Here we are in the first week of August and instead of talking about the upcoming season, realignment has completely taken over.
It seems like every single Power 5 conference has moving parts coming in or going out. The SEC added Texas and Oklahoma last year while the Big Ten added USC and UCLA. Plus, the ACC is in a bit of hot water with the whole Florida State situation.
The latest domino to fall in the wheel of realignment was Colorado coming back to the Big 12. But if you know anything about dominos when they are lined up it is that when one falls, they all fall.
Over the last couple of days, rumors have swirled out west when it comes to the other four corner schools (Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah). Outside of those three Pac-12 schools, Washington and Oregon are also two schools to keep an eye on as well.
Those two west coast schools have been linked to the Big Ten for awhile now and it seems like the Big Ten may finally bite. Yahoo Sports reported that Washington and Oregon are the only two schools that the Big Ten is interested in. Ross Dellenger reported on Thursday night that the Big Ten’s offer to Washington and Oregon was in the $35-40 million range per year. Call me crazy but those two would be stupid not to take that deal right now.
On Friday, Oregon and Washington reportedly told the Pac-12 they intended to accept an invitation from the Big Ten.
The Big 12 reportedly approved Arizona’s application to the conference on Thursday. Now it’s up to the Arizona Board of Regents to make the move official. ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported that Arizona is amid the final steps of moving to the Big 12. Unless something drastically changed, it appears that Arizona will become the next member of the Big 12 Conference.
This is good news for the Big 12 because Arizona may be the final domino to fall to help make decisions for the other schools in the Pac-12.
If Arizona does decide to move to the Big 12, that will likely force the other schools’ hands. The question for the Big 12 is what to do with Arizona State and Utah? Both of those schools have been extremely hesitant and have claimed loyalty to the Pac-12 over the last few months. However, as I mentioned yesterday in an article that Arizona State AD Ray Anderson’s tune completely changed from being all in on the Pac-12 to making the best move for the school.
Now, reportedly, the pair are interested in joining the Big 12, amid the Oregon-Washington news.
While it is still possible that the Big 12 takes only one more school from the Pac-12, I just have a hard time buying that if Arizona State and Utah are on the table. Plus, there have been reports of Brett Yormark talking with Arizona State at length as well. Of course, the one man to throw a wrench in all this seems to be Arizona State president Michael Crow.
The more I read about him the more I think he could be the reason why Arizona State doesn’t follow in Arizona’s footsteps. If he wants to hitch his wagon on a dead conference, then that’s on him.
Another school I mentioned earlier was Utah. There isn’t a lot coming out from them but from everything I have seen, they would fall in line with the Arizona schools which means if they go then Utah will follow.
While Arizona seems to be nearly a lock to join the conference, we truly just don’t know enough about the other schools in the Pac-12. There are plenty of questions that still need answering the one thing I know is that Arizona seems to be the final, key piece to the puzzle when it comes to realignment out west.