Huge USC-Oregon State game on Sept. 24 is relegated to Pac-12 Network

On Monday, something happened which reminded all of us in the Pac-12 Conference footprint that George Kliavkoff had no chance to prevent USC from leaving for the Big Ten. He really didn’t.

There was so much damage, and so many contractual knots to untie, that Kliavkoff could not have been reasonably expected to unwind them in one year. Yet, one year is all Kliavkoff had before USC left for the Big Ten.

One year was simply not long enough for Kliavkoff to keep USC in the fold. He needed at least a two-year window, probably three … and he didn’t have that amount of time.

What did happen on Monday, you ask? Here you go: The USC-Oregon State football game on Saturday, Sept. 24 — a huge game in the 2022 Pac-12 title chase — has been relegated to Pac-12 Network.

It’s true: This huge game for both teams (the Beavers as well as the Trojans) has been kicked to the lowest-visibility television outlet. A top-tier game has received bottom-rung treatment. A lot of USC fans (with DirecTV) will not be able to watch this game.

Jon Wilner of The Wilner Hotline explained why this is the case:

USC-Cal should be on Pac-12 Network. That game won’t be remotely close. USC-Arizona might be legitimately interesting this year, given how much Arizona has improved, but if we’re choosing between that and USC-Oregon State, it’s clear that USC-Arizona is the Pac-12 Network game. USC-Arizona State is another Pac-12 Network candidate.

ESPN and Fox Sports both did a profound disservice to viewers by not picking up USC-Oregon State, but the biggest problem here is Pac-12 Network being a low-visibility outlet. If it had full distribution on a regular cable tier, we wouldn’t have this problem.

Even ESPNU would offer better distribution than Pac-12 Network. What a shame … and what a reminder of why USC left the Pac-12 Conference.

George Kliavkoff could not simply come into the Pac-12 and immediately end Pac-12 Network contracts and current media rights arrangements. He needed to be able to redraw the map and the terms under which Pac-12 games were shown. He never had a legitimate chance to do that.


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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire