clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

USC and UCLA potentially joining the Big Ten has major implications

This deserves a “whoa”.

2007 Rose Bowl: USC v Michigan

The landscape is changing in college sports.

The transfer portal has changed collegiate athletics, as have players being able to make a profit via NIL (name, image, likeness).

There are many ripple effects because of the current climate, which is why Texas and Oklahoma are set to join the SEC in 2023 or 2024. And it’s why there was a substantial news drop today involving the Big Ten and two of the most prestigious programs in the PAC-12.

It appears that USC and UCLA are all but set to join the Big Ten, with an announcement coming as soon as today. The information was kept under wraps and now the leaks are coming in at a rapid pace.

USC and UCLA are expected to join the Big Ten in the 2024 season, and their presence will lead to more revenue rolling in for the conference. The Big Ten is on the verge of a new multi-billion-dollar television deal, and that deal should become even more lucrative with USC and UCLA in the Big Ten.

If the Big Ten and SEC are to continue adding more and more programs to their conference, the College Football Playoff will need to expand to at least 12 teams more expeditiously than the snail’s pace they’ve had in negotiations thus far. Both conferences will beat up on each other more with the added talent, and a concise top four teams will become increasingly harder to determine by a committee debating at a table.

The Big Ten has long had a historic relationship with the PAC-12, with no example more glaring than when the two conferences play one another in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Even last year both conferences formed “The Alliance”, with the intent that both conferences would align on important issues. Well, business breaks alliances, and that’s exactly what happened here. UCLA and USC leaving for the Big Ten will lead to more revenue for them and the Big Ten also. Unfortunately for the PAC-12, their revenue stream isn’t gaining steam and these two programs are deciding to part the conference is what’s in their best interest.

Last month Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller said that division realignment in football was being discussed, and now that comment makes more sense than it did then. The college football landscape is chaos right now, and it looks like there’s the SEC, the Big Ten, and then there’s everybody else.

USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten feels weird, from a brand perspective and a geographic one. However, it’s paramount to adapt or die, and the Big Ten isn’t going to get left behind.