The final day of June brought the start of chaos to the Pac-12 Conference and college football. USC and UCLA announcing they were leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten sent shockwaves across the country, including the Oregon football program.
Let’s be clear. The decision to depart was set in motion last year when Larry Scott was the commissioner of the Pac-12, a conference that has spent years behind when it comes to revenue to the SEC and Big Ten. Now, with the Los Angeles Market departing, the conference and new commissioner George Kliavkoff are left scrambling.
Following USC and UCLA, the next question was about Oregon and Washington and whether they were the next targets of the Big Ten. Since then, there has been no indication that the Big Ten would look to add further from the Pac-12.
But, as we’ve seen in the past, that can all change in a hurry.
As it stands right now, the Big Ten is looking to add one more prestigious piece they have been coveting for years. Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish may be tempted to make a move now that the Big Ten will soon become a national operation with teams from coast to coast. However, last week, reports began surfacing that Oregon was on the Big Ten’s shortlist as best.
The Big XII is also involved in this evolving story, as less than a week after the announcements about the two Los Angeles schools leaving the Pac-12, CBS Sports Dennis Dodd reported that the Big XII was targeting as many as six Pac-12 schools including Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah.
Oregon football may become the big fish in a little pond
Honestly, this decision is about television revenue. The Pac-12 is currently in the process of negotiating future rights, which will be more difficult without the Los Angeles television market and what it brings.
Without the Bruins and Trojans, the Oregon Ducks are now the marquee team of the conference. There are rumors that the Pac-12 will act quickly on expansion, but the direction they will go is still a good question.
Will they look to teams like Fresno State and San Diego State, or will they go further and look possibly to the Big 12 to give the conference a more regional feel? As quickly as the move to the Big Ten happened for USC and UCLA, I expect a counter will happen just as fast. One thing is clear, at least to me, the college football landscape is changing as teams prepare for a new look in the College Football Playoff in the coming seasons.
The level of competition in the Pac-12 in recent seasons has been lacking, where a matchup with a Big Ten team may have brought more attention, as well as a ranked opponent. We have one more season of the Pac-12 as we know it with UCLA and USC. The move to the Big Ten will be effective for the 2024 season.
While USC is happy with the Pac-12 divorce, UCLA has a bigger issue at hand. The University of California has a Board of Regents that did not get their say and could put a wrench in the works of the Bruins’ departure to the Big Ten. They have ordered a review due to UCLA’s lack of transparency in the process.
Oregon Football will host UCLA on Saturday, October 22nd inside Autzen Stadium. Game time is yet to be announced. The Ducks are not set to face USC in the regular season but may see the Trojans in the Pac-12 Championship game if both teams get that far.
The Ducks open the 2022 season against Georgia on Saturday, September 3rd at 12:30 pm Pacific Time on ABC.