FBO: Utah rising in new Pac-10
Can the Utes shake up the power structure in their new home?
With what appears to be the final step in the conference realignment saga of 2010, Utah will join Big 12 refugee Colorado in a move to the Pac-10. In the Utes' case, they become only the fifth college football team in the BCS era to be promoted into an automatic-qualifying conference (Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida joined the Big East in 2005; Connecticut did so in 2004).
This may not have been the mega-deal the Pac-10 was originally seeking, but it will shake up the balance of power in the west -- though it isn't the big league transfer that will be leading the charge. Colorado's last winning season was in 2005, and the Buffaloes won't pose much of a threat to contend for Pac-10 titles in the immediate future.
Utah, on the other hand, may very well start conference play as one of the favorites. Since 2003, Utah has a 7-3 record against Pac-10 teams, 5-0 at home. Only the USC Trojans have a better overall winning percentage against fellow Pac-10 teams in the same span (50-10; .869). Against current Pac-10 teams, Oregon (40-20; .666) and California (35-25; .583) are next in line. The winning percentages for the Ducks (1-1 against Utah since 2003) and Bears (0-2) go down, of course, if we include the Utes in the Pac-10.
To see how Football Outsiders thinks the Utes will fare in the new Pac-10, you must be an ESPN Insider.
Brian FremeauESPN Insider
• Creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a measure of college football team efficiency
• Contributor to Football Outsiders and his own site, bcftoys.com
Texas' decision to stay in the Big 12 has put conference expansion on pause -- for now. But it's a temporary solution. Pat Forde »