Category Archives: Conference Realignment

Conference Name Changes Messes with Identity, Brand

By Todd Neeley

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports the Pac 10 will officially change its name to the Pac 12, when Colorado and Utah officially join the conference, http://www.startribune.com/sports/gophers/99365819.html.

So, does this mean the Pac 10 really doesn’t have “brand identity?”

When all the news broke eariler this summer about conference realignment folks wandered into the strange discussion about what to call the new conferences.

The new Big 12 couldn’t be called the Big 10 (obviously), and with the possibility that the Pac 10 would add as many as six new teams, what to do next? Does it then become the Pac 16?

My initial thoughts were why the heck do you mess with conference names, regardless of how many teams are on board?

To me the number of teams in a conference matters very little. It really is about brand recognition.

It seems like the Pac 10 hasn’t taken seriously this name change.

I mean, aren’t people going to get confused between the Pac 12 and the Big 12? Obviously big college fans won’t, but if we’re talking about a brand name that a conference hopes to sell to whoever will listen, shouldn’t there be more concern about what’s in a name?

For example, even with 12 teams in the Big Ten starting in 2011 the conference would be careless to change its name. The Big Ten carries a lot of meaning, especially in the world of college athletics. The Big Ten is more than just a conference name, it’s an identity.

The Pac 10, I think, has developed quite a bit of a national reputation.

It maybe isn’t as established as the Big Ten in that regard, but you immediately think of USC and its national titles, the battles between SC and Notre Dame, the UCLA/USC rivalry, the major affiliation with the Rose Bowl, and so on.

When you consider the Pac 10 may want to add up to four more teams for a total of 16, why change the name now based on a number? Isn’t the league going to then turn around maybe five years from now and further water down the whole Pac 10/brand name thing?

Think about it. At the current rate of decline the Big 12 is experiencing because of Texas greed, it makes no sense at all for the conference to change its name. Although, it may make sense to rename the conference the “Little Nine Ruled by Texas” or something similar.

All joking aside, the face of college football is beginning what will be a major shift toward larger conferences and maybe a national playoff at some point.

Instead of getting caught up in renaming conferences, it makes more sense to leave well enough alone and let the chips fall.

At some point all conference identity could be lost in this name game.

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