The Pac-12 continues to appear in a dire situation as one of its top programs was reported to be meeting with the Big Ten earlier this week, as the Oregon Ducks sent representation to Chicago to meet with the wealthiest conference in college athletics to determine compatibility.
A second wave of hysteria has seemingly broken out around the country with regards to when the Pac-12 will crumble, although there are those that beat the drum that everything is doing just fine.
Well, Brett McMurphy of Action Network doesn’t see clear skies over the Pac-12, but rather a storm on the horizon that could level what remains of the conference.
“The Big ten’s not done,” McMurphy started “I reported back in July, the sources told me they weren’t done expanding. I’m still hearing that same information.”
“This is the first step along the process to add Oregon to the Big Ten,” McMurphy said of the reports on Monday of the Ducks meeting with the Big Ten. “Basically at this point it’s lawyers and people getting together and making sure, I guess a play on words, all the ducks are in a row.”
The Big Ten adding more teams from the Pac-12 is a no-brainer as it gives USC and UCLA more teams to play in a geographical area that makes sense.
“The biggest criticism of adding USC and UCLA is putting those student athletes out on an island. Well how do you solve that problem? You have four more schools from the Pac-12 and that takes care of any travel concerns. I think the Big 10 [gets] to 20 schools and I would think they would want to bring them in the same time as USC and UCLA before the 2024 season.”
With Oregon seemingly preparing to jump ship, it might not be long before we see others do the same, effectively killing the Pac-12 and leaving college football with just four “Power Conferences.”
“It wasn’t too long ago we had the six [automatic qualifying] conferences. The so-called power conferences back then. The Big East was one of those six and what happened, they got raided by the ACC and now we’re left at the Power Five. The same thing I think unfortunately is going to happen with the Pac-12. They’re going to lose four schools to the Big Ten. And then I think four schools out of Pac-12, the Arizona schools, Utah and Colorado, take a lifeline to go to the Big 12. Then there’s no more Pac-12 and then we’ll be left with four power conferences. Although realistically there’s only two.”
Once the Big Ten reaches 20 teams, it can be reasonably expected that the SEC would match that number by adding four more schools. McMurphy expects the SEC to look at schools in the ACC, regardless of their grant of rights which is locked in until 2036.
“The SEC I think would also want to get to 20,” McMurphy said. “The challenge for the SEC is their top targets are all in the ACC and as you know, they were granted rights for 14 more years. However, if somehow some way somebody from the ACC can figure out a way to get out of the grant of rights, then I would expect the SEC to look very seriously at North Carolina, Virginia, Clemson and Florida State.”