It’s official – the Oregon Ducks and the Washington Huskies have followed to the Big Ten conference. To many fans, this is a shock, but it’s the type of development that depends heavily on one’s perspective when determining if it’s good or bad. For college football overall, it’s something worth noting, but it’s not inherently disastrous or fortuitous. There are plenty of pros and cons for the Ducks since it’s a way forward and a method to better their circumstances. But it is a complicated matter.
Many people will state that this move will wreck tradition since the move from the Pac-12 feels like a betrayal of everything that’s made the Ducks great. It’s the conference where they became great, and it’s where they’ve thrived. The Civil War game has existed as a fun and engaging time for thousands of fans for generations. Not only that, but the condition in which the Pac-12 is in now will only get worse, in many people’s opinions, as it will be left as a shell of its former self after losing several of its best teams.
So, what are the pros? There Ducks will find more chances to make a serious title run, they’ll gain more exposure, and their program can only go up from here if they play their cards right. There are plenty of cons since travel expenses will rise, fans will be shell-shocked for a while, and overall, it will remind many people that even in college, football is a business. Unfortunately, it shows that loyalty has little place in business and will often be traded for a better deal when it comes along.
The road ahead for the Ducks is a tough one since, despite the strength of their program and success in the Pac-12, the Big Ten is a different playing field. Plenty of analysts have already made it clear how they feel and that the Ducks will adapt to the new conference and possibly rise even higher. It’s tough to argue with this sentiment since this is a smart move considering the opportunities in front of them. All the same, though, the impact that this will have on college football is already being felt by those who’ve remained loyal to the Pac-12, which is down to just four teams, all of which are counterparts for the more powerful UO and UW. WSU and OSU are two schools that will feel the loss since the Civil War and Apple Cup games are now irrelevant after so many years.
So, is it a good thing or a bad thing? That depends on one’s perspective and whether they care about the longstanding traditions that the Pac-12 held onto for so long. It’s tough to state that this is bad for college football definitively. Fans might say otherwise, but even so, those in charge will follow the money and exposure, and in the short term, the benefits are great. In the long term, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.