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As the college football conference expansion and realignment process rolls along, much of the attention seems to be centered around what will happen in the Pac-12, which is still scouting a new media deal, but where some schools do appear to be looking for a way out should the numbers not be right.

Two names that stuck out right away in that conversation were Oregon and Washington, arguably the last major brands remaining in the Pac-12, and which were rumored to have already spoken informally with representatives from the Big Ten. Nothing official ever came of those talks, but long-time college football analyst Paul Finebaum wonders if a merger might become a real possibility in the future.

"They really don't need them," Finebaum said, via The Marchand and Ourand Podcast. "And knowing the intricacies of conference realignment, it takes a long time to bring a school in. I've watched this in the SEC a couple of times."

That long time it takes to bring on new schools may have led the Big Ten to have those informal talks with both schools as soon as possible, meetings that insiders reported were happening as early as last year, around the time the league announced its intention to add USC and UCLA.

Logistics seem to be the big thing in the way of the Big Ten going west, especially given the long trips schools will have to take to play road games, but given that the conference is adding two schools in Los Angeles starting next summer, it's clear that where you are on the map is irrelevant to decision makers as long as the move pays.

"It's a nightmare from a scheduling standpoint, but I think it's a grab, right now, and they're attractive," Finebaum said. "Why do you want them? Because people are interested in watching Oregon and Washington. They're very big names and very big brands. And forget geography. We've exhausted that conversation."

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