Kiszla: Ten years after joining Pac-12, Buffs look as out of place as Ralphie wearing a Speedo on the beach

You can put a buffalo in a Speedo, but can’t make Ralphie look at home on the beach.

Ten years ago, the University of Colorado sold a century of athletic tradition for a spot in the Pac-12.

A decade later, the Buffs find themselves in a hairy situation, with no meaningful rival in a league struggling to maintain its prestige in the big-money sports of football and men’s basketball.

Mike Bohn was the CU athletic director in 2010. He was also Jed Clampett, relentlessly selling the idea that Californy was the place the Buffs ought to be. Swimming pools. Movie stars. Goodbye, Stillwater. Hello, Hollywood.

Joining the Pac

It’s been 10 years since CU decided to leave behind the Big 12 in favor of the Pac-12. This series examines what has happened since, as the Pac-12 has struggled to maintain national relevance, the Buffs football program has floundered and the school has watched its former Big 12 peers pass it by in terms of revenue and resources.

Part I: Where is CU 10 years later?

Part II: How lagging Pac-12 revenue affects CU

Part III: Recruiting and the California gold rush, coming Monday

Part IV: Culture and rivals in the Pac-12, coming Tuesday

Part V: What the future holds for CU, coming Wednesday

We were told the Pac-12 had become a better cultural fit for Colorado. And maybe that was the definition of progress in a Rocky Mountain state that preferred to be recognized for aerospace and LoDo nightlife, even if it meant disavowing its hardscrabble past of ore-digging and cowboy bars.

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“It was never about any disrespect to any member of the Big 12. It was more about that fundamental positioning and the profile of CU in the West,” Bohn told my Denver Post colleague Sean Keeler.

Ten years ago, I argued long and hard with Bohn that paying a multimillion-dollar exit fee to forsake neighbors in the Big 12 was a mistake unlikely to pay dividends for CU on the field, the court or in the athletic department’s bank account.

A decade later, anyone willing to take an honest look can see a Speedo emblazoned with a Pac-12 logo still looks wrong on Ralphie.

I was lectured 10 years ago that CU had little choice but to bolt for the Pac-12, because the Buffs were not only sick and tired of seeing Kansas State suit up and play C-prep students but those greedy Texas Longhorns always grabbed an unfairly big piece of financial pie.

And one more thing: A regional sports network, promoted by slick-talking Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, would have CU rolling in dough.

Well, other than trips to Palo Alto, Calif., being a whole lot more scenic than hitting the road for Manhattan, Kan., how’s that working out for you, Buffs?

Since 2011, K-State not only recruited current Broncos offensive lineman and Wiggins High School alum Dalton Risner right out from under CU’s nose, those dastardly Wildcats have made eight bowl appearances to the Buffs’ one.

And should we mention the Big 12 put in excess of $38 million in …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports

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