In August, we discussed in this blog how PAC 12 was losing Colorado to the Big 12, and USC and UCLA would move to the Big 10 in 2024. At that time, Big 10 officials said they had no interest in further expansion from the 18 schools and two affiliated members. Now ESPN reports that the disintegrating PAC 12 will also lose Oregon and Washington to the Big 10 in 2024. That is a total of four PAC 12 switching to the Big 10, creating a formidable West Coast arm for the league. This switch follows news that Cal, Standford and Southern Methodist University will move to the ACC.
According to the Big 10, the schools were the ones that initiated the switch:
“Oregon and Washington, they had, real intent; they were working hard to make it an option for them,” said Big 10 commissioner Tony Petitti. “They really wanted to be in the Big Ten. We felt that throughout the whole process.”
A financial decision
The two schools decided to make the change after they saw the PAC 12 streaming-based media rights proposal, realizing they could get a better deal even if they don’t get full media shares at the start (USC and UCLA do get full shares), but are still between $30 and $35 million per year.
Petitti added that the Big 10 was open to the switch because of the geography involved, giving the West Coast teams three opponents out there and plenty of scheduling options with the Midwest and East Coast teams. Oregon and Washington will also get an addition to the league’s new “Flex Protect Plus” model, which ensures specific teams will play more regularly (other examples include Ohio and Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, Rutgers and Maryland, and USC and UCLA).
Doing damage in the playoffs
The league also aims to maximize its impact on the expanded College Football Playoff format, which likely features an assortment of conference champions and at-large teams. The Big 10 will have the top two Big 10 play for the league championship game. While the league will balance geography and travel demands, it also considers competitive trends to get more teams into the college playoff structure.
It seems all upside for the teams and their new league. Of course, this is the honeymoon phase of the deal, and things don’t always turn out as planned, but adding more high-power programs to the Big 10 further solidifies its position as equal to the SEC.