As we've detailed before, the Pac-12 Networks are still struggling to get the DirecTV deal done for whatever reasons. It's unclear why--probably the Pac-12 wants more than DirecTV is willing to give, and DirecTV wants to pay less than the Pac-12 wants to pay. So there you are.
Jon Wilner has floated a theory around based on what would get DirecTV to pick up the network: As much success for USC as possible.
The Trojans are the Pac-12′s only national football brand (the way Oklahoma and Michigan and Alabama are national brands); they’re the reason the conference selected Sept. 22 as the day to use one of its precious No. 1 picks in the broadcast schedule "draft" with ESPN and Fox:
The Pac12Nets wanted USC (against Cal ) as leverage for distribution deals.
Perhaps I’m overstating the situation, but it seems to me that the Trojans are a more attractive content carrot if they remain undefeated and ranked No. 2 (or 1) heading into the Cal game.
Would a loss to Stanford this weekend undermine the Pac-12′s chances of reaching an agreement with DTV next week … or at any point during the season?
That means rooting for the Trojans to beat Stanford up (sorry Cardinal fans, it appears to be for the greater good) to set up an important early matchup against Cal (although there's a good chance they'll be 1-2).
Clearly Oregon (already making their second Pac-12 Network appearance this weekend) isn't enough to move the needle for DirecTV. Despite their success and the flashy new program, they just don't draw the eyeballs the Trojans would. USC clearly has the largest Pac-12 fanbase out there, and their following is national. Outside of some SEC powers, Texas and Notre Dame, no school has the cache of the Trojans. With a few exceptions, nearly EVERY USC football game has been on national television for the past decade and a half.
USC's first appearance on the Pac-12 Network next week against Cal should do the trick, right?