Hotline mailbag: Kliavkoff’s grant-of-rights challenge, UCLA’s fate, Big 12 fans, streaming options, SDSU’s position and more

The Hotline mailbag is published each Friday. Please send questions to or hit me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline.

Please note: Some questions have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Why should the so-called Four Corners schools stay in the conference when Oregon, Washington and Stanford will continue soliciting the Big Ten, even if there is a short term grant-of-rights signed? — @CjAzWildlifeLaw

We know why Oregon State and Washington State will accept any proposal. But why should Utah, Colorado and the Arizona schools be held at ransom by Oregon, Washington and Stanford when they will leave at the first opportunity? — @DamonDawg

This is the added complication — the very reason the Hotline views Pac-12 survival as merely a four-point favorite over Pac-12 extinction.

(That’s on a neutral field, by the way.)

Were the calculation entirely about annual revenue, survival would be a substantial favorite. We believe Arizona, ASU, Colorado and Utah would prefer to remain in the Pac-12, and there’s no indication that either league has a significant advantage in future revenue.

But the long-haul stability issue certainly must be considered.

The Hotline does not believe the Big Ten will expand again this decade. In our estimation, Notre Dame will sign a new deal with NBC and remain Independent, limiting the Big Ten’s options.

But admittedly, that’s a precarious assumption for the Four Corners schools.

At this point, the challenge for commissioner George Kliavkoff is crafting a contract that provides flexibility for Washington, Oregon and Stanford and security for the others.

That could be a six-or eight-year deal with an opt-out clause in case the Big Ten comes calling.

Why would the Four Corners agree?

Welp, Utah won’t sign a 10- or 12-year deal with the Big 12, and we aren’t sure Arizona State would, either.

Those schools want flexibility in case the long-anticipated FBS split unfolds and the call comes from the upper tier. (The Phoenix media market is No. 1, per Nielsen DMAs.)

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The other issue is timing:

The Pac-12 is negotiating its media deal now and will offer schools a written contract; the Big 12 cannot negotiate for two years and, as a result, is limited to offering projections and promises.

If the revenue is right, Kliavkoff’s task becomes vastly easier.

Rumor is that ESPN was in on the SEC grabbing Oklahoma and Texas, and Fox was in on the Big Ten grabbing USC and UCLA. When it comes to Pac-10 expansion, is ESPN really the one making the choices? — @brycetacoma

It’s hardly a rumor. ESPN and Fox drove the SEC and Big Ten expansion moves — they are the grandmasters in the realignment game.

And in the case of Fox Inc., … err, the Big Ten … company executives are participating in the league’s negotiations with other media partners.

ESPN will be the dominant force in the Pac-12’s process, for better or worse for the conference:

Either it gobbles up most of the inventory at a satisfactory valuation or lowers the bar for everyone by merely nibbling.

Can we stop talking about realignment for a second and realize we’re less than 30 days from kickoff? Nothing will …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News

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