Here we go Again…
OK, college football fans. Get out your Atlas. Check your air mileage points and your Best Western rewards.
Forget those trips to the Bay Area. No more weekends in Phoenix or Portland. You’re headed to Madison, Wisconsin and Lincoln, Nebraska.
Welcome to the Big Ten, you USC and UCLA fans.
The West Coast just tilted East. Looks like they’ll make it official with the Trojans and Bruins abandoning the Pac-12, which was once the Pac-6 and once the Pac-10.
Why did this happen and what does it mean?
Well, any question that starts with why almost always means the answer is money and that’s certainly the case here. Once Texas and Oklahoma announced they would leave the Big-12 for the SEC, it was almost inevitable that the two of the remaining marquee football schools, USC and UCLA, would have to find a more attractive landing spot than a conference that listed Arizona and Washington State as its members. Projections are that TV paydays could double for the mega conferences. Follow the money.
Long-time Big Ten members received $54.3 million in TV revenue last year while Pac-12 schools were less than $20 million. The Big Ten’s 6-year, $2.64 billion contract expires at the same time USC and UCLA land in the Midwest.
And what does it mean to the overall college football landscape?
Beginning in two years, there will be two Behemoth Conferences– the SEC and the Big 10. And only two. That leaves schools like Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Clemson (currently in the ACC) fighting uphill to get to the bank and, likely, the national championship game. That may not be true for the National Championship game, though. Would the selection committee dare to take two SEC schools and two Big Ten schools?
None of this should come as a surprise. The players, after all, are basically free agents now in college football, why not the teams.
And what’s the big deal if you add Michigan and Ohio State to the Trojan or Bruin schedule. What fun that will be.
But it’s the MIDWEST and HOLLYWOOD. Can a marriage like that work?
The Pac-12 will become the Pac-10 (once again), the Big 10, which is really the Big 14, will be the Big 16. The Big 12, which was the Big Ten (but that name was already in use by the Big 14) is now the Big 8 (with 3 new teams, including Cincinnati expected to join, perhaps making it the Big 11?).
For kicks – why not add one more conference – Notre Dame, Clemson, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Florida State, Miami, and Stanford. Name it The Leftover Eight! Nice ring to it.
Note: This is all on an interim basis, like Phil Nevin.