Following the bombshell that USC and UCLA will be moving to the Big 10 in 2024, there has been a lot of chatter as to what the future College Football landscape will look like. The current perception is that we are heading to a more pro-style, two-conference system, at least at the current Power Five level. The leading contenders for these two so-called “Super Conferences” are the SEC and the Big 10.
Texas and Oklahoma are moving to the SEC and there are talks that the Big 10 is looking for more teams to join after the two Los Angeles schools. And it likely won’t stop there. Rumors have started spread that ACC schools North Carolina, Clemson, Virginia, and Florida State are in negotiation to join the SEC.
SOURCE: North Carolina, Florida State, Clemson, and Virginia are all negotiating to join the SEC. ESPN is trying to void their TV deal with the ACC.
— Braden Keith (@Braden_Keith) July 7, 2022
But not every team will be invited to join. Some will be left to the wayside. So where will these wayward teams have left to go? A perfect example of this is the deal currently being negotiated between some of the remaining PAC-12 teams and the Big 12.
Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah are working on a deal to join the Big 12 with Oregon and Washington potentially jumping in as well. If this were to happen, the PAC 12 would likely be unable to recover. However, this may be the path the Big 12 needs to take to keep up in this new world of super conferences.
The SEC and Big 10 will be on top in the end, but if the Big 12 can acquire enough of the leftover teams, there may be a few programs that can match the competition in the other conferences. It’s insane to think the Big 12 could put themselves in such a position considering many weren’t sure if they would survive the fallout of Texas and Oklahoma defecting to the SEC.
The future is uncertain. Maybe the ACC will hold together and even find a way to catch up to the Big 10 and SEC. Maybe the deal between the PAC-12 teams and the Big 12 will fall through and the PAC-12 will come together to rebuild. Or maybe after taking in the remaining west coast teams, the Mountain West will elevate themselves to a higher status. There’s no way to know what will happen.
College Football is changing, but even as it shifts to a more pro-style format with teams traveling across the country regularly to play in-conference opponents, this sport will still have its unique feel. Rivals will still hate each other, the unexpected upset will still lead fans to empty their seats in favor of the field, and tradition will be kept alive by the people who care most for this sport.