Once news broke that USC and UCLA’s football programs decided to part ways with the Pac-12, the end of the conference has been a hot conversation topic.
Although the Pac-12 made some strides to acquire teams such as San Diego State and Southern Methodist University, they have yet to find success in their endeavors.
Furthermore, rumors began to surface suggesting Oregon and Washington were thinking about hopping on the Big Ten bandwagon.
On Friday, it was confirmed that the two programs are set to join the conference in 2024 alongside the Los Angeles schools.
“We are excited to welcome the University of Oregon and the University of Washington to the Big Ten Conference. Both institutions feature a combination of academic and athletic excellence that will prove a great fit for our future,” Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti said.
The Big Ten began exploring the additions of Washington and Oregon last fall, but it could not rally enough support among the conference’s presidents. It wasn’t until Colorado (and now Arizona, Arizona State and Utah) announced their plans to join the Big 12 that talk of the new additions reoccurred.
With these departures within days of one another, it leaves just four teams in the Pac-12 and a lot of uncertainty for the future of the potentially bankrupt program.
The addition of Oregon brings a tension back into USC’s life that the Trojans perhaps thought to escape joining the Big Ten. The two schools have a long history of recruitment rivalries, from coaches to players. USC had the title of Big Ten member to sway possible recruits throughout the past year, but now the Ducks share that same asset.
In some ways, the Trojans may have been joining the Big Ten to flee from the ongoing battle with the Ducks. Head coach Lincoln Riley believes that the addition of Oregon does not change anything for USC; however, it is hard to believe that the Trojans aren’t a little bitter of this decision from their new conference.
And to make the LA schools even more frustrated, this news could make the Big Ten reevaluate the schedule that has already been announced for the 2024 and 2025 years. Could this even mean that the conference could now change its setup and create region-based pods?
For the next few weeks, everyone should be on the edge of their seats to see what the future of the Pac-12 (now the Pac-4) has in store.
And, if it goes the way it appears to be, 2023′s football season could become the last one the Pac-12 conference ever hosts.
“Bigger Ten” is a column by Campbell Donovan about USC’s impending move to the Big Ten.