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Possibility of Stanford becoming independent looms as Pac-12 appears to be crumbling

Stanford appears to be one of the few teams that will be hurt by conference realignment

When discussing the subject matter of conference realignment, the thought of every program not ending up somewhere rarely crosses the minds of most. 

However, in the case of four of the remaining Pac-12 programs that harsh reality could come to fruition any day now. With Colorado off to the Big 12, the Pac-12 was left stunned and in a survival mode with little wiggle room to work with. There was a proposed media rights deal that was heavily based on Apple streaming, but the remaining programs in the conference didn't bite. 

The expectation has been that the remaining three corner schools will follow Colorado to the Big 12, and the latest reports out of Big Ten country indicate that Oregon and Washington are the main priorities in their expansion discussions and Stanford and Cal are on the outside looking in. Thus presumably leaving Stanford, Cal, Oregon State, and Washington State wondering what's next for them. While nothing has officially happened, and there is a small chance that the Pac-12 can stick together, the writing is on the wall. 

While staying united and merging with the Mountain West or maybe even being picked up by the ACC could be possibilities, of those three programs Stanford has the biggest and most respectable brand. Their brand of being one of the premier academic institutions in the world along with the fact that they are the most successful athletic department paves a way for them to be independent. Something Chris Karpman of 247Sports mentioned was a possibility for them on the app formerly known as Twitter.

However, if Stanford were in fact to go independent questions about how much money they alone can bring in would be a major question. Their rival Notre Dame stands out as a successful independent, but they also happen to be one of the biggest brands in all of college sports who rack in $22 million per year from their deal with NBC while adding an additional $11 million from their other sports. 

Not to mention, if Stanford does in fact become an independent they, similar to Notre Dame will need a conference for their other sports as Notre Dame has ties with the ACC for non-football sports. This again puts Stanford in a peculiar situation, because there doesn't appear to be a conference out there that makes sense for all but football to join.

The next couple days will reveal the answers to some of these major questions, but right now the biggest question is whether or not becoming an independent is the right move for Stanford.