Utah gets a birthday cake from Jake Ryan
Who knew that on June 17 the biggest beneficiary so far in this conference realignment mess would be Utah? At first glance, it might seem tough to go from being one of the biggest fish in the Mountain West pond to being a smaller fish in the Pac-10 lake. But there is absolutely no downside in this for Ute sports.
First off, the school has hit the jackpot…literally. As a member of the MWC, Utah was getting $1.2 million in television revenue. That figure will likely clear the $10 million mark once the Pac-10 renegotiates its TV deal.
Secondly, Utah is now a part of the nation’s most successful athletic league. The conference has led the nation in NCAA Championships in 43 of the last 49 years, claiming 167 NCAA team titles in the last 20 years alone.
If you’re a Ute fan, this is Christmas before Father’s Day. As for fans of the other schools in the league, they’re probably a lot less ecstatic.
You see, when you have your heart set on Texas and get Utah instead, it feels like a letdown. Think of it as a rich kid getting a used Hyundai at her sweet sixteen party instead of the Range Rover she was expecting.
Come on West Coasters, it’s not that bad. By gaining that 12th member, the Pac-10 can now act like a big kids’ league and hold its own championship game in football.
Also, in case you haven’t noticed, Utah’s been running a better football program over the past decade than pretty much every Pac-10 school outside of Los Angeles and Eugene. The Utes have made two BCS appearances over that time span, winning the 2005 Fiesta Bowl and the 2009 Sugar Bowl. They also have the longest current bowl win streak in the nation at nine games.