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B1G Thoughts: The B1G is getting B1GGER

Down goes the PAC-12 as the Big 12 and Big Ten put the final nail in the conference, adding six of the remaining 10 teams.

Every week after the Big Ten slate of games, I will bring you some B1G thoughts on everything that happened! This will include analysis, stats, key players, moments, and maybe a joke. With the Big Ten expanding from 14 teams to 18 teams in 2024, will also include the newest members — Oregon, UCLA, USC, and Washington.

Check out the I-80 Football Show in the Land-Grant Holy Land podcast feed for more in-depth analysis and to preview the next week of B1G games.

“Wow!” That is the thought that is going through the head of many college football fans after another round of realignment has changed the face of college football potentially beyond repair. The Big Ten Conference, after adding USC and UCLA roughly 18 months ago, has dealt the final blow to the PAC-12 conference after sending a rescue boat to Oregon and Washington just in time for them to jump off the sinking ship.

Did the Big Ten and FOX end what was a once proud conference, or did they offer a mercy killing putting them out of their misery after years of gross negligence, apathy, overconfidence, and a major misunderstanding of their standing in college football? The answer to that depends on who you ask, but what is non-debatable is the PAC-12, unless saved by an 11th-hour miracle, is dead.

This most recent era of realignment started with the SEC when they added Oklahoma and Texas, pushing the Big 12 to the brink. The Big Ten countered with USC and UCLA, hitting the PAC-12 with body shots after they decided not to raid the Big 12 at their weakest moment.

The Big 12 took the PAC-12’s kindness as a weakness, first securing their future by adding BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF. After stabilizing they immediately turned their attention towards raiding the PAC-12, which would not have been possible without the massive failure that is the hiring of George Kliavkoff and his fumbling of their new media deal.

After promising a deal in March, May, and June, and again before media days, the PAC-12 still does not have a viable offer, causing Colorado to leave for the Big 12 last week. Despite the defection, Kliavkoff was not able to secure a legitimate media deal and despite their reluctance, the rest of the PAC-12 schools with any clout decided it was time to jump ship.

Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah applied and were accepted to the Big 12 starting in 2024. Oregon and Washington, two programs many predicted to the Big Ten and questioned why they weren’t added last year, finally received the offer to join the conference — albeit on a massive discount.

Unlike USC and UCLA, who entered the conference as full members and expect a payout of around $70 million annually, Oregon and Washington are reported to receive $30 million in 2024 with a $1 million raise until the new media deal starts in 2030. Kevin Warren, despite all of his flaws, seems like a genius for not welcoming Oregon and Washington last year, as they get two teams capable of making the playoffs for pennies on the dollar.

In the coming days, there will be a lot more to come for this. The four remaining PAC-12 schools — Cal, Oregon State, Stanford, and Washington State — will need to figure out if they can remain together and add schools or if they will need to head to the Mountain West Conference. If somehow the conference continues to exist, they need a change in leadership immediately, as Kliavkoff is not suited for the position.

The Big Ten will need to readjust its scheduling format which was announced a couple of months ago, first with 2024 and 2025, and then determine a permanent scheduling arrangement. There is still the need to figure out travel plans and finances and finalize the TV deal, which just added two more markets, opening the possibility for more night games. Big Ten after dark, anyone?

College Football is changing! In the next few weeks, you’ll see a lot of media members, school administrators, and fans complaining about the future of college football, but if you ask me the future is bright. In an era where teams almost refuse to schedule tough out-of-conference games, we’re going to get awesome matchups weekly because they’re now lumped together.

We get the revival of the Holy War with BYU and Utah in the same conference, as well as Texas vs. Texas A&M. We’ll get to see more games with Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State, playing USC, Oregon, and Washington instead of a steady diet of Rutgers and Northwestern.

After a wonderful 13-week season, we’ll then get a 12-team playoff, where the top of the sport gets to battle it out for a championship and teams will no longer be punished by losing one game in a 12-game season.

This is different. Different is hard, but in some cases different is good. It’ll take some time to get used to the Big Ten, Big 12, and SEC having 18, 16, and 16 teams, respectively. We’ll still have to keep an eye out for Florida State and Clemson’s campaign to get out of the ACC. The sport is changing, but for fans who want to watch good games, this change is for the best.

If I’m proven wrong, well then you can take your anger out on Larry Scott, George Kliavkoff, and the PAC-12 presidents who hired them, empowered them, and refused to adjust to the times. They destroyed their conference from the inside out and then jumped ship for a better payday. Regardless of the why, I can’t wait to watch the games!

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