In a move that has shocked virtually everyone, and happened in a hurry, USC and UCLA have been approved and are now set to join the Big Ten Conference starting in 2024, according to Pete Thamel at ESPN.
When we woke up on this Thursday morning, it didn’t seem as if anyone thought this would get done in a day’s time, as no real talk had been out there surrounding this announcement prior to this morning, but here we are.
So where does that leave us?
Well for starters, college football, and nearly every other major sport out there, is going to look totally different than anything we’ve ever seen in the past. Instead of having the “Power 5” conferences, we’re now going to end up with no more than four “super-conferences”, and I think there’s a real likelihood that number ends up at three before all is said and done.
There’s no question that the Big Ten is going to eventually expand further, including the possibility of Washington and Oregon, before all is settled, and what this also means is that the SEC can no longer sit back and be content with Oklahoma and Texas joining in 2024 or 2025. So with that being the case, the SEC is going to look at certain ACC teams (Florida State, Miami, and Clemson, to name a few), while the Pac-12 is going to eventually fold, or just merge with the remaining Big-12 schools.
In addition to all of that, don’t be surprised if the ACC sees the writing on the wall, and tries to limit it’s losses, by trying to merge with the remaining Big-12 schools, who could potentially already merge with the Pac-12, which would give us the equivalent of three “super-conferences”, the SEC, the Big Ten, and then the “Remainder”, if you will.
Clearly there are multiple factors at play (money being the biggest key, as always), and nothing is imminent, but with this move announced today, pieces of the puzzle are slowly beginning to fall into place, and all we can do is sit back and watch where they fall.
So stay tuned, because over the next few months, potentially up to a year, things are going to get really fun in terms of the college athletics landscape.
But in the meantime, can you imagine USC being shipped to Ann Arbor in late November for a game in the snow at “The Big House?”
I sure can, so Big Ten, make it happen *hint hint*.