Within the next 24 hours, the world of college football will once more change. USC and UCLA, two Pac-12 flagship programs, are expected to announce their move to the Big Ten in 2024.
“The Big 12 has never been aggressive (in conference realignment), but they should contact those four Pac-12 schools and tell them, ‘Come on board because there’s nothing left in the Pac-12,’” the source says.
The four teams most likely to be considered by the Big 12 are Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah. Another conversation that could occur would be combining the two conferences in hopes of making a super conference, though talks aren't currently in motion as of this time.
The Big 12 made headlines last offseason when Texas and Oklahoma jointly announced their intent to leave the conference in favor of the SEC. In a corresponding move, the Big 12 added BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston — all of whom are set to join on July 1, 2023.
Currently, the Big Ten and SEC are set to have 16 teams in each conference by the start of the 2025 calendar season. Expansion might not stop there. Multiple reports have indicated that the Big Ten is interested in adding several more programs following the move in the coming years.
"College football will soon move to super conferences," a source tells LonghornsCountry.com. "Everyone was waiting for the first domino to fall. It happened last year with Texas and Oklahoma. The Big Ten didn't hesitate to act upon it."
The additions of Arizona and Arizona State could work due to its long rivalry and geographical location. Utah, which joined the Pac-12 in 2011, would also form a natural rivalry with the arrival of BYU.
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Colorado, which departed the Big 12 following the 2010 season, likely would be welcomed back with open arms by new commissioner Brett Yormark. Should all four teams elect to depart the Pac-12, the new combined conference would reach 16 teams.
One thing to monitor would be the Big 12's future television deal. Adding more Power Five programs could bring in an extensive revenue for the conference that in years past has ranked near the bottom of conference broadcasting.
Expansion from the Pac-12's side is far from imminent. Earlier this month, commissioner George Kliavkoff told The Oregonian he wasn't concerned that any program in the conference would leave for the Big Ten despite rumors. He also stated that the conference was content with 12 teams entering 2023.
"We had the opportunity when conference realignment was going on last summer to canvas our president and chancellors and it is clear to me that everyone who’s in the Pac-12 is committed to the Pac-12," Kliavkoff said. "I’m not worried about that. We’re not looking to expand; we had lots of opportunities to expand. We’re really happy at 12.”
FanNation.com will continue to keep you up to date with the final verdict from the Big Ten and the fallout from within the future of conference realignment.
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