It is getting harder and harder to keep up with college athletics and what conference possesses what schools. I have spoken in these pages about how we will likely end up with three or four super-conferences. It is starting to become clearer who the haves and have-nots are.
We learned last year that Texas and Oklahoma are leaving the Big 12 to join the SEC. We also learned that UCLA and USC are leaving the PAC 12 to join the Big 10.
Those moves told us that the SEC and the Big 10 will be just fine in the future. The lure to these two conferences centers around TV revenue that gets distributed to member schools. The big question is who will emerge as the third major conference, the ACC or the Big 12?
The Big 12 took a small step this past week toward becoming that third conference by luring Colorado away from the PAC 12. The ACC reportedly is courting a number of schools while the PAC 12 appears to be on life support.
As usual, money talks. Schools looking to move are looking for the most lucrative television offers. We still do not know what the PAC 12’s TV deal is looking like. That means schools like Arizona, Arizona State and Utah out of the PAC 12 have a decision to make. Accept an invitation from the Big 12 or remain with the Pac-12?
I believe there is a strong possibility that all three will jump. It has been reported that losing the Los Angeles market (UCLA and USC) sent the conference’s value tumbling by as much as 40%.
Pac-12 officials hoped to be worth roughly three-fourths of the value of the Conversely, the addition of the UCLA and USC led the Big Ten receiving more than $1 billion-a-year deal that is expected to eventually distribute in excess of $70 million annually to members. This could lead to two more PAC 12 schools, Oregon and Washington (the two best schools left in the conference) to join the Big 10. That move, alone, could lead to the demise of the once-proud PAC 12.
ESPN, Fox, NBC and CBS had all recently struck partnerships with other conferences, including the SEC (ESPN), the Big Ten (Fox, NBC and CBS) and the Big 12 (ESPN and Fox). None are showing interest in the PAC 12.
We are likely to be hearing soon that the likes of Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, Oregon, and Washington will leave the PAC 12. Once one of the aforementioned school jumps, look for the others to join.
The ACC may want to enter the race to add some schools.