Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss a theory that Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren planned to betray the ACC and Pac-12 ‘alliance’ in order to steal USC and UCLA, and debate if there’s any truth to it.
PAT FORDE: You want to get weird, I'm going to give you--
DAN WETZEL: Let's get weird. Let's get weird.
PAT FORDE: OK. Let me give you a conspiracy theory that was dropped on me by an influential pod listener.
DAN WETZEL: Uh oh.
PAT FORDE: I mean, it's sometimes shocking and a little bit unnerving that responsible people and people who have some import in college athletics listen to the pod. But they do. And sometimes they even like the rooster murder stories and things like that.
DAN WETZEL: Sure. Sure.
PAT FORDE: But. Yeah. Who doesn't like a good rooster murder? Anyway this conspiracy theory that was dropped on me-- and if it's true, Kevin Warren is a Jedi master Machiavellian like gangster to the n-th degree. So here it goes. That the reason the Big Ten just against all of our common sense thoughts jumped into the alliance with the Pac-12 and the ACC and sided against playoff expansion was that it knew if playoff expansion went through, the Pac-12 is in a much better place.
And so if they had their eyes on USC and UCLA from the jump, from very shortly after Texas and Oklahoma went to the SEC, and the first calls are OK, what do we do how do, what's our move, and the quick consensus is you go to LA and you get those schools. OK, we can't do that right now. But that's going to be the play. How do we string this out? How do we play this along?
Kevin Warren says, hey, guys. Listen to me. We can stop the SEC from this power play. And all along he's thinking, that's going to leave USC and UCLA unhappy and vulnerable when we're ready to go. What do you think of that?
DAN WETZEL: I don't think they needed that.
PAT FORDE: Well, maybe not.
DAN WETZEL: Possibly. Possibly. Because look it never made-- like the Big Ten opposing the playoff plan didn't make any sense because it was like you're always getting-- whatever. You're getting in.
PAT FORDE: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: Like what was the-- I can't remember what their argument against it was. The Pac-12 was protecting the Rose Bowl. The ACC had wanted a holistic approach. And I mean, what did the Big Ten want? Were they the ones with the five--
PAT FORDE: Didn't they want automatic bids? Yeah. Five automatic bids.
DAN WETZEL: The Big Ten champion. Not one of the top six?
PAT FORDE: Right. It made no sense. So what were they thinking? Maybe it was this.
DAN WETZEL: Maybe. But they could-- I think even if there was, well if it's the TV move-- all right, here's the thing. Even if there was an automatic bid in the Pac-12 right now, they could still get USC and UCLA. UCLA was broke. I think you've confidently say I can get these guys because I got so much money.
That playoff bid certainly would be a plus because it's easy access to the playoff for the Pac-12, which wasn't getting it. But I don't know that would overwhelm the money. It did though weaken significantly the Pac-12 post USC, UCLA. So we'd almost have to be two or three chess pieces ahead. Did Kevin Warren do that? I don't know. I think he just bumbled into it, and was like, man, these guys are idiots. Why did we oppose this thing again?
PAT FORDE: I mean, that could well be the case. That could well. I just thought I thought it was an interesting theory because I think so many people in college athletics have been sitting here wondering for a year plus, why did the Big Ten ever oppose a 12 team playoff?
DAN WETZEL: Why did any of them?
PAT FORDE: I know.