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Pac-10 expansion forthcoming?

Probably not, but with a new commissioner on the way, talk has been renewed about the possibility of the Pac-10 becoming the Pac-12.

Matt Hayes of the Sporting News has an blurb up discussing this very issue as he makes the case for expansion. The small piece also, of course, discusses Utah as one of the possible two teams who could join the league in the future.

Lost amid the hoopla of Tom Hansen retiring as Pac-10 commissioner is this reality: The league could be the next to expand to 12 teams. Hansen fought expansion, but shrinking university budgets could force the Pac-10's hand.

Expanding to 12 would allow the conference to split into divisions and reap the monetary rewards of a championship game while giving the league more negotiating weight with television and bowl contracts. Two of the top candidates for the job -- WAC commissioner Karl Benson and former Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg -- have the personality to sway the league's presidents and would be proactive in pursuing expansion.

Any expansion would revolve around television markets, which means BYU and/or Utah (Salt Lake City) would be at the top of the list. Boise State would be the top draw in terms of fan interest. ...

I'm not so sure Karl Benson would be proactive in getting Utah and BYU to the Pac-10 after how they bolted the WAC in the 90s, however, he probably understands, like Hayes, they're the best options for expansion.

Boise State drawing the most interest is interesting, because they definitely have a better football program than Utah at this time, but, outside of that, do not bring much to the table. Boise is a fairly small town, their basketball program has yet to get a good footing and Bronco Stadium still is too small for a traditional Pac-10 team, even though they're planning on expanding. So I don't see Boise State as being a realistic option for the Pac-10, at least not now. However, in 10 to 15 years -- with the conference still likely to be at the same ten teams -- they may be an option.

Keep an eye on expansion talks, but probably realize the Pac-10 will continue to stay the Pac-10 for the foreseeable future.