The landscape of college athletics hasn’t just shifted in the past seven days; it has exploded. With Texas and Oklahoma’s announcement that they are looking to join the Southeastern Conference, the group of haves and the have nots has never been wider. While things are boiling over in the South, out West, the Pac-12 is now at a crossroads as a league. But this shouldn’t be a tough decision. It’s time for the Conference of Champions to be revolutionary and not reactionary. It’s time to expand.
You really couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to make your mark as commissioner than what George Kliavkoff has been given. Less than a month after taking over for an almost universally disliked commissioner in Larry Scott, Kliavkoff has a chance to make a splash and a big one at that.
With the departures of Texas and OU, the Big 12 Conference and its current members are now an open market for the Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC. Now that’s where the Pac-12 needs to step up and make a move.
Waiting around at this moment could not only allow other conferences to potentially poach other schools forming their own type of SEC-like super conference, but it could also open the door to the biggest of nightmare scenarios, other conferences calling out west.
It might sound crazy, but the rumblings have already started. How do you ensure that Pac-12 bluebloods like Oregon, USC, and Washington don’t consider jumping to the Midwest? Well, one way is to be the aggressive conference instead of sitting back and watching it all play out.
Throughout the Larry Scott era, fans of the Pac-12 witnessed the conference struggle in most of the main revenue sports but especially in football. Look, it’s no secret to college football fans that the Pac-12 has been at or near the back of the Power 5 conferences for a better part of the past decade when it comes to performance on the gridiron.
Hope can come in many forms, and expansion might be the easiest way to put a much-needed boost into the league’s downtrodden football results. So who might the Pac-12 look add? Honestly, it’s a take your pick at this stage. With so many unknowns regarding realignment, the list of potential candidates appears to be large.
The point is this, if you’re the Pac-12, make some calls and at least gauge interest in some of the schools the league might be interested in. Both from an athletic, academic, and geographical standpoint. It would be absolutely foolish if you didn’t.
We’ve all been told before how history often repeats itself. Well, here it is but this time, the Pac-12 has a chance to cash in.
Think back to 2011 when the Pac-12 was rumored to be extremely close to adding Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State. While that move obviously never happened, the league now has an opportunity to get it right exactly a decade later.
So Pac-12, it’s time to step up to the plate and get out front. The dawn of the super conferences isn’t just knocking on the door anymore; it has kicked the door in. It’s time to elevate to stay in the arms race.