UNDATED — In many years of traveling around the United States I have been on the campuses of nine of the 12 schools in the Pac-12 conference.
I’ve been to Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, USC, Stanford, Cal-Berkeley, Arizona State and Colorado.
And as I strolled around their campuses, not once did I ever think, “Someday some of these schools are going to be in the Big Ten.”
There is no single word in the thickest thesaurus able to describe how shocking Thursday’s announcement that USC and UCLA will leave the Pac-12 to join the Big Ten in 2024 is.
This is a Julia Roberts marrying Lyle Lovett moment. And it is even more remarkable because it went from being put together in secrecy to being confirmed as a done deal in the span of only a few hours Thursday afternoon.
“A little bit of fireworks for the Fourth of July. How about that?” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said at the beginning of a press conference Friday morning.
That little bit of fireworks was set off by a lot of money, mainly television money.
The Big Ten saw an opportunity to get into the second-biggest television market in the country. USC and UCLA saw a chance to greatly increase their television revenue and their possibilities of putting teams in the College Football Playoff.
There are potentially some winners and losers in USC and UCLA’s decision.
—The Big Ten. The SEC and Big Ten had already separated themselves from the rest of college football. Now the two super conferences are extending their lead. Everyone else is trying to catch up.
“This solidifies that even more,” Smith said. “Who knows what the other schools and conferences will do in reaction. We’ll just have to see. We weren’t doing it in response to the SEC (adding Texas and Oklahoma). It was about what did the Big Ten need.”
—Ohio State. What’s not to like for the Big Ten’s biggest athletic program?
More money. More high profile match-ups. And even more recruits from California, Arizona and the rest of what was the Pac-12’s home territory, where the Buckeyes already found C.J. Stroud, Chris Olave, Wyatt Davis, Denzel Burke and many others.
—Fox Sports. The network is in negotiations to continue to be the primary broadcaster of Big Ten football, starting in 2023. It also has added 10 percent to its stake in the Big Ten Network and now