Gary Barnett, pictured above during happy times at Northwestern, has less than flattering things to say about... the school he left Evanston for.
Talking about Colorado's departure for the Pac-10 on the Tony Bruno Show:
"Truthfully, Colorado doesn't bring much to the table except probably the Denver TV market. When you look at football and basketball over the last four years, they've really been inept. They only have 16 sports. So the only thing it looks like to me, at this point in time, that you could really say Colorado and Utah bring is the fact you'll have 12 teams and probably have a conference championship game. But until Colorado turns around and is able to compete and contribute in that conference, that's about what you have is an even number that allows you to play a conference championship, I think."
Let's leave aside the personal axe Barnett has to grind with his former employer and look at some of the ramifications this somewhat pervasive sentiment has on the Pac-10 moving forward.
You noticed the little side swipe at Utah in there and have to wonder, as the Utes await an official invitation, if Pac-10 officials may be getting cold feet. Might there be lawyers arguing deep into the night over what the potential cost would be if they "dis-invited" Colorado? Not because CU or the U of U lack the proper "prestige" the Pac-10 may be looking for, but for other reasons.
The top issue is for the current Pac-10 institutions to agree upon the new 6 team divisions within the conference. All that really boils down to is every team not named USC and UCLA making sure they get to play in southern California as often as possible. The most logical political solution would also be the most illogical from a geographical standpoint. Split up USC and UCLA into different divisions but preserve their rivalry by making it "permanent" on the rotation.
In other words, just how the SEC does it. Play the 5 teams in your division annually, play one team in the other division on a permanent basis, and rotate the other two games amongst the 5 remaining teams in the other division. Granted, the SEC abides by geography in its divisional alignment but the Pac-10 can't afford to operate that way.
If USC and UCLA played in the "Pac-12 South," those left out would begin to resemble the Big 12 North... and we saw how well that turned out.
All of this could have been avoided had the Pac-16 idea not imploded on itself, leaving the conference to wonder if Plan B was really worthy of being an option in the first place.