Conference realignment rumor mill: More Pac-12 teams preparing to leave?

·3 min read

The fallout of the decision by USC and UCLA to leave behind their respective storied history with the Pac-12 for the greener cow pastures of Big Ten country continues to be seen as the remaining members of the conference are scrambling to secure their own stability in the changing landscape of collegiate athletics. While the company line from the Pac-12’s remaining membership has voiced a desire to stay together following the 2024 departures of USC and UCLA, it appears to be every school for itself at this point.

Immediately following the USC and UCLA news, the focus in the conference for many turned to Oregon and Washington, two schools many feel could easily follow the Trojans and Bruins to the Big Ten if the Big Ten extended an invitation. But sticking in the Pac-12 South, it appears there are some rumblings about the Arizona Wildcats.

According to a report from Jason Scheer of 247Sports, Arizona may be meeting with officials from the Big 12 as early as this week to explore a possible move to the Big 12. And that’s not all. Three other Pac-12 schools could contemplate a move to the Big 12.

Four schools that would make sense in the Big 12 from the Pac-12 would include Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, and Colorado, a school that left the Big 12 for the Pac-10 when the conference expanded to 12 members. One might call that a bit of an awkward situation for Colorado, but it would seem to make the most sense as long as the Big Ten doesn’t happen to come calling first. It would also be a full twist on conference realignment storylines as it once was reported that the Pac-12 may have been on the verge of adding four Big 12 teams in the last monster round of conference realignment changes.

Conference realignment news and reports rarely pan out, so it can sometimes be best to wait and see how things play out before getting too carried away. But if those four schools do muscle their way out of a crumbling Pac-12 and join the Big 12, then the path to the Big Ten cherry-picking Oregon and Washington could be even more likely to happen relatively quickly.

It still feels unlikely the big Ten really is done with its expansion efforts at this point with just USC and UCLA. Perhaps the conference is waiting for Notre Dame to make a phone call, or perhaps the Big Ten wants to allow for a little more time to pass before kicking up realignment dust on its boots. Either way, Big Ten fans will be paying close attention to the stories coming out of the Pac-12 and Big 12 as those two conferences may end up needing each other now more than ever before.

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