It certainly looks like the end of the Pac-12 is on the horizon. At the very least, it will be the end of the conference as we know it. After the news came that both USC and UCLA were planning to leave the conference and join the Big Ten starting in 2024, the door is now open for other teams to follow suit.
So who will join the Trojans and Bruins in the Big Ten, and where will the other schools in the conference land? One of the main schools of thought is that some of the top teams in the Pac-12 — your Oregon’s, or Washington’s — will help form a super-conference in the Big Ten, while the remaining schools will likely merge with the Big-12 and form another super-conference.
If that were the case, which teams would go where? We make some predictions here:
Arizona Wildcats — Big 12
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Reasoning: There’s an argument that Arizona could be a big enough brand to make it to the Big Ten, but a lot of that stems from the basketball success, not football.
Arizona State Sun Devils — Big 12
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Reasoning: With the turmoil and sanctions that are currently taking place at Arizona State, it’s hard to see the Big Ten bringing them on.
California Golden Bears — Big 10
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Reasoning: It wouldn’t shock me if Cal was one of the teams to go to the Big Ten. It also wouldn’t shock me to see them in the Big-12. They are right on the bubble of being a big enough name to go to the Big Ten, and I think being in a Berkley, California market will help.
Colorado Buffaloes — Big 12
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Reasoning: If Cal doesn’t go to the Big Ten, I think it would be Colorado to take its place. The Buffaloes are well-known enough to draw some eyeballs in a strong midwest market. Plus, they used to play in the Big 12 until 2010.
Oregon Ducks — Big 10
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Reasoning: An easy slam-dunk decision. The Ducks are arguably the biggest brand in the Pac-12, and they are continually at the top of the rankings. Oregon is among the teams best suited to compete in the Big Ten.
Oregon State Beavers — Big 12
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Reasoning: The Beavers might not be a big enough name to make it in the Big 10, but they do feel like a solid option for the Big 12. It might be strange to have two OSU’s who wear black and orange playing in the same conference.
Stanford Cardinal — Independent
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Reasoning: It just feels right that Stanford would go the Notre Dame route and go independent, doesn’t it? They are a prestigious institution that could do well out on their own. If they needed a home, though, I could see them fitting in the Big Ten.
UCLA Bruins — Big 10
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Reasoning: Obviously, UCLA is headed to the Big Ten already. One of the strongest brands in the Pac-12 in a Los Angeles market, it just makes too much sense.
USC Trojans — Big 10
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Reasoning: Much like UCLA, the move just made too much sense for USC. The Trojans project to be a strong team this year and have one of the best brands in all of college football. They will do well in the Big Ten.
Utah Utes — Big 10
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Reasoning: It feels like Utah is getting overlooked in this whole “who will head to the Big Ten” conversation. They are the reigning Pac-12 champions and project to be right there in the competition again next year. Maybe the Utah market isn’t as strong as California or Washington, but the Utes could certainly compete in the Big Ten.
Washington Huskies — Big 10
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Reasoning: Whether Oregon fans agree with it or not, the Huskies have a strong national brand, and they are in the Seattle media market, which is one of the biggest on the west coast. They would make a strong addition to the Big Ten.
Washington State Cougars — Big 12
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Reasoning: Washington State doesn’t have the Seattle media market that Washington does, and historically, they haven’t even been close to as good as the Huskies. This seems like a good fit for the Big 12.