Another year - another round of Conference Realignment.
This time it’s USC and UCLA to make the jump from the PAC-12 to the B1G for truckloads of cash. Amateur sports! As things currently stand, this is how those two conferences look:
I have a feeling this is not how at least one of these conferences is going to look going forward.
Perhaps the most probable outcome is the PAC-12 adds two to four teams and stabilizes itself for the time-being just like the Big 12 did last year. I’d say their first few calls in an effort to kill the Big 12 before it has a chance to kill it would go to Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, BYU and one of TCU/Baylor. Needless to say, this would be quite bad for Iowa State and the remaining Big 12 leftovers.
Speculating about that scenario makes me sad so let’s move on.
Assuming optimism prevails and all the current and future Big 12 teams stand firm in their commitment, the Pac-12 will look to the best of the rest. Just like the Big 12 last year, you can’t really replace two big name programs with two small name programs. It helps to go a bit bigger and grab four. This best of the rest group includes teams like Memphis, USF, Tulane, and SMU to name a few. But I went with a slightly more geographical approach where they kill the Mountain West and get Boise State, SDSU, UNLV, and CSU. I will fully admit that geography means nothing in this day and age but dammit this just makes more sense.
Now it’s time to have some fun and get weird with it. I assume most of you fine readers will want the Big 12 to get bigger and stronger and secure our beloved Big 12 brethren places in Valhalla. If you don’t feel that way, get bent. The rest of this article isn't for you.
The below is what this writer believes is the most logical and sensible path forward. And by this writer I mean everyone on Twitter and by most logical and sensible I mean that it is good for ME.
Many feel Oregon and Washington not being included in the move to the Big 10 was a bit curious. My feeling is that USC/UCLA wanted to keep this as close to the vest as possible in order to avoid leakage. Now that this is out, you no longer need to avoid leakage and can talk much more freely to your slightly less wealthy friends. Including Oregon and Washington in the Big 10 would only increase that leagues value you would think. Plus it gives the Big 10 a West Coast Pod to appease their 15 sports fans.
If the initial move of USC and UCLA is moral wound to the Pac-12, this is their execution.
The Big 12 is then free to pick up the most logical and sensible four schools and go straight to 16 teams. Those being the long-rumored Arizona schools, our old pal Colorado, and Utah to pair with BYU.
Big 12 East:— Michael Lev (@MichaelJLev) June 30, 2022
Big 12 West:
It's ... not completely horrible?
This cool and good scenario then begs the question, what the hell do you do with the remaining Pac-12 schools? Stanford and Cal have being playing Big 10 football for awhile now and seem like a good fit on the field. Both certainly have their own value, of which Stanford has more of. If the Big 10 goes with just adding 2-4 Pac-12 teams, does Stanford go independent? Is Cal, Oregon State, and Washington State left in the lurch? Us Iowa State fans can sympathize with that sentiment. Having less schools involved in major football is certainly worse for the sport, this feels like the way the wind is blowing. Until there is some sort of oh, I don’t know...some sort of modern governing body for big time college athletics run by let’s call it a Commissioner...it’s watch out for own ass and screw everyone else.
So with that in mind, instead of the Big 12 doing the most logical and sensible thing as mentioned above - the Big 12 should do the RIGHT thing. It’s only right and trust to include all those who were included before (sry G5 losers) and merge. I present to you -
THE PIG CONFERENCE:
This takes you all the way to 22 schools, which is a force to be reckoned with. This may be too many Not Big Name Schools and at 22 schools perhaps have diminishing returns. But Big TV needs content and just by sheer volume would have to pay you something to fill time-slots.
All of the above speculation are mostly just thoughts on what's next. Truthfully, the only thing we know is that these schools are going to follow the money. That money current resides in the Big 10 and SEC but some point adding more and more schools just isn’t worth the squeeze. Some schools are though. Generally, that’s where most see the college landscape going. There are going to be two clear conferences on top and then I think two other conferences trying to keep their heads above water. This means one conference has gotta go or at the very least merge. This time around, it feels like the PAC-12 is the one with its head on the chopping block. But one domino falls and it could be the Big 12 all over again.
I would like to purpose the downfall of two conferences that merge into one. And it’s not the PIG merger mentioned above. But the last two conferences that should ever merge with each other...the PAC-12 and ACC. The ACC has a silly contract that lasts through 2036 or something that pays them peanuts comparatively. I think Clemson and Florida State won’t tolerate that for much longer and they jump ship and kills the ACC as we know it. We’ll call it the Coastal Conference. I am great with names.
This all leads to four power conferences with 20-ish teams per. Maybe.
This will be 100% accurate. Book it.
I have the Big 12 going ALL IN on basketball and going after Duke and UNC. Taking Cal to get into California and bringing on Pitt to satisfy WVU. The Big 10 picks up Oregon and Washington as previously suggested...but they get the biggest fish left in Notre Dame who is finally forced to a conference. The last member of the SEC was a difficult one but went with UVA for its size and proximity to the large D.C. metro market. The “Coastal Conference” makes little to no sense but may no longer be considered a Power Conference at this point. But this writer wants more teams in the mix than less so best of luck to them.
The great sport of college football is going through wholesale changes that on the surface seem to be bad for the sport. Every school is going to do what is in their best interest. Here’s hoping you and your team make it to Valhalla.