USC and UCLA will be moving to the Big Ten in 2024. This changes the landscape of college football as big as N.I.L. and the Transfer Portal have. This merger will bring on more powerful matchups and tougher scheduling. The days of cupcake, powderpuff, non-conference schedules are over. College football will now be at a stage where every week is important.
In major college football news last week, USC and UCLA will join the Big 10 in 2024. As this came as a surprise to many, this is a good thing for these two rivals and for college football fans. Every college football fan has seen that the Pac 12 has been down for multiple years. A Pac 12 team has not made the College Football Playoff since 2017 when the Washington Huskies made it. One thing that stands out for this merger is that most of the country was sleeping when teams like USC and UCLA were kicking off between 9:30-10:30. I know myself can barely get through the first half of a late-night Pac 12 game since being up before the 11 a.m. central time kickoffs.
The most important aspect with this merger is the college football committee won’t need to expand the playoff. Playoff contenders like Ohio State, Michigan, and USC, will play each other. They will also play teams like UCLA, Wisconsin, Northwestern, and other tough Big 10 opponents. This will lead to what should be at least a 10-game conference schedule.
Also, it will eliminate Ohio State playing Toledo, USC playing Rice, and Michigan playing the Little Sisters of the Poor. No longer will teams have cupcake non-conference schedules. Since these teams will have a competitive schedule, it will lead to multiple things. First, outliers like Clemson, Oregon, Miami, and Notre Dame will beef up their schedule since strength of schedule is very important since the CFP committee takes a look at it closely. Second, this merger led to the Big 10 already looking to add more teams into the new “megaconference.” According to reports, they are already looking to add Notre Dame, but could get teams like Oregon and Washington if the Big 12 doesn’t get them.
Financially, this merger makes sense. According to USA Today, the Big Ten reported a revenue of $768.9 million while the Pac 12 was only $533.8 million in 2021. Both ESPN and Fox have contracts with both conferences that will end before 2024 so the bidding war for television rights will be very, very, expensive.
One thing I would like to see is Nebraska move to the Big 12. I would also like to see Maryland and Rutgers move to the ACC. These 3 teams will not be able to handle the competition of a new Big 10. Also, USC, Maryland, and Rutgers, wouldn’t have to travel to the other side of the country for a game.
This merger is exciting. College football is already great, and this makes it better. There will be no shying away from tough competition. There will be no more excuses for not making the College Football Playoff.
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