It may seem relocation of USC and UCLA to Big Ten Conference Thursday was the start of a new wave of reorganizations, but in truth, it was just the next peak – albeit a massive one that is still shaking the foundations of college sports – in the wave that began last July.
If Texas and Oklahoma didn’t give up big 12 for the Southeastern Conference is hard to imagine USC as well as University of California at Los Angeles the feeling that they had no choice but to discard the century-old tradition of the Pac-12 conference in order to remain viable.
While the Trojans and Bruins’ escape from Pac-12 limbo shouldn’t be seen as a stand-alone act, it can certainly be argued that this is the shift that completes the transition from Power Five to Power Number Two.
The SEC and the Big Ten are separating from the rest of college sports. They have no equal and they will continue to set this. If you’re not in their club, you don’t matter unless you’re Notre Dame, so everyone from Eugene, Oregon to Clemson, SC to Miami will be trying to find their way into the club. ark in the next few years.
How exclusive will Power Two be now that they’re both in 16 schools? What’s the next move for the Big Ten (and Fox)? How will the SEC (and ESPN) react? Pac-12 doomed? Let’s dive into the latest perestroika madness.
Question about Notre Dame
Several sources told The Times that the Big Ten will not be adding another Pac-12 school at this time. It would be natural to assume that the Oregon-Washington pair would follow their longtime conference brethren, but that’s not in the G-10’s plans yet. Maybe the preferences of USC and UCLA are somehow connected here – Fox’s priority because of the brands and the Los Angeles market?
This means Notre Dame will be the next driver of any movement with the Big Ten long coveting the Fighting Irish for all the obvious reasons – brand strength, football tradition, academic reputation and location.
If Notre Dame fights back against the Big Ten and decides to remain independent in football and play other sports at the Atlantic Coast Conference, perhaps the Big Ten will take a pause and continue to consider the remaining Pac-12 brands and ACC brands that fit the Big ten.” models such as North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia Tech.
But make no mistake, Notre Dame is the best gift and the Big Ten has more to offer the Irish than ever before – the chance to share a conference with historical rival USC along with other rivals from Michigan, Purdue and Michigan State; a chance to fire media rights into a new stratosphere; and a chance to secure a rightful place at the table of powerful movers in the future.
Notre Dame must be itchy. If that’s not the case, her longtime TV partner NBC would have a good reason to push her into considering the Big Ten offer. NBC reportedly wants the Big Ten game to be part of a new conference media rights package.
If you remember that television dictates all these dominoes, it will be much easier for you to wrap your head around Notre Dame saying yes to the Big Ten.
Who will join Notre Dame?
While sources are convinced that the Big Ten have finished poaching Pac-12s, that calculation could change if the Fighting Irish join them as the 17th member.
Stanford will be a much more attractive option than it is now because the Cardinal represents another annual Notre Dame rival that the Irish would like to keep playing.
If you put yourself in the heads of snotty G-10 presidents and chancellors, Stanford just has an institutional aura different from Oregon and Washington. All types of higher education want to be associated with Stanford. While the football and men’s basketball teams are currently out of business, the Big Ten will be able to capitalize on Stanford’s dominance in all sports.
It would be an exaggeration to say that the addition of Stanford completely boosts the Bay Area’s television market, but its location in a densely populated region can’t hurt its cause either.
Cardinal would have been a more attractive partner for USC and UCLA on the West Coast than the Ducks and Huskies. Both LA schools are tired of Oregon with its Nike outbreak coming to Southern California stealing top talent, and USC and UCLA’s move to the Big Ten hurting the Ducks.
What can Pac-12 do?
It’s hard to overstate how debilitating the loss of USC, UCLA, and the Los Angeles market is for the Pac-12. There’s a reason Apple reportedly stepped in again to get a piece of the Big Ten rights package after the news. Pac-12 without the Trojans and Bruins will find it hard to get much support at the negotiating table as commissioner George Klaukoff negotiates the league’s next media rights deals in the coming year.
On Friday, Pac-12 announced that it would be actively expanding. But who will join, except for schools from the mountain west?
Last summer, Pac-12 probably could have chosen the remaining Big 12 schools. Oklahoma State, Texas Institute of Technology, Kansas and company felt left out due to Pac-12’s lack of interest in what they had to offer. Do you think they’ll come out here now, knowing that the remaining big-name programs will be desperately pushing themselves into the Big Ten and possibly the SEC?
The Big 12 is actually in a more stable situation than the Pac-12s right now and will likely have some success in raiding some of the Pac-12s.
At least the schools in the Big 12 (which included Brigham Young, Central Florida, Cincinnati, and Houston) already know that the Big Ten and the SEC are not minimally interested and can act strategically to build a third or fourth best conference in the future.
Will the Big 12 be attractive to Arizona and the state of Arizona now? We’ll find out soon enough.
Is the SEC eyeing the ACC?
Thursday was not a good day for the SEC and ESPN. Are they afraid of the Big Ten and Fox now? Probably no. Any plans for further expansion are likely to be dispelled if they weren’t already.
Florida State, Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech are all enticing football brands. The union of North Carolina and Duke with Kentucky would immediately make the SEC the premier basketball conference.
The ACC Media Rights Agreement with ESPN expires in 2036. Schools received a $36.1 million allocation for fiscal year 2020-21, and with what the Big Ten and the SEC are about to bring to their schools, that won’t be enough. to keep their top brands happy.
Since ESPN owns the rights to the SEC and the ACC, the network should have the final say.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.