Is ‘Colorado Looking For A Lifeboat;’ Is Big Ten Possible Landing Spot?

May 27, 2023, 2:38 PM


Brendon Lewis #12 of the Colorado Buffaloes throws a pass against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the third quarter of the game at Huntington Bank Stadium on September 17, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Golden Gophers defeated the Buffaloes 49-7. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — The drama within the Pac-12 is real with so many rumors and reports about what schools will do what.

There are so many things thrown against the wall. Without a new Pac-12 media rights deal, people around college athletics have speculated on the league’s future. There have been talks about Arizona’s schools, plus Utah and Colorado heading to the Big 12, and Oregon and Washington going to the Big Ten, or the worst-kept secret that the Pac-12 wants to add San Diego State and SMU.

Nothing has been done and the rumor mill keeps turning with nothing substantial — until media members like long-time Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel spoke up. He reported that Colorado could leave the Pac-12 “soon” and said as much on KSL Sports Zone’s DJ & PK. Tramel said that he is leaning toward the Buffaloes leaving the Pac-12 more than he did “three months ago.”

Getting accurate realignment information is hard. Look at the many conflicting reports about the Pac-12 possibly airing games on ION/Scripps Sports, that ESPN is completely out of the running for the rights for Pac-12 games, or maybe they are not. It is still a murky mess. One has to believe that schools must be looking at any and all options, and if they are not, then those presidents and athletic directors are not doing their jobs.

Colorado To The Big Ten?

Colorado is one of the schools that is seemingly looking at all of its options. The former Big 12 school has been linked to joining back up with its old league.

Jake Shapiro of Denver Sports joined Unrivaled to give his thoughts on the Buffaloes.

He predicted that the Buffaloes are looking at any league that would take them, not only its former conference.

“I think Colorado is looking for lifeboats at this point,” Shapiro said. “There is a reason they left the Big 12 years ago. The Big 12 culturally and [from an] academic standpoint does not align with what CU stands for as a school. I personally do not want them to go back to the Big 12.”

“I think the goal for CU is to find its way into the Big Ten. I am also really fascinated with College Football Playoff expansion if it is really that imperative for Colorado to jump conferences despite television rights deals…I’d advise against from making a rash decision right now as the climate is shifting more quickly.”

Projecting the Buffaloes to the Big Ten is a bold statement. However, Colorado is one of 63 AAU members and that is a big deal for the Big Ten, which prides itself on its high academic standards. Plus, the is a large amount of Big Ten alumni living in the Denver, Colorado, area. Per the Manhattan Institute from 2018, there are eight Big Ten schools that have an alumni base of 1.00-4.99 percent living in Denver. Only Los Angeles and San Francisco have greater bases of Big Ten alumni. It should be something that the Big Ten could look at when adding a new team.

The biggest problem for Colorado is its lack of recent success in athletics, specifically football. New head coach Deion Sanders — excuse me — Coach Prime — is looking to flip the script on Colorado’s football team as he heads into his first year as the Buffaloes’ head coach.

Playoff expansion is a good reason to weigh options accordingly. Fans should be more concerned with how good their favorite team performs over how much media rights money the school brings in. Even if Colorado were to turn it around and be a really good team, making the College Football Playoff in a Big Ten that has USC, Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State would be very daunting. Standing pat and making fewer dollars but getting into the playoff conversation would be more satisfying for fans.

What Colorado is reportedly doing by looking at its options is what Utah and other Pac-12 schools should be doing to secure a promising future for those schools’ athletic programs. The public message of staying together is ideal but there needs to be a backup plan if the new media rights deal is not up to par.

Tune into Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m. on 1280 AM and 97.5 FM, or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

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Is ‘Colorado Looking For A Lifeboat;’ Is Big Ten Possible Landing Spot?