"I won't go dreaming about where we might be, but there is a really good conference out on the West Coast that it would be wonderful to be part of, eventually," Apple said today, alluding to the Pacific-12.
On its face, this doesn't really tell us a lot. Of course Hawaii would like to be in the major conference in their region. But it doesn't make sense at this time. The Honolulu television market ranks only #72 in the country. Travel costs to the islands are prohibitive. And there is definitely still an air of exclusivity among Pac-12 presidents regarding academics that may not play in Hawaii's favor. However, there are many factors that make Hawaii a provocative choice for Pac-12 expansion down the road.
Larry Scott has targeted Asia as a major focus of the conference's growth--and Hawaii would serve as a major gateway to Japan and Polynesia, connecting with those markets in a way that no other state could. That could make Hawaii far more valuable than its TV market would suggest. It would further entrench the Pac-12 is what is becoming a very fertile recruiting ground. And, unlike a Boise State, Hawaii's academics aren't really that far behind an Oregon State or Arizona State. Hawaii could fit academically within the conference.
Of course, nothing at all is imminent, and this doesn't make sense at this time. But monitor future trends. I wouldn't be my house on it, but it would not shock me to see this discussed in a more mainstream manner at some point down the road.