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Picture the Pac-12, and the Rose Bowl, If USC and UCLA Bolt for Big Ten

Word has leaked out that the Los Angeles schools are in discussions about joining the Big Ten.
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Envision this college football scenario: It's the Granddaddy of Them All, the 2026 Rose Bowl, that annual test of will between the Pac-12 and the Big Ten, when the West Coast and the Midwest collide.

The teams are coming out on the field now. 

Kalen DeBoer's Washington Huskies will be kicking off to Lincoln Riley's visiting USC Trojans.

Oh, what a New Year's Day tradition this is.

On Thursday, leading Pac-12 reporter Jon Wilner broke the news that the Los Angeles schools and for decades the backbone of the Pac-12 Conference and all of its iterations are exploring moving to the Big Ten.

As early as 2024.

In the college landscape, it's long-standing history be damned. Money and power, sort of like in politics these days, put all norms and everything familiar at risk.

While nothing official has been done in potentially breaking up the Pac-12, it appears these Big Ten discussions with the L.A. schools are pretty far down the road.

Any such move likely creates another football realignment free-for-all and immediately forces the UW and its remaining conference members to consider their options and survival.

After all, Oklahoma and Texas are headed to the Southeast Conference from the Big 12, effective in 2025. 

At the same time, the SEC months ago floated the idea of creating its own super conference since it wins practically every national championship.

The Huskies, with its fancy stadium, loyal fan following and large population base, would be a popular team to pick up if the horse-trading begins. Same goes for Oregon, simply for its financial resources. Arizona State, Stanford and California would have to fend for themselves, too.

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If everything comes apart, picture teams such as Arizona, Colorado, Oregon State, Utah and Washington State in the less populous areas joining the Big 12 or Mountain West to survive. 

Currently, there are 69 Power 5 teams, with the Big 12 adding BYU, Cincinnati, Central Florida and Houston for 2023.

The Huskies and USC regularly have played against each other since 1923, though they haven't met for going on three seasons now because of rotational league schedules and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UW and UCLA have been steady conference opponents since 1932. 

Things could get real messy before they sort themselves out.

As for that UW-USC Rose Bowl, it's been done once before. 

With World War II raging overseas and national travel greatly restricted, the Huskies and Trojans met in the 1944 game, with USC winning 29-0 in Pasadena.

It was a patchwork game without an intersectional opponent, just to have an event.

It definitely was one of the worst Rose Bowls ever.

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