After a weekend of fizzled fireworks, the Pac-12 Conference returned to work at an early hour on Tuesday — yes, it is still in operation — and released a statement right off that it will immediately pursue media-rights negotiations.
Not sure how comforting that is to University of Washington football fans.
Five days following USC and UCLA boldly announcing their intentions to leave and gaining acceptance into the Big Ten, in the process catching everyone off guard, the UW finds itself in a position of high vulnerability and uncertainty.
It's like entering Husky Stadium for the first time and being unable to locate your seat.
Or for the hardened, try George Clooney as the astronaut in the movie "Gravity," suddenly untethered from his spacecraft and choosing to float through space.
Do the Huskies end up in the Big Ten, Big 12 or some sort of patched-together Pac-12?
It's clearly a fluid situation, which is hardly comforting to Husky fans who want answers now.
The amount of information about college football expansion spread across social media right now is staggering, changing by the minute, all unsubstantiated. Irregardless of all of the unnamed sources being cited, it's all very much guesswork and speculation at this point.
This much is clear: Husky football is going to look dramatically different in 2024, in regards to the league it belongs to, the money being funneled its way and the bowl or playoff alignment.
In a college sporting landscape motivated totally by greed, the UW appears to be bargaining from a position of good faith yet weakness. Sitting at the table, but not really holding any cards to win a big pot.
Suggestions have been made that should the Huskies become a Big Ten member, the school accepts a much lower payout than those core members, which puts it at an uncompetitive disadvantage from the outset.
What's particularly disheartening is the UW, in spite of all the recent coaching changes in Montlake, actually had made progress as a football entity over the past decade. The Huskies had appeared in the College Football Playoff, the Rose Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl, and won two Pac-12 championships.
Even now, new coach Kalen DeBoer seemed to be putting everything back into place with the prospects of winning again, offensive excitement and recruiting inroads.
It almost feels like the UW will have to start over in some ways.
The biggest fear is having a suddenly watered-down program left to navigate a Pac-12 that doesn't matter anymore to the larger scheme of things in college football or moving to a new conference and not being on equal footing with those standard bearers.
The only thing clear is some sort of deal will be hammered out over the two months, before the next season begins. The Pac-12 will need at least 30 days to negotiate whatever it has to sell for a TV contract. Serious bantering typically wouldn't have begun until next year.
In the above video, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff spoke in the aftermath of of Texas and Oklahoma announcing plans to join the SEC. The first-year exec somewhat naively reported what a great bargaining position his conference was in, in representing all of the West Coast to the Rocky Mountains without opposition.
Little did he know, USC and UCLA at that very moment had to be in early discussions to put an end to all of that.
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