Are Arizona and Arizona State ready to move up in class to the Big 12?

Arizona Sports News online

I put this on the site and TV back in 2016

Here we are now seeing Arizona and Arizona State going to the Big 12. What I didn’t think about back then was how different the world of college athletics, specifically football would look like.
Tempe and Tucson can’t continue to do business as usual now that they are moving up a couple of classes. The Wildcats found the NIL dollars to get the top offensive and defensive high school football players in the Arizona high school class of 2024. (Elijah Rushing and Demond Williams). Will they continue, and will ASU catch up? The decision makers at both schools can’t be caught up in their points and pensions. Moving up in class takes big, bold moves. Are both univeristies willing to commit or just keep doing business as usual in the Pac-12 way? Very fair question to ask.

Arizona State football is on their fourth head coach since 2015, with a record in that span of 50-47. Jedd Fisch has been a solid hire by President Robbins. Taking over the worst program in Division One Football and now having them in bowl contention is nothing short of amazing.

Here’s Arizona State head football coach Kenny Dillingham with me from Las Vegas at Pac-12 media day on how NIL is going at Arizona State(go to the 8:40 mark) .

Kenny Dillingham speaks on NIL, culture in Tempe

Do you really believe that TCU, Baylor, Kansas State, etc are hoping a single big cigar steps up for NIL? That’s not how things work in college football outside of the now next-to-deceased Pac-12. It’s no longer about how amazing the football facilities are, it’s about players getting PAID. Are there truly unlimited resources when it comes to recruiting and so many other aspects at ASU and Arizona moving up in class?

Sun Devil Stadium and Arizona Stadium will be interesting and intriguing with new schools coming in. Not all are going to move the needle and the mature fan bases like TCU, Kansas State, Texas Tech will travel big crowds and take over Frank Kush Field just like Oregon, USC, and Washington. Downtown Tempe and Tucson should be very pleased with this move.

How will sponsors feel about this move? Very fair question to ask.
Tim Hovik, Chairman Ford National Dealer Council, Ranking Ford Dealer in United States, and Owner of San Tan Ford in Gilbert is one of the leading voices in Arizona when it comes to sports sponsorship with pro and college teams. He sent over this text late Saturday afternoon. “I guess it’s the world that we live in with college sports. It’s kind of bittersweet. The Big 12 is a great conference and presents some new and unique opportunities. But I must admit, I grew up out West. The Pac-12 was my conference. Really torn. Excited about the future but have alot of regrets that the Pac 12 couldn’t figure it out.”
Gotta make sure now more than ever that sponsors are taken care of and feeling great(not just good) about the move.

How about the travel budget for a non-revenue generating sport having to go to Morgantown, WV and then Orlando, Florida? Does the TV money cover all of it? Will non-revenue generating sports be in danger if football and mens basketball don’t carry the water?

Will we finally see the Territorial Cup moved away from Thanksgiving weekend? One can only hope that FOX will see the sheer lunacy of playing the game opposite Alabama vs Auburn on Black Friday on FS1 or the almighty Pac-12 Network and move it to the middle or start of the season. The storyline is usually, “these two schools hate each other”, “this coach may be in his final game”, “bragging rights(ha)”, “what’s on the line is a trip to El Paso”.

Basketball is the big winner for the fans in this move. More on that as we get closer to October. Let’s just say that McKale Center and Desert Financial Arena are going to be rocking many nights on both the mens and womens side…