Pac-12 Powerhouses in Big Ten’s Expansion Radar: UW and Oregon under Consideration



Big Ten Shows Interest in Pac-12 Expansion, Adding Washington and Oregon

In a game-changing move for college football, the Big Ten conference is considering expanding its membership by adding the University of Washington and the University of Oregon from the Pac-12. This potential move comes as the Pac-12 faces potential implosion, with two other California schools, Stanford and the University of California in Berkeley, also in consideration for joining the Big Ten.

The Big Ten’s expansion plans are set to take place at the start of the 2024 football season, with UCLA and Southern Cal already making the switch from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten. This shift has dealt a major blow to the Pac-12, as two of its most prominent football programs have now joined the rival conference.

The push for expansion by the Big Ten is part of a larger arms race between two super-power conferences in college football: the SEC and the Big Ten. After the SEC successfully added Oklahoma and Texas from the Big 12 in 2021, the Big Ten responded by targeting schools in the western region, ultimately securing USC and UCLA from the Pac-12 in 2022.

In an effort to remain relevant, the Big 12 has also expanded its ranks by inviting Houston, Cincinnati, UCF, and BYU to join its conference. The Big 12’s expansion plans are not yet finished, with the recent addition of Colorado and a potential addition of Arizona. This leaves Utah and Arizona State ready to leave the Pac-12 as well.

With the potential loss of six teams from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten and four teams to the Big 12, the future of the conference looks uncertain. Oregon State and Washington State could be the last remaining members of the Pac-12 if these moves come to fruition.

Meanwhile, schools from the ACC, including Clemson, Florida State, and Miami, are becoming increasingly interested in joining the SEC. The landscape of college football is rapidly changing as these conferences make strategic moves to solidify their positions and increase their bargaining power.

The Pac-12’s slow response in renegotiating their television and streaming contract has put them at a disadvantage. While the SEC and Big Ten have secured long-term extensions and expanded into super-power conferences, the Pac-12 has lagged behind. Their indecisiveness and lack of proactive measures have jeopardized their future, leading to potential extinction.

In a scramble to secure a new television deal, Pac-12 officials considered a potential offer from Apple’s streaming service, Apple+. However, this deal fell short compared to the lucrative contracts already secured by other conferences. With schools like Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah being courted by the Big 12, the Pac-12’s future hangs in the balance.

On the other hand, the Big Ten has a strong broadcasting foundation, with partnerships with Fox, CBS, NBC, and the Big Ten Network. Their recent contract worth $8 billion further solidifies their position as a dominant force in college football. The addition of Washington and Oregon to the Big Ten would enhance the conference’s profile and expand its influence.

Looking ahead to the 2023 college football season, defending champion Georgia is the frontrunner to win another national championship, followed by Alabama, Ohio State, and Michigan. USC represents the highest-ranked Pac-12 team, with Washington and Oregon also showing potential. USC is favored to win the Pac-12 Championship Game, while Ohio State and Michigan are co-favorites in the Big Ten Championship Game.

As the Pac-12 and Big Ten continue to make moves and reshape the college football landscape, the upcoming seasons promise to be filled with excitement and uncertainty.

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