USC, UCLA leaving Pac-12, joining Big Ten

USC UCLA football

The Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers will have two fewer Pac-12 opponents to face in the next couple of years.

The Big Ten voted unanimously to add Southern California and UCLA as conference members beginning in 2024.

The expansion to 16 teams will happen after the Pac-12’s current media rights contracts with Fox and ESPN expire and make the Big Ten the first conference to stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

The announced came almost a year after Oklahoma and Texas formally accepted invitations to join the Southeastern Conference in July 2025.

RELATED: Pac-12 scraps football divisions; 2 best records will play for title

Geographically, it’s an enormous shakeup in college sports.

The Pac-12 would lose its footprint in Southern California and the second-largest television market in the nation. Meanwhile, two Los Angeles schools would join a conference that mainly centered in the midwest.

There is already speculation in the sports world that the loss of the two schools may be the start of the end of the Pac-12.

College sports insiders are suggesting that Oregon and Washington may have no choice but to also bolt. Others say the it may survive with the Bay Area schools — Stanford and California — anchoring the conference.

The reports of the potential departure come weeks after the Pac-12 announced it will no longer consider division champions in determining who plays in the Pac-12 football championship. It now will be based on win-loss percentage.

Who could replace USC and UCLA in the Pac-12?

It’s too early in the reporting to know if the Pac-12 is already pursuing other schools to join the conference. But here are some hypothetical scenarios.

If the Pac-12 puts importance on staying in Southern California, the likely programs to pursue would be Fresno State and San Diego State. Both have seen levels of success in the Mountain West Conference.

If the criteria is more about pedigree, then Boise State would be a likely target. While the program has not been as proficient as it was when it was a Top 5 team under Chris Petersen, it’s still among the strongest Mountain West programs. It would also make a natural rival to Washington State and Utah.

Fans might consider BYU as another potential Pac-12 school, but the program is already set to join the Big 12 starting in 2023. That conference is losing Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC.

And if the Pac-12 is looking more toward natural, geographical rivals, then its possible to consider Colorado State (matching it with Colorado) or Utah State (to go against Utah).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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