Former Pac-12 head coach Rick Neuheisel, who was run out of town at UCLA after his four-year bolstering 21-29 (.420) record, said recently that a primary reason that the SEC was any good is because ESPN is always playing them up.
“You wonder how the SEC became so powerful? It’s a direct correlation to how ESPN has been talking them up over the years, because they have a financial interest in them. So all the sudden, it’s a monster conference.”
For the record, ESPN is invested in the Pac-12, having signed a rights deal in partnership with Fox Sports that covers 12 years and $3 billion for the conference. Neuheisel still isn’t convinced that’s enough to make a network like ESPN change its focus.
“I think they just want to be competitive in all the time zones, but we’re still not given the same amount of attention as the SEC or the Big Ten. Watch `(College) Game Day,’ and the Pac-12 will get one block, and it’s usually just about USC or Oregon.”
So, ESPN media coverage is the real reason for six in a row? What about the fact the SEC has put more players in the NFL than Pac-12 (250) and Big 12 (224) combined? Does ESPN impact how Auburn or LSU play against Oregon?
ESPN has interests all over college football, not just the SEC. The reason that the SEC dominates and will continue to dominate is two-fold. First, there’s an abundance of top talent in the south. Second, folks in the south care more about football than the west coast.
Out in Pac-12 country, people give equal time to football and things like gluten free, organic foods. Football just isn’t that important. Down south? Well, we do silly stuff like wear Alabama gear on our wedding day and get stuff like this done. I know we’re weird down here, but this fan frenzy helps drive the success in the SEC.
The bottom line is Rick Neuheisel either has no idea what he is talking about or he’s just trying to make stupid statements to get in the news. Probably a bit of both.