A memo to our friends at the four corners schools: Get out while you can!
On Monday, several reports surfaced that Oregon was having preliminary conversations with the Big Ten Conference. The Oregon brass was recently in Chicago to determine the Ducks’ compatibility with the richest conference in college athletics.
So, if you’re one of those four corners schools, which include Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah, what are you waiting for?
It’s been obvious since UCLA and USC bolted for the Big Ten that Oregon and Washington did not want to continue on in the Pac-12. They may have signaled a willingness to do it as a back-up plan, but now that reports are leaking that the two schools in the Pacific Northwest are already trying to get out of the conference, why would any Pac-12 team stay in the conference and hope it survives?
The TV networks that would be interested in the Pac-12 as a programming option have got to be skittish. Why would any network bid hundreds of millions of dollars on Pac-12 programming to have the conference fold within the next couple of years?
It’s a waste of time, money, resources and a black eye for all involved.
The report this week that Oregon and the Big Ten had informally met feels like a convenient leak. It’s a way for Oregon to signal to the rest of the Pac-12, like your ex who broke up with you through body language signals and well-placed cues, this isn’t going to last much longer, honey.
It’s over. The Pac-12 is done.
And if you’re Colorado, you have to know this feeling all too well. One of the reasons the Buffaloes bolted the Big 12 was because they were concerned that if the Big 12 collapsed, they had no partner in the league to leave with. They were alone on an island.
Well, Colorado is essentially back there again. And while some in the Colorado administration may view the Big 12 as a JUCO league, the reality is that they would be lucky to get back into the conference at this point. I believe they should be welcomed back in with open arms, and if Arizona, Arizona State and Utah are smart, they will also start looking east.
At this point, the only benefit to the four corner schools to not leave the Big 12 is to not get the blame for ultimately sinking the Pac-12.
But no matter what kind of guilt George Kliavkoff tries to lay on the remaining Pac-12 teams, or the media narrative pushed by Stewart Mandel and others, there are three parties to blame for the Pac-12’s eventual collapse: The Big Ten, USC and UCLA.
His anger at the Big 12 has always been misplaced and foolish.
When the obituary for the Pac-12 is written, the Big 12 may get a footnote about being the final nail in the coffin, but the actual being of the Pac-12 was dead long before that.
And where Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah end up in the obituary remains to be seen. But they will be able to write their way out of it, if they so choose.