USC and UCLA are expected to leave the Pac-12 Conference to join the Big-10 “as early as 2024” according to Jon Wilner. The Pac-12 has not been notified of a potential move and is reportedly blindsided by the move, according to ESPN’s Heather Dinich, much like Texas and OU’s move to the SEC blindsided the Big 12.
Source: USC and UCLA are planning to leave for the Big Ten as early as 2024. Move *has not been finalized* at the highest levels of power.— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) June 30, 2022
This would be yet another seismic shift in the college athletics landscape that would require USC and UCLA to play in a conference with *checks notes* Rutgers? I guess we’re taking the whole “sea to shining sea” thing literally. Does that make the Big-10 America’s conference? And what does this mean for #Pac12AfterDark?
This move further bolsters the Big 10 Conference and is a clear response to the SEC adding OU and Texas a year ago. It also breaks the alliance formed between the Pac-12, Big-10 and ACC as a response to SEC aggression. This potential move also hurts the ACC in that the Big-10 could look to poach Notre Dame by luring the Fighting Irish into a conference that features both Michigan and USC.
The news comes at an interesting time for the Big 12 Conference with commissioner Bob Bowlsby set to begin his final month as conference commissioner and just a day after Brett Yormark was named the new commissioner of the Big 12 Conference. Yormark, hopefully with the help of Bowlsby, will have to discuss the potential of trying to poach Pac-12 schools like Arizona, Arizona State and Utah, or staying put with the current set of 12 schools the conference is set to move forward with after Texas and OU depart.
On a different note, USC and UCLA’s potential move to the Big-10 Conference further demonstrates that college football is moving away from a regional model and accentuates that TV rights deals ultimately rule college football. Realignment is far from over and the Pac-12 now joins the Big-12 as a conference that needs to be ultra-aggressive in trying to keep its remaining members while exploring which schools would add the most value to the conference as a potential new member. Schools like Colorado State and Boise State have been considered by the Big-12 as potential new members and the Pac-12 may enter into the picture now that two of its flagship programs are considering a move to a different conference.