By Andy Staples, SI.com
1. The Pac-10 desperately needs a better TV contract. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Stanford's 36-28 win against Oregon State on Thursday, but I know that because I live in Florida, my chances to watch the Pac-10 are severely limited. While the SEC plays the best football from top to bottom, the Pac-10 plays the most watchable brand of football with high-scoring offenses and defenses that, while they do give up a lot of points, aren't WAC bad. Unfortunately, most of the country can't find FSN -- the Pac-10's other partner besides Versus and the ESPN/ABC goliath -- on its collective cable box. Pac-10 commish Tom Hansen, who used to administrate the NCAA's ghastly TV package that loved to force part of the country to watch Appalachian State-The Citadel when Oklahoma played USC, will retire next summer. That means his successor will be in charge of negotiating the next deal, which would begin in the 2012 season. Take a cue from the SEC's recent megadeals. People like college football. Some network will pay. That network is Fox. Broker one national standalone telecast a week and sell the rest to ESPN and FSN. Do not settle for this split telecast garbage that keeps the rest of the country from watching. When in doubt, take eyeballs over money. That way, when you've got everyone hooked, you can negotiate a much richer contract the next time around.
2. Jim Harbaugh is building something special at Stanford. Just don't expect him to be around to see it through. Harbaugh is recruiting just as well as he is coaching. Earlier this month, he snagged a commitment from Mansfield, Texas, RB Stepfan Taylor, who picked the Cardinal over Texas A&M, Notre Dame and Wisconsin. Harbaugh already has 14 commitments for 2009, and most of those players chose Stanford over schools with more recent football success. If Harbaugh can take the Cardinal to a bowl this year, he will be the hot candidate for any jobs that open after the season. Middleman-to-the-stars Chuck Neinas will call every day, and schools will throw gobs of money at Harbaugh, who has succeeded in finding players despite dealing with some of the toughest entrance requirements in Division I-A. That doesn't mean Harbaugh would succeed at another school -- Tyrone Willingham hasn't -- but it won't stop those schools from trying to snag him.