Pac-12 on Brink of Collapse?
With the reports of a mass exodus from the Pac-12 conference, it seems like the conference is in a state of near collapse. So, if that is the case, what does the college football landscape look like without the Pac-12? In this article, I’d like to lay out a hypothetical scenario in which this does happen. But first, some ground rules.
- This scenario takes place in 2025 so that all confirmed (as of writing) realignments (e.g. Texas and OU to the SEC) will have taken place.
- All confirmed FBS-Independents (e.g. Notre Dame, Army) will remain as such.
- I will only be looking at the Power 5 Conferences, with the Mountain West making five
- Television markets, while important, play second fiddle to brands in this scenario
So, let’s jump right in.
*quick disclaimer* I have made maps to reflect the new alignments. They’re probably not entirely geographically accurate
The Nitty Gritty
With already confirmed future membership from two Pac-12 teams, USC and UCLA, who else might the Big Ten absorb from the West Coast?
I believe the Big Ten may end up looking something like this:
Big Ten East:
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
- Penn State
Big Ten West
USC and UCLA were the first dominoes to fall in the Pac-12 collapse. Oregon and Washington have been linked to the Big Ten in reports as well. Of the remaining Pac-12 schools, the Ducks and Huskies fit the Big 10 the best. All four schools would land in the West division, theoretically bringing competitive balance to the Big Ten.
- Iowa State
- Kansas State
- West Virginia
- Oklahoma State
- Arizona State
- Texas Tech
The Big 12 needs divisions, especially with 16 teams. BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston bring them back to the 12-team conference they once were. Adding Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah brings them to a North/South division structure, with the winner of the two dueling for the conference title.
- Utah State
- Air Force
- Boise State
- Colorado State
- New Mexico
- Oregon State
- Washington State
- San Jose State
- Fresno State
- San Diego State
As I stated earlier, the Mountain West becomes the 5th power conference, replacing the Pac-12. As such, they get the Big Ten and Twelve’s leftovers, gaining Stanford, Cal, Washington State, and Oregon State.
Atlantic Coast Conference
- Boston College
- Florida State
- NC State
- Wake Forest
- Georgia Tech
- North Carolina
- Virginia Tech
There’s always the possibility that Notre Dame joins the ACC as a football member. Other than that, nothing changes for the ACC outside of adding one of the higher-up Group of 5 schools, like Coastal Carolina. The ACC, in my opinion, should be worried about keeping Clemson in place as their top school.
- South Carolina
- Mississippi State
- Texas A&M
- Ole Miss
The addition of Texas and Oklahoma forced a bit of realignment here, moving Mississippi State to the East Division. There is no way Alabama is getting shifted east.
In this scenario, the college landscape would be pretty drastically changed, as one would expect from a conference collapsing like the Pac-12. Both this hypothetical 2025 and the actual 2025 bring some pretty major realignment. For now, though, the reality is that reports are changing with every passing minute, and anything can happen. Hang on to your hats, because it can only get crazier from here.
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The SEC has already agreed they’re moving on from divisions whatever year the conference expands (probably 2025, as you said). They’ll go to a 1-7 or 3-6 scheduling format, where it will be either one set annual rival or three annual rivals, and all other teams rotate home-and-home in an eight game (1-7) or nine game (3-6) conference schedule. This way all conference teams will play each other home and home over a four year period. Divisions are a thing of the past for the SEC.
Love your work, just trade Oklahoma State and Utah in the new Big 12 Divisions. Even though divisions seem to be on the extinction track even more than the PAC-12.