A huge amount of news was released Thursday morning, with Pac-12 insider Jon Wilner reports that the USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins plan to leave the Pac-12 conference and join the Big Ten conference as early as 2024.
According to Wilner, the move has not yet been completed “at the highest level of power,” but regardless of whether it has received the final stamp of approval, even the thought that it is potentially possible is a huge power shift in the world of college athletics, and college football in the world. special.
If it does eventually happen, one question remains…
What are the Oregon Ducks going to do?
As it is, the Pac-12 is already seen as a relatively weak conference, and one of the lesser among the Power-5 conferences in college football. At the top of the Pac-12 you have brands like Oregon, USC, UCLA, Utah and the occasional Washington. You take away two of those programs, and what’s left? The answer is an unmistakable runt of the nest.
For that reason, it’s also hard to blame USC or UCLA for wanting to leave. If you look at the Big Ten, it’s one of the best conferences in the nation, second only to perhaps the SEC. They have the state of Ohio, and Michigan, and the state of Michigan, and the state of Penn, and countless other schools that can conserve their water nationally. The things the conference can offer the Trojans and Bruins don’t even compare to the Pac-12.
So that begs the question… should Oregon try to follow UCLA and USC? If Oregon goes, will Utah follow? Is this the first sign of a real college football super conference? The SEC is heading in that direction with the addition of Texas and Oklahoma in the coming years, and this could be right there.
If you’re the Ducks, you probably won’t be able to stay in the Pac-12 if those two teams leave. Oregon is already struggling to maintain national relevance unless they have a superior season, and even then they need a conference championship and a year with 1 loss or better to even smell the College Football Playoff.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. It could mean that the era of super conferences is on the way, which would probably be great for college football fans, but potentially fatal for mediocre teams like Colorado, or Washington state or Oregon state.
We won’t know for sure any time soon, but this is definitely a story to keep an eye on in the coming months.
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