Just about everyone in college football spent their Fourth of July weekend talking, texting and sitting through meetings about what will happen next in conference realignment and what, if anything, each school and league can do to either protect or maximize itself going forward.
The move revealed Thursday that USC and UCLA will join the Big Ten and thus decimate the Pac 12 has led to panic and confusion.
What six months ago was a Power 5 with a lucrative, fair playoff plan on the table is now a Big Two (Big Ten, SEC), no postseason plan and just about everyone looking to find a path to survival.
Here, after speaking to dozens of sources, is what each league should reasonably do going forward. “Reasonably” is the operative word here, i.e. “adding Alabama” isn’t an option.
Also, understand this: the college football playoff format after 2026 is unknown. However, while in the past all 10 conferences and Notre Dame had to unanimously agree on the format, that is no longer the case.
The Big Ten and SEC can essentially create what they want and everyone else will have to go along. The power of the ACC, Big 12 and Pac 12 has been significantly reduced, if not eliminated. That $1 Billion, 12-team, six automatic bid proposal that was rejected in January but looks like heaven now is unlikely to come back.
With that in mind …
Get a television deal done before membership is plucked away by other leagues.
The Pac 12 made that much clear with a Tuesday announcement that its Board of Directors had voted to authorize “the Conference to immediately begin negotiations for its next media rights agreements.”
The Pac 12 is ripe for the picking. Every school would follow USC and UCLA in jumping to the Big Ten. Oregon and Washington have been particularly aggressive in reaching out.
The Big Ten isn’t in a rush though. It wants to figure out Notre Dame’s plans (the Irish will likely only join a conference if its access to the playoff is severely limited or eliminated).