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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Occidentally Overlooked

Courtesy of GeoMidpoint and Google Maps
I'm well aware of East Coast bias. Frankly, I've got it in spades. I've been known to call western North Carolina "out west" and disregard any state that wasn't one of the 13 colonies. but I don't think I realized how much the Pac-12 is isolated from the rest of the Power Five teams until I saw it mapped out.

While I tend to equate the Pac-12 with their West Coast roots, the conference actually has all of the P5 schools in the Mountain and Pacific time zones. They've got every school west of the Rockies, of the Continental Divide, and save for Texas Tech, the entire western half of the country, as divided by the continental US' geographic midpoint. In addition to fighting the media trust in New York, Atlanta, and Chicago, they're just plain far from the rest of the schools in the Power 5.

There are a few other markers that hammer home this point. The geographic center of the Power 5 schools is in Argyle, MO; about an hour from Mizzou and 100 miles as the crow flies from the mean center of US population. Without factoring in the Pac-12, that marker moves about 300 miles east to Morgantown, KY. The Pac-12's geographic midpoint is in Austin, NV; the next closest conference midpoint is the Big 12 in Broken Arrow, OK, which sits on virtually the same meridian as the midpoint of the the Power 5's east-west midpoint (Wahpeton, ND, with Oregon and Boston College being the extremes). In short, the Pac-12 is far from everything and everyone else, and while they haven't always done themselves favors in scheduling, the map does tip pretty solidly away from them.
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