The Big Ten is solidifying its status as one of the two major college football conferences, the Big 12 is getting bigger, and the Pac-12 is on the verge of collapse.
That’s the result of the latest conference realignments, as the bigger conferences continue to get stronger and the weaker conferences scramble to remain relevant.
Oregon and Washington have agreed to join the Big Ten, following USC and UCLA as four West Coast defections from the Pac-12 to the traditionally Midwestern Big Ten. That means the Big Ten will have a major footprint out west and will continue to be, along with the SEC, one of the two dominant college football conferences. UCLA, USC, Oregon and Washington will all play in the Pac-12 this season before moving to the Big Ten next season.
The Big 12 then scrambled to take on the next tier of Pac-12 schools, scooping up Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah, all of which will start playing in the Big 12 in 2024.
That leaves the Pac-12 with just Cal, Oregon State, Stanford and Washington State. That’s not a conference, and it’s unclear whether the Pac-12 can continue to exist.
Why all the changes? Money. The Big Ten has an extremely lucrative television deal which its four new West Coast schools were eager to get a piece of, and the Big Ten believes it can make even more money off TV when it appeals to more viewers on the West Coast. The Big 12 is also better positioned financially than the Pac-12 for TV money. The Pac-12 has always been the weakest of the five power conferences in terms of its television contracts, and once this realignment is official, the Pac-12 can’t even be considered a power conference.