College football realignment is in the air again after USC and UCLA announced they will join the Big Ten in 2024.
Leaving the question of what will happen next to the Pac-12.
According to Utah president Taylor Randall, his school and the conference don't predict any other major moves in the short term.
But that doesn't mean the entire sport isn't still open for business.
“Right now, the 10 schools that remain in the Pacific Athletic Conference are holding together,” Randall said on KSL Radio in Salt Lake City.
“We still think we have a strong league. What we like is a shared sense of values to get students graduated. We actually think that we have a lot of options in front of us.
“People always ask me about every single rumor and ‘are you chasing down all these different opportunities?’ I would say they are probably all true.
“Everything is on the table. We’re looking for a strong position in athletics for years to come. Given the types of schools we still have in our conference, we feel really good about that.”
USC helped kick off the next phase of college football realignment
The Pac-12 is preparing to work out its next media rights contract, but it's difficult to see what kind of bargaining power the league has right now.
It just lost its two premier institutions – not to mention the extremely valuable Los Angeles media market – and rumors still swirl that other schools could leave.
Reports indicate that Oregon and Washington are the most likely to depart the Pac-12 for another conference, but where exactly they would go is an open question.
It appears the Big Ten is pressing pause on further expansion right now, with insiders of the opinion that the league is only interested in adding Notre Dame.
Other reports projected that the Big 12 and Pac-12 could merge together and combine their resources, but there are no concrete plans to that effect right now.
The decision from Texas and Oklahoma to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC started a domino effect over the next year that's still taking place.
The first big move that came in reaction was from inside the Big 12 itself, which added four new member schools: independent BYU and AAC members Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF.
Those schools are scheduled to join the Big 12 in time for the 2023 football season, which means they will likely compete against Oklahoma and Texas for at least one season, if not two.
But the most surprising move came on June 30, when the Big Ten announced it accepted the membership of USC and UCLA, pulling two high-profile Los Angeles-based programs into the Midwestern league and forever changing the face of college football.
For the time being, it appears the realignment process has pressed pause, but not without some unanswered questions.
Reports still contend that Oregon and Washington might be in play, while ACC members Clemson, Florida State, and Miami could entertain a move to the SEC if they can find a way out of its ironclad media rights deal with their own league.
(KSL Sports Radio)
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