Marc Daniels Monday Notebook: Big XII-Pac-12 Merger? Cam Smith And A Turtle

USC v Arizona State

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Did Phil Knight meet with new Big XII commissioner Brett Yormark and was a merger discussed with the Big XII and Pac 12? Who knows but the whispers are out there. For now, I am not among those who think this is a good idea. Why? Because I don't think today the Big XII needs a merger. I think the Big XII remains in a position of strength with its members solidified as opposed to the Pac 12, who despite public comments from a few ADs about being together, where it seems like no one knows what the future holds.

The Pac 12 exercised its option to open media negotiations with its partners a year earlier but that appears to be going nowhere since the league is not in a position to guarantee membership. Oregon and Washington are still holding out hope for a Big Ten invite that does not appear to be coming. Stanford has more talk about hoping to be paired with Notre Dame to the Big Ten or even go independent in football than sticking around. Arizona and Arizona State seem secure in that a Big XII invite is there when they want it. So why would the Big XII entertain a merger? The only reason to think about combining the two leagues is if media companies tell you it's worth more to be together. I am still not convinced of that today. 

I still think when the Pac 12 exclusive window to negotiate a new deal ends in the coming weeks, the Big XII can then go after one or more schools from the Pac 12. All they need is one and I don't see how the Pac 12 survives.

Phil Knight can be influential and maybe he can convince the new Big XII chief that Oregon is that important. But if the Big Ten doesn't offer the Ducks a lifeline, what leverage do they have? The Big XII might be in a position to pick and choose who they want and who they don't want from the Pac 12. I still don't think the Big XII or any league will find TV networks pushing for a conference to have 20 or more teams. At some point the larger the league the smaller the impact on media dollars.

So when might something happen? When the Pac 12 exclusive media window closes and if they have no real offer, they then know survival is challenged...

The SEC begins its Media Day festival today in Atlanta at the College Football Hall of Fame. There will be plenty of talk about SEC expansion but don't buy it. The league is content with its 16 and has no reason to expand again regardless of what happens in the Big XII and Pac 12. There will be lots of people telling you about Clemson, Miami, FSU, North Carolina and anyone else, but don't make it a bigger deal than it is. What will be interesting to watch is any league news about changing its conference slate from eight games to nine- something that won't be voted on by anyone this week. Also, what will Greg Sankey say about items such as: college football playoff expansion, unlimited number of scholarships and assistant coaches and how much money his conference is going to make in the years to come...

Australian Cam Smith shot 30 on the back nine and won the Open Championship at St. Andrews. He birdied holes 10-14 to start the back nine and then left an eagle putt short enough for an easy birdie on 18 and captured his first major. Rory McIlroy had no bogeys during his Sunday round but his last birdie came at 10 and left too many putts short and saw a golden chance to end his major drought slip away. Cameron Smith, who lives in Jacksonville, has won six times on the PGA Tour with his first three wins coming in a playoff and the last three all by one stroke...

Nuggets: MLB's Home Run Derby is tonight at Dodger Stadium. Dave Parker, then with the Reds, won the first Home Run Derby at the Metrodome in Minnesota. Pete Alonso, of the Mets, will try to win his third Derby tonight. Alonso won the event in 2019 and 2021(there was no Derby in 2020). The only player to win three Home Run Derbys is Ken Griffey Jr...Watched the end of the movie "Commando" for the 173rd time(loose guess), Arnold Schwarzenegger's character takes out the laziest and most inaccurate shooting army ever assembled. And how is it possible that Arnold can stand in front of six soldiers with rifles and they all miss while he takes out all six without moving his rifle?...A high school football coach told me this weekend one of his players recently asked him what he should ask for when it came to the schools recruiting him. The coach said he should ask about their academic support team, where freshmen players live and their nutrition plan among things. The player said "coach, I meant how much money should I be asking for? I don't want to leave anything on the table."...The Nationals' Juan Soto reportedly turned down a 15 year $440M offer and the team will apparently seek a trade. Maybe agent Scott Boras wants the game's first $500M offer but no team should ever offer any player a 15 year deal, or a 14, 13, 12, 11, 10 year deal. They never work. Juan Soto is just 23 and likely has 10 more years left but decade deals do not work. And Boras likely would want an out after 5-6 years anyway... Always end the Friday radio saying to do something kind for someone who doesn't expect it and they will appreciate it and you will feel good about yourself. Sunday, my wife and I were headed out for brunch and I spotted a turtle taking a tumble onto a street and was upside down. We stopped and my wife got out and picked up the turtle and placed him back on the side grass area close to the water. He paused for a moment and then headed back into the water and went on his merry way. In this case, we did something kind for someone who was in a tough spot and needed some help. I'm guessing we all felt better and brunch was fantastic.

Final note: Willie Mays hold the record for most all-times hits in the MLB All-Star Game with 23 in 24 games.

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