Skip to main content

An Alliance With the ACC/Big Ten Might be Pac-12's Only Choice

The ripple effects of Texas and Oklahoma moving to the SEC look to change the landscape of college football forever.

Since Texas and Oklahoma accepted their certainly spur of the moment invites to the SEC, the future of college football remains as much of a mystery as ever. The ramifications of the move haven't been felt quite yet, as the two schools aren't set to join the SEC until 2025. 

However, it's highly anticipated the Longhorns, Sooners and Big 12 will be entering a long legal battle in which the SEC hopes to play with their new toys earlier than anticipated. 

Simply minding their own business, the rest of the Power-5 conferences (Big 10, ACC and Pac-12) are now forced to scramble in the hopes of not being drowned in what is sure to be an overly-saturated SEC market. 

Three's Company

As reported by The Athletic, the commissioners of the ACC, Pac-12 and Big Ten have held discussions about forming an alliance between the three conferences in the wake of Texas and Oklahoma moving homes. 

Just a few weeks ago, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff met with Big-12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby to discuss potential options between the two conferences. It appears those talks didn't spark anything to fruition, as the Pac-12 now shifts towards talks with other conferences. 

The alliance between the three would mainly benefit all parties involved with scheduling and policy-forging. Simply put, the SEC is now primed and ready to fully take over Saturday's television viewing for the entire day while also appearing to have a strong pull in dictating future policies. 

What an Alliance Means

After losing their two biggest cash cows and with no apparent resolution in sight with any other Power-5 conference, it appears the Big 12 is all but dead if the ACC/Big Ten/Pac-12 alliance is formed. Whether the conference dissolves or simply wallows into mediocrity much like the Big East did nearly a decade ago, it appears the best days of Big-12 play are behind us. 

As previously mentioned, scheduling and policy-forming are two big reasons for the remaining three Power-5 conferences to accompany each other. With the Pac-12 on the west coast, the Big Ten showcasing teams in the Midwest and the ACC handling east-coast duties, the alliance would properly reach each portion of the country.

While the SEC can offer mouth-watering matchups week in and week out, an alliance between the three conferences could look to do the same. Ohio State-Clemson, Oregon-Penn State and Miami-USC are just some of many potential meetings that could propel national interest and ultimately garner a fairly lucrative television deal, although each conference still finds themselves locked into current deals with networks. 

Pac-12: Deal with ESPN/Fox runs out in 2024
ACC: Deal with ESPN runs out in 2036
Big Ten: Deal with ESPN/Fox runs out in 2023

As AP's Ralph Russo points out, policy-forming by the NCAA is beginning to regress, with conferences shouldering more responsibility in those regards. The SEC could very well stronghold the rest of college football into following their word should each conference remain inferior. 

An alliance would help ensure that doesn't happen. Russo also points out an alliance would help keep big dogs such as Ohio State and Clemson from joining the conference themselves. 

Why an Alliance Might be the Pac-12's Only Choice

Despite ranking third in gross revenue generated last season, the Pac-12 is often forgot about on the grand scale of college football. Whether that's due to playing later in the day where viewing isn't optimal or just the sheer lack of representation in prominent College Football Playoff games, other conferences don't view the Pac-12 in and equal light to themselves. 

A merger with a Big 12 conference that didn't contain Texas or Oklahoma simply wouldn't have done anything to keep the conference in its current position or improve it. 

It's very apparent something must be done, at least in the eyes of the conferences. Should the Pac-12 not join in on the ACC/Big Ten's adventure, it would simply be a disservice to every team in the conference moving forward for multiple avenues, which were explored earlier. 

The Pac-12 would fall behind the only remaining power conferences left, a hole they likely couldn't dig themselves out of.

For better or worse, times are changing in the world of college football. While the SEC will look to transform into a mega conference that rules all, an alliance between the ACC/Big Ten/Pac-12 would help ensure some sort of balance moving forward. 

Should they not join, Pac-12 football would still be played. The sun would still rise each morning, and programs such as USC and Oregon would remain prominent in conversations. 

However, working as a conference that prides itself on its forward thinking, but also leading the way for others, this may be the Pac-12's golden ticket to keep rotating on their own axis.