They say all is fair in love and war. The same applies, apparently, for conference realignment.
With the Big Ten swiping USC and UCLA, the Pac-12 finds itself in a position quite similar to the one that the Big 12 was in a year ago, when it was announced that Texas and Oklahoma were heading to the SEC. Though the leagues have something in common by way of being spurned, there’s no love lost between the two.
First, some context: Jon Wilner of The Mercury News sent a tweet comparing the average football attendance of the Pac-12 and Big 12 from 2019—the last season undisturbed by the COVID-19 pandemic—excluding the soon-to-be departed teams. He noted that the Big 12 averaged just under 5,000 more fans per game than the Pac-12 did, calling it “not a significant difference.”
The Big 12’s official Twitter account was not too thrilled with the comparison, and offered to present the data a slightly different way:
Judging the two leagues’ attendance figures by percent of capacity, seven of the eight remaining Big 12 teams average at least 88%, with six averaging over 93%. The Pac-12, by comparison, has only five of its 10 remaining teams above 80%.
Is any of this meaningful? Not really, but it’s also not much of a surprise that the Big 12 would jump at the chance to thumb its nose at the Pac-12. When the Pac-12 formed its now-defunct “alliance” with the ACC and Big Ten a year ago, the Big 12 was notably left out. The two leagues have been reported to be eyeing one another’s schools as realignment rumors continue to swirl, with every other conference trying to keep up with the mighty SEC and Big Ten.
Wednesday’s Twitter beef likely won’t factor into any of this, but it’s just the latest bit of sniping in a conflict that’s doesn’t look to be resolved any time soon.
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