Kalani Simpson Sidelines

Kalani Simpson

ACC expansion a hot
topic even in Hawaii

WE couldn't actually see the phone lines, not from where we were sitting, but they must have been lit up like the eyes that were dancing in Paul Arnett's glasses.

It was quite a thrill. All buttons were flashing. All phone lines were full. We couldn't believe it Thursday night at the end of the Star-Bulletin's weekly sports radio show. Every line was blinking and we weren't sure quite how to deal with this kind of thing. People were calling! Lots of them! This just doesn't happen in (mostly) once-a-week shows with occasionally floating time slots and amateurs behind the mic.

But we'd found the magic this time. Gold, baby. We'd hit what broadcast experts call a "hot button topic." The public's pulse said that people -- at least the people who call sports radio shows -- really, really, really want to talk about the dominos that will tumble thanks to the Atlantic Coast Conference's plans for expansion. And especially what all this could eventually mean for the University of Hawaii.

And those dominos will fall. At least we think so.

It could mean anything, really. It could be opportunity for Hawaii and the WAC or it could be the end of the world as we know it. You can't blame people for getting all stirred up.

The conversation evoked these basic concerns (followed by my own comments).

>> UH should join the Pac-10 Conference: Ahahahahahahahahaha! Aaaahahahahahaha! Aaahahahahaha! ... Oh, wait, you were serious. Sorry. Well, that would be great. For UH. Not sure quite what the Pac-10 would get out of it. But yeah, that would be great.

Of course, there is some speculation that the Pac-10 might scoop up BYU and Utah just to round up to the magic number, 12, the way everyone is doing these days. I would be shocked if the Pac-10 wanted to get to lucrative conference championship game status so badly that it would stoop to take Utah (or even BYU), but OK, maybe it could happen. And if so, Paul said on the air that night, then UH should have at least as good a chance as Utah to join that exclusive club.

On paper, if the Pac-10 is in the mood to elevate someone from a Bracket Buster conference, then definitely. But even then, the tiebreaker might be that little matter of being a five-hour plane trip away.

>> I was just listening to the radio, and did I really hear you guys talking about UH joining the Pac-10? Are you crazy?: Possibly.

>> Crawling back to the Mountain West would do UH very little good if everything hits the fan, and besides, those guys are a bunch of vermin: Yeah.

>> UH should stand pat and do nothing and wait to see what happens: Yes. I have to agree with that. Of course, I don't really see that Hawaii actually has any other choice at the moment. You don't decide to join conferences, conferences decide to let you in. (Or out.)

Unless you're Miami, yes.

And there aren't many Miamis around.

The Big East may have just vaporized. It matters not that Syracuse is a world away from North Carolina. Or that joining the ACC actually makes it harder for Miami to win another national championship. All the big boys are lining up by the dozen, and everyone else is in danger of being left in the dust. History and geography and logic are out of fashion, and finance is all the rage.

Nobody knows what happens next. Boston College in the ACC. Dogs and cats living together. People actually calling our radio show.

Strange days, my friends. Strange days indeed.

Kalani Simpson can be reached at


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