With the biggest realignment since the Berlin Wall was built upon us, the Pac-10 and Big Ten are scrambling to position themselves to enjoy larger revenue streams.
But blinded by the thrill of the poach, these conferences have ignored the sleeping giant in this whole process, the one that can draw more students and alumni to television screens than any other.
The University of Phoenix.
Check the stats. Right now, the Phoenix has more than 422,000 students, and it's growing. That'll be a million pairs of eyeballs in no time. U of P has students across the country, giving it national appeal (hear that, cable providers?). And with its name on the stadium in Glendale, Ariz., it's in the Fiesta Bowl no matter who plays.
No campus? No tradition? No problem! The first time Texas plays U of P, it would be the same as playing Washington State -- just another team the fan base couldn't care less about.
Concerned with academics? Phoenix has that covered, too. While Oklahoma State athletes are missing class on a West Coast swing in the Pac-16, U of P's students can stay on schedule with their slate of online classes. They could put the "student" back in student-athlete!
Phoenix is the future.