opportunities. ESPN drives the narrative in college football, and the Pac-12 must have a partnership with ESPN in some form or fashion.

(Amazon made what we’re told is a strong offer for a piece of the Big Ten’s football inventory, but the conference passed because it was concerned about being sequestered on Amazon. Cash is critical, but so are eyeballs.)

That’s one advantage for the Big 12, in our opinion. We believe both ESPN and Fox are interested in the Big 12, in part because its basketball brand is strong. (ESPN isn’t part of the Big Ten rights agreement and, as a result, needs Big 12 basketball to fill the inventory demands for ESPN+.)

When you slice and dice everything, it becomes clear that the Big 12 has some advantages over the Pac-12 and the Pac-12 has some advantages over the Big 12. And that’s exactly why we believe the conferences are in roughly the same position.

One of them will end up with a media rights deal worth several million dollars more per school than the other, but the difference won’t be transformational — not like the massive revenue bump that USC and UCLA will receive in the Big Ten.

At the same time, the two leagues have been stripped of their most valuable assets over the past 14 months and will, to a certain extent, have to accept whatever ESPN and/or Fox is willing to offer.

The networks won’t miss a chance to drive down the price, especially given what they are paying for the SEC and Big Ten.

If the Thursday night NFL game on Amazon Prime gets bad ratings, would that be a concern to the Pac-12? — @LAWomensHoops

I don’t think so, primarily because the expectations are low.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Thursday Night Football averaged 16.4 million viewers when Fox owned the game.

Amazon projected an average viewership of 12.6 million for this season, its first as the exclusive provider, per the WSJ.

It could take weeks or perhaps months — and maybe several years — to reach that audience level, much less equal what Fox drew each week.

The question for the Pac-12 is whether Amazon Prime will become a mainstream platform for football viewing. And if so, when?

Our hunch: After the Pac-12’s next contract cycle begins (fall of 2024) but before that contract cycle ends (spring of 2029, probably).

The conference was watching Thursday night more for the production value and streaming quality (glitches, latency, etc) than for ratings.

I realize revenue distributions still need to be ironed out for the 12-team College Football Playoff. But assuming a $2.2 billion (annual) media rights deal, what is your best guess for the expected minimum payout to the Pac-12? — @TerryTerry79

The current broadcast agreement for the CFP (and the New Year’s Six bowls that don’t host playoffs) is reportedly worth about $670 million per year.

Of that, 63 percent is a base payment to the conferences. And of that, about 67 percent goes to the Power Five.

My hunch is the performance share will increase from 37 percent to closer to 50 percent in the expanded version — more for the SEC and Big Ten, which figure to dominate the field.

So let’s assume half of the $2.2 billion becomes a base payment to the leagues. Next, take two-thirds of that 50 percent as the Power Five allocation. That’s about $750 million.

Split that five ways, and the Pac-12 would collect $150 million annually — more than twice its current annual amount.

If there are only 10 teams, that would be $15 million per team, compared to the $6 million or so each school currently collects.

That’s a very rough look at the numbers.

What do you think the chances are that the UC Regents prevent UCLA from moving to the Big Ten? — @kentura82

There has been no change in our outlook since the mid-August meeting in which the Regents established the authority to squash the move.

That would be a momentous step, not only for this specific situation but for other matters (athletic, academic or otherwise) involving the 10 campuses in the UC system.

I’d set the chances of a reversal at 10-to-15 percent, which isn’t high but also isn’t nothing.

And that makes the situation worth monitoring.

Any chance of the Pac-12 convincing USC and UCLA to reverse course and remain in the conference, especially with the new College Football Playoff format? — Gerard Limtiaco

This is a different question than the one addressed above: Would either school willingly opt to remain in the Pac-12?

There is no chance USC has a change of heart — none, zero, zip.

The Bruins would only change willingly if the Regents ordered them to subsidize Cal to such an extent ($10 million or more annually) that the move wasn’t worthwhile financially.

And in that event, it really wouldn’t be a willing reversal.

As an Associated Press top-25 voter, can you explain why Texas A&M (No. 24) is ranked while Oregon State and Washington State are not? — Jon Joseph

I don’t have an answer for you. The AP gives voters a wide berth for determining their ballots but emphasizes that results should serve as the North Star.

— Washington State beat Idaho and won at No. 19 Wisconsin.

— Oregon State beat Boise State and Fresno State.

— Meanwhile, Texas A&M beat Sam Houston State and lost (at home) to Appalachian State.

And yet the Aggies are ranked while WSU, OSU and Appalachian State are not.

You cannot make a results-based argument for the Aggies over any of the three, meaning the only plausible explanations are 1) brand bias or 2) ignorance.

Who is on the Pac-12 hot seat this year? — @RealWebTraveler

Karl Dorrell’s seat is gaining heat by the week, even though this is just his third season. Yes, Colorado’s roster is young, but the product has been terrible thus far.

If the current trajectory continues, he could be in jeopardy of dismissal by the end of November.

Arizona State coach Herm Edwards seemingly has a murky future because of the NCAA investigation, although the 68-year-old Edwards might just retire before the axe falls.

We’d argue that David Shaw’s seat is thawing rapidly at Stanford, but I’m not sure his job is in jeopardy this year, or any year.

If you include men’s basketball in the hot seat calculation, the options expand: Cal’s Mark Fox, ASU’s Bobby Hurley, Oregon State’s Wayne Tinkle and perhaps even Stanford’s Jerod Haase could be vulnerable to termination by March.

If Oregon State somehow upsets USC and beats Montana State to go 4-0, is it reasonable to warrant high expectations? I won’t say playoff but maybe a high ranking and New Year’s Six bowl? — @OhItsPM

Not sure I would start dreaming of the New Year’s Six just yet, even with a victory over the Trojans.

Two things are equally true: OSU has been impressive so far, and there is a long, long way to go.

To be considered for an at-large berth — the Cotton is the only bowl available this season because of the semifinal rotation (Peach and Fiesta) — the Beavers would need a minimum of 10 wins. And to appear in the Rose Bowl, they would need to win the conference title.

I have seen nothing to indicate OSU has the talent or depth to navigate the weekly grind with just one or two losses. Their margin-for-error in that endeavor is microscopic.

But we have been surprised before, and that would be one heck of a story.

Does the construction at Oregon State’s Reser Stadium work against the Beavers when TV networks are selecting games, or passing the Beavers off to the Pac-12 Network? — @Jschamber2

Fair question and one that I cannot speak to with complete confidence — only Fox and ESPN know for sure.

But I doubt the construction is a factor in the weekly draft process. The networks want the best matchups, and the renovation doesn’t impact the size of the audience.

ESPN and Fox passed on the Oregon State-USC game (Sept. 24) because they want to preserve as much access to the Trojans later in the season as possible, when their games are most meaningful and viewership the highest (in theory).

USC must appear on the Pac-12 Networks at least three times (to match their number of non-conference home games). Had Fox or ESPN selected the Sept. 24 matchup, they would have reduced by one the number of USC games available for their broadcasts later in the season.

Anyone from the Pac-12 likely to be on the short list at Nebraska? — @MattRexroad

Given what happened the last time the Cornhuskers hired a Pac-12 head coach (Oregon State’s Mike Riley), I’m deeply skeptical the school would look to the West Coast for Scott Frost’s replacement.

Washington State coach Jake Dickert has roots in the Upper Midwest and, with a more accomplished resume, might be considered a candidate the next time Nebraska has an opening.

But the Huskers are fortunate in that there are several premium options in their neighborhood with Kansas State’s Chris Klieman and Kansas’ Lance Leipold.

Do you think Washington is back? — @ChantryStarr

I believe so, but check Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for confirmation.

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Is UCLA leaving the Pac-12? ›

SAN FRANCISCO -- USC's and UCLA's upcoming move to the Big Ten has not been popular with their supporters, according to Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff. Both USC and UCLA will become full members of the Big Ten in 2024 after an offseason move that changed the structure of college sports.

Is Pac-12 Network owned by ESPN? ›

The Pac-12 Network (P12N; also sometimes referred to as Pac-12 Networks) is an American sports-oriented digital cable and satellite television network owned by the Pac-12 Conference.

Is Pac-12 a good conference? ›

Nicknamed the "Conference of Champions", the Pac-12 has won more NCAA national championships in team sports than any other conference in history.

Is Pac-12 live stream free? ›

Pac-12 Network is only included in the Sports Extra package when purchased alongside the “Orange” plan, which is a $11 add on. If you get select the “Blue” plan, Pac-12 Network is not included in the Sports Extra add on.

Why is UCLA leaving the Pac-12? ›

'There's no regional sensibility anymore' The schools, conferences, and their representatives say these moves are being done for the benefit of the student-athletes.

Why is UCLA leaving Pac-12? ›

“It's clear that UCLA and USC made a decision for short-term financial gain at the expense of their student-athletes,” Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff told The Athletic on Friday.

Is Pac-12 or SEC better? ›

The Pac-12 is a remarkable 29-4 in non-league games, while the SEC is a very impressive 32-7. Even considering the fact that the Pac-12 has come a long way, the league has still not caught up to the SEC in talent and depth. Once again, the SEC reigns supreme in this comparison.

Is the Pac-12 splitting up? ›

USC and UCLA will join the Big Ten in 2024. Just two weeks ago, California's power-house programs, USC and UCLA, announced their intention to join the Big Ten conference in 2024. This news came as a shock to many, as both programs have been apart of the Pac-12 for over 94 years.

What is the best college town in the Pac-12? ›

The Best College Town in the Pac-12

Corvallis is consistently ranked as a top destination to have a true college experience.

What is the biggest rivalry in the Pac-12? ›

Arizona–Arizona State

Where do Pac-12 schools rank? ›

The Pac-12 is led by Stanford (5), Berkeley (21), USC (23), UCLA (25) and Washington (42). The Pac-12 has six schools in the top 100. The lowest is Oregon State at 138. The two newest schools are Colorado (94) and Utah (124).

What is the best way to watch Pac-12 Network? ›

The Pac-12 Now app is also available to subscribers via Android, iOS and Apple TV.
  1. WATCH ON THE GO. Watch Pac-12 sports from your device - anytime, anywhere.
  2. UNLIMITED ACCESS. Access all seven channels across Pac-12 Networks.
  3. CHECK TOP SCORES. Keep up with your favorite teams with regular score updates.

How much is Pac-12 Network a month? ›

There are 2 preferred options to get the Pac-12 Network with fuboTV. You can subscribe to the fuboTV Pro Plan for $69.99 per month (after 7-day free trial) and then add the $7.99 “fuboTV Extra” add on package to get Pac-12. Another option is to just subscribe to the fuboTV “Elite” channel plan for $79.99 per month.

How can I watch Pac-12 Network without TV provider? ›

You can watch the Pac-12 Network with Vidgo, Sling TV, or FuboTV. These streaming services provide access to the Pac-12 Network without needing a cable TV provider.

Why does UCLA put 4s up? ›

A hand signal signifying the four letters in UCLA; or two 4s (both hands) add up to 8 signifying the 8-clap.

Why is Newsom mad about UCLA? ›

Ben Chida, an adviser to Newsom on education issues, told the Times that Newsom's concerns over UCLA's decision to join the Big Ten is “about more than sports and more than money.” “It's about public trust. It's about student-athlete mental health.

Why did the Pac-12 reject BYU? ›

For years the BYU Cougars made overtures to the Pac-12 trying to earn an invite into the conference. Unfortunately for them at the time, all the Pac-12 wanted to do was date them, they were never willing to settle down and marry.

Is UCLA pulling out of the Big 10? ›

USC and UCLA announced they will move to the Big Ten in 2024 in the next bombshell of college football expansion.

Why is the University of Oklahoma leaving the Big 12? ›

The conference is also set to expand come July 1, 2023, with the additions of BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston. The biggest factor keeping Texas and Oklahoma in the Big 12 are the financial penalties each school would be forced to pay should they leave early.

Is Stanford leaving the Pac-12? ›

Stanford Athletics: What USC and UCLA leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten means for Stanford.

Which college football conference is the best? ›

Ranking college football's FBS conferences from 1-10 for the 2022 season
  1. SEC. Top 25 Teams: 6. SP+ Average: 24.6. The SEC is the top conference until proven otherwise. ...
  2. Big Ten. Top 25 Teams: 4. SP+ Average: 41.3. ...
  3. Big 12. Top 25 Teams: 3. SP+ Average: 40.7. ...
  4. ACC. Top 25 Teams: 5. SP+ Average: 50.5.
22 Aug 2022

What is the best college football conference of all time? ›

You'll see we made some changes in our stats based on that Big Ten fan's input. (But the end result still has the SEC at #1.) The SEC has six teams in the top-25 all-time and 8 in the Top 50. It is this depth that gives the SEC the most wins and makes it the Top All-Time College Football Conference Record conference.

Can a Pac-12 team play in the national championship? ›

As one of the most prominent football conferences in the country, the depth and quality of the programs in the Pac-12 allow league teams to compete for national titles on a yearly basis.

Is UCLA leaving the UC system? ›

After UCLA's departure alongside USC was announced in late June, Bruins athletic director Martin Jarmond said the move would help secure the future of a department riddled with debt while avoiding the possibility of cutting Olympic sports teams.

Who will replace USC in Pac-12? ›

If the Pac-12 puts importance on staying in Southern California, the likely programs to pursue would be Fresno State and San Diego State. Both have seen levels of success in the Mountain West Conference. If the criteria is more about pedigree, then Boise State would be a likely target.

Why did UCLA Move to Big Ten? ›

UCLA's reasoning for the move was based on its athletic department's financial troubles. Athletic director Martin Jarmond said the department was in “significant debt” before the decision to join the Big Ten.

Does Hulu Plus have Pac-12 Network? ›

Does Hulu have Pac-12 Network? No. Hulu with Live TV carries networks that do broadcast some Pac-12 games. These networks include ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FS1, FS2, and local FOX stations.

Does Roku carry Pac-12 Network? ›

Pac-12 Now | TV App | Roku Channel Store | Roku.

Which fuboTV package has Pac-12? ›

The Pac-12 Network national channel is available in the fubo Extra and Sports Plus add-ons.

What is the number 1 college town in America? ›

Look no further than Tempe, a town where nearly one out of every four people is a college student. Though that's no surprise considering the city is home to Arizona State University, which has more than 134,000 enrolled students.

What is the #1 best college town in America? ›

America's best college town is Stanford, Calif., followed by Williamsburg, Va.

Are all Pac-12 schools in the AAU? ›

As for other conferences, the Pac 12 has eight of its members in the AAU while the ACC has six. (Syracuse also was a longtime member before voluntarily withdrawing). On the other hand, the SEC has only four (Florida, Missouri, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt) and the Big 12 has only three (Iowa State, Kansas, and Texas).

What is the most intense college football rivalry? ›

The granddaddy of all college football rivalries is the University of Michigan vs. Ohio State University. These two midwestern Big Ten powerhouses have been at it since 1897, with the Wolverines and Buckeyes meeting for "The Game" around Thanksgiving weekend for over a century.

What is the most intense rivalry in football? ›

The 20 biggest football derbies
  • Barcelona vs Real Madrid. El Clásico. ...
  • Celtic F.C. vs Rangers F.C. The Old Firm Derby. ...
  • Boca Juniors vs River Plate. The Superclásico. ...
  • AC Milan vs Inter Milan. ...
  • Fenerbahçe vs Galatasaray. ...
  • Liverpool vs Manchester United. ...
  • Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund. ...
  • Arsenal vs Tottenham.
7 Sept 2022

What is the best school in the Big 12? ›

The University of Texas at Austin

What is the best K 12 school in the world? ›

Finland is currently ranked as the number one K-12 education system. Finnish students consistently have the highest scores in math, science, and reading. Finnish schools also have a very low-key model that allows students to learn at a more relaxed pace.

What state has the best K 12 schools? ›

Massachusetts has the best public school system in the U.S. 48.8% of Massachusetts's eligible schools ranked in the top 25% of high school rankings, a total of 167 schools. Massachusetts has the highest math and reading test scores in the U.S. and the second-highest median ACT score of 25.1.

Does Direct stream have Pac-12 Network? ›

The Pac-12 Network isn't on DIRECTV since they have no licensing agreement for the channel to be broadcast on the cable TV service. You can stream the channel on Fubo TV or Sling TV.

What TV providers carry the Pac-12 Network? ›

Anywhere across the United States there are multiple options for fans to access Pac-12 Networks, including a host of leading providers with Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, Cox, Dish Network and others as well as over-the-top options with Sling TV and fuboTV.

Can you watch live games on Pac-12 Now app? ›

Over 1,000 live sports events, including 30+ football games and 100+ basketball games. Live games, game recaps, studio shows, and original content on the Pac-12 Networks. FREE school-produced live streams on Pac-12 Plus.

Does Pac-12 Network have on demand? ›

Pac-12 Plus offers fans an array of on-demand content and live events produced by the conference's 12 universities, including games live streamed to fans.

Who owns the Pac-12 Network? ›

The Pac-12 Network (P12N; also sometimes referred to as Pac-12 Networks) is an American sports-oriented digital cable and satellite television network owned by the Pac-12 Conference.

Can you pay to stream Pac-12 Network? ›

Does Pac-12 Networks have an online subscription service available to fans? Pac-12 Networks does not currently provide an a-la-carte, internet-only subscription option. However, we do provide online access to all of our broadcast TV content, including live events, through our TV providers via TV Everywhere service.

What teams are leaving the Pac-12? ›

USC and UCLA announced in June that they were leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten in 2024, leading to speculation that other schools, namely Washington and Oregon, could soon follow.

What will the Pac-12 do if USC and UCLA leave? ›

When USC and UCLA leave for the Big Ten, the Pac-12 will have 10 member schools. One very obvious reason for Pac-12 presidents and chancellors to stay at 10 is that in any new media rights negotiation, the final figure for its media rights package will be split 10 ways, not 12.

Is UC moving to the Big 12? ›

The Big 12 announced on Sept. 10, 2021 that UC, along with Houston, UCF and BYU, would join the conference, kicking off an exciting fall that saw the Bearcats' football team become the first Group of Five program to reach the College Football Playoff.

Why is BYU not in the Pac-12? ›

For years the BYU Cougars made overtures to the Pac-12 trying to earn an invite into the conference. Unfortunately for them at the time, all the Pac-12 wanted to do was date them, they were never willing to settle down and marry.

What is Riley getting paid at USC? ›

Lincoln Riley, USC: $10 million (estimated salary) 3. Nick Saban, Alabama: $9.75 million. 4.

Why is the Pac-12 falling apart? ›

The reality is the Pac-12 has been on a downward trend for years. Many will pin the blame on former commissioner Larry Scott and his inability to make the conference relevant along with their fellow four major leagues.

What is USC paying Riley? ›

28 to take the Trojans' head coaching job. USC paid $4.5 million for Riley's buyout; $1.08 million for defensive coordinator Alex Grinch; $360,000 for outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons; $141,000 for cornerbacks coach Roy Manning; and $129,000 for strength coach Bennie Wylie.

What is the hardest UC school to get into? ›

The hardest college to get into in the UC system is currently UCLA, which has an undergraduate acceptance rate of 11%. That's even more selective than Berkeley! When it comes to attention given to students by instructors, UC Santa Barbara has the lowest ratio of students-to-instructors at 17 to 1.

Why are UC schools ranked so high? ›

Founded in 1869, the school system earns high marks for its STEM and humanities programs, multi-billion-dollar research centers, and proximity to dynamic cities like Los Angeles and San Diego. So, it's no surprise that some of the UC schools' acceptance rates are on the low side.

Which UC school has the nicest campus? ›

The University of California has a number of beautiful campuses (keep reading), but the Santa Cruz campus is often considered the most impressive. There's plenty of beauty to explore across the 2,000-acre campus, including the caverns of Porter Caves.

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