USC and UCLA plan to move to the Big Ten as early as 2024, per @wilnerhotline pic.twitter.com/6Uo9EPnkkB— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 30, 2022
Honestly, I am just as shocked as you are reading that headline.
Texas and OU moving to the SEC in a few years has sent the cascading snowball of conference realignment into motion. Every offseason, countless Reddit threads, Twitter feeds, and comment board conversations endlessly talk about the ways conferences can be realigned. Oklahoma State and Iowa State to the Big Ten. Texas Tech and BYU to the Pac-12, sending Vanderbilt to the Sun Belt were all some crazy ideas thrown about.
The Big Ten announced today that the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles will become conference members effective August 2, 2024, with competition to begin in all sports the 2024-25 academic year. https://t.co/DnwNMJSEe7— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) July 1, 2022
But earlier this offseason, ESPN took on the question of realignment, and its newly minted MBAs sent OU and Texas to the SEC as the next greatest merger. Now I can only imagine the big heads at Fox saw the cash the larger SEC would make and wanted their own slice of the superconference pie. College football, with its media rights and NILs, comes down to not collegiate sports, but rather weird conference alignments and the chance to air USC against Ohio State on a blisteringly cold November night at the Horseshoe.
Also, let’s look into the football schedule for a brief moment (because honestly, that’s what really matters for this alignment):
- Rutgers and Maryland would have to travel cross country to LA and Pasadena to play USC and UCLA.
- USC and UCLA would need to play in the frigid B1G winters (11 am kickoffs between USC and Northwestern in Evanston is what we needed).
- The West would gain 2 teams, sending the likes of Purdue, the easternmost school in the current Big Ten West, to the east.
- This would only mean the cornfed boys of Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Minnesota would learn to play fast-paced West Coast ball.
- Even if the alignment went to Pods you would have the following:
- Pod 1: Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota (Quadrangle of Corn)
- Pod 2: Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, UCLA (Academics)
- Pod 3: Michigan State, Maryland, Rutgers, Indiana (Basketball?)
- Pod 4: USC, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State (B1G CFP chances)
- What happens to the Rose Bowl?
- What happens to Cal, Stanford, Washington, and Oregon?
- ASU and Arizona to the Big 12?
While great for ratings, this conference realignment is a lot to wrap my head around.
Let’s do it.