I give Oregon State coach Mike Riley a lot of credit for having the nerve to stand up and not go all political correct on us with how he feels about the new alignment in the conference:
“I would split it right down the middle,” Riley said. “I want to have a presence and play games often in Southern California, both financially and recruiting-wise.”
I understand how important it is for Pac-10 coaches to retain their presence in southern California. A big part of recruiting in that area is telling the prospective players they will get their one game per season at home. At the same time, I wouldn’t blame the coaches in that part of the conference for fighting these guys on that same policy. I wouldn’t expect them to be OK with these guys from the Northwest walking in and stealing players out of their own backyard. And this “zipper” schedule is the first step toward old rivalry games like the Civil War being placed somewhere in the middle of the season — because nobody is going to like cross-division games coming the week ahead of the conference title game — (the chance of playing the same team in back-to-back weeks, they say).
To me, if you try to take something of a global view, it’s kind of a shame that it’s so impossible to compete using just players from up here. Our scholarships always have to go to players from out of state — rather than Oregon kids. It’s the only way the teams can be good enough to compete on a national level.
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And competing on a national level is the only thing anyone these days will be satisfied with. College sports have become a monster — a beast that keeps getting bigger and hungrier. And I’m not sure where all that ends up.