CU Buff fans, I know you're excited about your move to the Pac-10. Truthfully I might be excited about road trips to places like Eugene, LA and Tucson.
But let's be honest... you are going to an athletically inferior conference.
Yep, the conference you're leaving is a better conference than the one you're going to.
Don't believe me? Let's look at the numbers of the two sports most college fans follow: basketball and football.
This year's basketball season hasn't begun yet, but the coaches are again bullish on the Big 12 and bearish on the Pac-10, ranking FIVE Big 12 teams in the inaugural poll, while a single Pac-10 school made the cut.
Last season the Big 12 got SEVEN teams into the NCAA tournament, placing 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8 and 10 seeds. The Pac-10? They placed Cal as an 8-seed and Washington as an 11-seed. Two of the Big 12 teams, Kansas St and Baylor, made the Elite Eight, neither of the Pac-10 schools made it past the Sweet 16.
Anomaly? Not quite. In 2009 both conferences got 6 teams into the Dance with Missouri and Oklahoma making the Elite Eight. Pac-10? One team made the Sweet 16.
Which conference was the last to have a basketball national champion? Why that's the Big 12 after KU cut down the nets in 2008.
It's not like there isn't basketball history between the two either... they play the annual Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series, which the Big 12 won 9-3 last season and holds a 20-16 edge in the three season series'. It's such a dominating performance, in fact, that the Pac-10 declined to continue the series past this season.
Are you looking for talent? SEVEN Big 12ers were drafted in the first round of the NBA draft, TEN total in the two rounds of the draft. The Pac-10 had a total of two guys drafted.
Over to the gridiron, this season the Pac-10 has a great team in Oregon, ranked #1 in the BCS, deservedly so. Along with Stanford and Arizona, those three are the Pac-10 representatives in the poll. Compare that to the Big 12 who has a total of 6 ranked teams inside the Top 25: Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas State, Texas A&M.
Last season was no different, as the Big 12 saw 8 schools get bowl bids, one of which played in the national championship game, going 4-4 overall. The Pac-10 went Bowling 7 times, going 2-5.
The year before? Seven Big 12 schools went to bowl games while 5 Pac-10 schools saw bowl action.
And in terms of talent, you can't overlook the fact that the Big 12 had the first four picks in the 2010 NFL draft. By the time a Pac-10 school's name was called, at number 10, FIVE Big 12ers were in the Champagne room. A total of NINE Big 12ers went in the NFL first round, compared to two Pac-10ers. The year before? The Big 12 outdrafted the Pac-10 7-4 in the first round. (Let me reiterate that a total of SIXTEEN Big 12 players were drafted in the first round this year's NBA and NFL drafts compared to three Pac-10ers in the first round of those drafts).
The last team from either conference to win a national championship? That'd be the Big 12'sin 2005 (beating the Pac-10's USC). In fact, no Pac-10 school has won the national championship since the start of the BCS in 1997* (*assuming USC 2004 has to vacate because of Reggie Bush). In total, 2 Big 12 schools have won BCS national championships, and the conference has played in seven title games. The Pac-10 hasn't played in a non-Reggie Bush title game.
Listen CU fans, I am not an anti-Buff. My wife, her sister, cousin, dad, mom, 2 aunts, uncle, grandpa and grandma are all CU alumni. Her grandfather played for Colorado's 1940 NIT championship team and living in Denver, it's impossible for me not to follow CU.
I am also the same guy who made the claim that the Buffs should leave the conference over a year ago. So, if you want to call me hypocritical you have every right to do so.
But as I was reading some comments on SB Nation's Ralphie Report the general theme was that the move to the Pac-10 was a step up. As a Big 12 alumni, and devoted fan, I took offense.
It might be that some of the Pac-10 cities are "sexier" than Big 12 cities. I wouldn't necessarily disagree with that. I also wouldn't disagree that Boulder is one of the more liberal towns in America, and Colorado is now a blue state, so it would be philosophically more in line with the left side of the country than the red "fly over states." And some of you guys will probably know more about the economics of the move than I do... but this is a sports blog, so I am discussing sports.
And when it comes to the cash generating sports, there is no question that the Big 12 is a better athletic conference than the Pac-10.
I hold no grudges and don't mean to criticize your enthusiasm. I think that anytime you can date the prettiest girl in school you should go for it. I do know, however, that sometimes when you dig a little deeper, things aren't quite as they appear.
Good luck to you and hopefully we can meet again somewhere down the line.