Pac-12 set to collapse like a pack of cards?


College football challenges ahead of 2024 Image: Coliseum GSVA

The world of college football (US) is on the brink of a significant transformation as eight schools prepare to transfer to new Conferences, raising questions about the future of the ‘Power Five’ Conferences.

‘Mirror’ stated that for decades, the top-tier teams in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) have been divided among the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and the Southeastern Conference (SEC) – the ‘Power Five’ Conferences. However, recent announcements have shaken up this arrangement.

Indianapolis (US)-based the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization that regulates student-athletics among about 1,100 schools in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. It also organizes the athletic programs of colleges and helps over 500,000 college student athletes who compete annually in college sports.

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is a collegiate athletic Conference located in the Eastern United States. Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, the ACC’s 15-member universities compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)’s Division I (highest level of intercollegiate athletics).

The Big Ten Conference is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the United States. Founded as the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives in 1896, it predates the founding of its regulating organization, the NCAA. It is based in the Chicago area in Rosemont, Illinois.

The Big 12 Conference is a college athletic Conference headquartered in Irving, Texas. It consists of 14 full-member universities. It is a member of Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association for all sports.

San Francisco (US)-based the Pac-12 Conference is a collegiate athletic Conference that operates in the Western United States, participating in 24 sports at the NCAA Division I level. Its football teams compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the highest level of college football in the nation.

Birmingham (US)-based the Southeastern Conference is an American college athletic Conference whose member institutions are located primarily in the South Central and Southeastern United States.

‘Mirror’ further stated that the Pac-12, in particular, is facing uncertainty as eight teams express their intention to leave the conference. Currently, only four schools remain in the division: California, Oregon State, Stanford, and Washington State.

Last year, the landscape began to shift when the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC), two powerhouse schools from Los Angeles, sprung a surprise by announcing their departure from the Pac-12 to join the Big Ten alongside prestigious teams like Michigan, Michigan State and the Ohio State. This move dealt a significant blow to the Pac-12, losing two of the most esteemed and popular teams in the nation.

Now, six more schools have confirmed their departure from the Pac-12 in 2024. The Pacific Northwest schools Oregon and Washington will join the Big Ten alongside the California schools.

Additionally, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, and Colorado are set to join the Big 12. This exodus of schools has put the Pac-12 in a difficult position and raises concerns about the Conference’s potential dissolution.

The Big Ten and Big 12 Commissioners have expressed their excitement about welcoming these new schools into their Conferences. However, this leaves the Pac-12 in a precarious position and could potentially lead to its collapse.

Each departing school is expected to receive around $30 million (£23.6m), significantly less than what they earned in their previous Conference.

Historically, the Pac-12 has had a lower quality of teams compared to the other ‘Power Five’ Conferences.

The last time a Pac-12 school won a national championship was in 2004, when the USC claimed the title. By joining the Big Ten and Big 12, the schools hope to face tougher competition and attract more viewership with high-profile matchups against teams from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, and SEC.

There are also reports suggesting that Stanford and California may join the Big Ten, further jeopardizing Pac-12’s future. As the landscape of college football undergoes these significant changes, the fate of Pac-12 hangs in balance.

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