USC and UCLA to the Big Ten?
And you thought the Big Ten was just going to let the SEC have all the fun.
Pac-12 Insider Insider Jon Wilner shook up the world with his tweet that the Big Ten would expand to include USC and UCLA — or at least nearly make it happen.
That is it. That’s the move. That’s EXACTLY what the biggest, richest, and most powerful conference in the sport had to do to push back against the SEC landing in Oklahoma and Texas — and I still won’t believe Texas is actually doing this and not going to the Big Ten , or stay put, until I actually see it.
And now everyone will go crazy and wonder what happens next. What’s next for the Big Ten, and the SEC, and the Big 12, and Notre Dame, and the Pac-12, and college football?
Big ten. What is it doing now?
You mean besides heating up the money printing machine?
1) It adds two powerful academic institutions. UCLA immediately becomes the second best school in the Big Ten behind Northwestern, and USC is right up there with Michigan.
2) It was the two biggest schools that made sense, given that Notre Dame is still not a real possibility and the ACC is all but off the table with its horrible Grant of Rights deal that locks up its member institutions.
3) Do you want to play, SEC? Yes, having Houston and Atlanta and parts of Florida is good, but Los Angeles, Chicago, New York — or whatever New York is in the college football landscape — most of Pennsylvania, Detroit, all of Ohio, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee.
4) From coast to coast. The Big Ten is now a truly national conference from sea to shining sea. The SEC is regionalized to any part of the country. However, the Big Ten – for all its big stuff and exposure – isn’t going to make much of a dent in SEC markets.
5) North Carolina. It makes too much sense. For all the talk of the SEC taking over world domination, take North Carolina and USC and UCLA, and… Notre Dame?
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Pac-12. What is it doing now?
Commissioner George Kliavkoff came in and talked about expanding, and being forward-thinking, and seemingly ready to expand the brand, but now must merge the markets to make up for the loss of these two monster schools.
There are a few moves the conference can make right away to ease the pain a bit.
1) First off, forgive the overuse of this bit, but it works – you can’t replace Giambi and Damon, but you can work your way through to get it right.
The Big 12 did it by helping four major schools with large fan bases and enrollments and markets — BYU, Houston, UCF, and Cincinnati — make it right.
The Pac-12 needs schools, markets and fan bases. Don’t get caught up in the sporting aspect of expansion – it comes and goes; it’s about the business side of things.
Kansas just won the National Basketball Championship. The football side may be struggling — to be nice — but it has Kansas City and St. Louis along with a national hoops base. It’s also a Tier 1 graduate school and it works well with Colorado being relatively close.
Kliavkoff has all but said from the get-go that Las Vegas will be part of the mix, so forgetting how bad the football team has gotten UNLV is like the Big Ten bringing in Rutgers.
San Diego State makes too much sense – big market without the NFL, new stadium, repositioning school partnering with Arizona and Arizona State. The only problem is the Tier 1 research side – it’s not there, and neither was Nebraska when the Big Ten took it upon themselves.
It doesn’t replace USC or UCLA, but Kansas, the state of San Diego, UNLV, and let’s get the idea of…
Notre Dame. What is it doing now?
Do you think Notre Dame wants to be left out of the party?
The Big Ten is now starting to make much more sense. There’s already a rivalry with USC, there’s the national feel of the conference — more than the ACC or SEC, anyway — now in the odd dance these two have done over the years, the Big Ten is now in the much , much stronger position.
Or the Pac-12 makes a roll.
Keep the game at USC every year, but attend the conference with Stanford and Cal, and keep the academic profile high while in a manageable competition with big markets and not a bunch of killers on the slate.
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SEC. What is it doing now?
Lock down Texas and Oklahoma and don’t let them go.
It’s already a done deal, but pay whatever it takes to get those two into the conference now, because Texas always made more sense for the Big Ten, and it does even more so now. Oklahoma always made more sense for the Pac-12, and it does even more so now.
But that’s not happening – Texas and Oklahoma are going to the SEC.
No, going after Clemson, the state of Florida and Miami doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t increase the footprint or the markets. The Big Ten is now coast to coast – the SEC has to leave the bottom right of the country.
Notre Dame and North Carolina are the dreams, but if the Big Ten can move from one side of the nation to the other, why not Washington? Why not Oregon?
No, assume the SEC is sticking to what it has — remember, ACC teams are pretty much stuck in their media deals.
Big 12. What is it doing now?
Go Go Go.
Go pitch Arizona and Arizona State.
Go pitch Colorado to come back. Go see what you can get out of the Pac-12 and get harder, better, faster, stronger.
Lock your programs more realistically. Keep the Pac-12 from snooping around Kansas, the state of Iowa, and the state of Oklahoma. Or go after San Diego State, Boise State, UNLV and Colorado State – take on the Mountain West teams before the Pac-12 wakes up and does it.
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college football. What is it doing now?
No, it’s not the end of college football as you know it. It’ll be fine, it’ll be fun and it won’t really change your love of the game the way you might think.
Most important of all is an extension of the College Football Playoff.
Now it’s a must, as the SEC and Big Ten are way too big and way too powerful, and there must be a slot for a 12-team tournament that includes all Power Five conference champions and a Group of Five champion, all while they assure the two major conferences that they will each get their three or so stars in each year.
All that, and road trips to LA for the Big Ten fans.