Conference realignment has taken over the college football offseason as the PAC 12 seemingly crumbles. We saw USC and UCLA make the decision to leave the league last year, and a number of programs could follow suit.
Colorado has already done so, announcing its departure for the Big XII in 2024. With the Conference of Champions unable to secure a suitable media rights deal, the PAC 12 is in danger of further attrition.
Multiple teams have been linked to both the Big Ten and Big XII following the Buffaloes’ recent announcement. ‘Four corners’ schools Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah seem to be the most likely targets to follow Colorado.
The Wildcats, in fact, held an impromptu board meeting to presumably discuss its options for the future this week. Head football coach Jedd Fisch responded to the recent reports by saying, “Arizona is a great brand and will be fine [no matter what happens in realignment].”
The Big XII isn’t the only conference looking to pounce. Oregon and Washington, maybe the league’s top remaining brands, could be destined for the Big Ten.
With speculation running rampant throughout the college sports world, questions are being asked to decision makers. Earlier this week, Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson was asked his thoughts on the uncertainty in the PAC 12.
His comments only fueled rumors of a departure.
WATCH: #ArizonaState athletic director Ray Anderson addresses media after new stadium naming rights deal and comments on Pac-12
— Brendan Mau (@brendan_mau) August 2, 2023
“I remain extremely hopeful and understand personally no matter how it ends up Arizona State will be in a good spot,” Anderson said echoing the sentiments of instate rival Arizona.
His words have many believing a decision has been made to leave the league in the near future, viewing the remarks as a pitch to outside conferences.
College football podcaster Greg Flugaur wrote, “ASU’s ‘shift in the room’ has begun,” after hearing Anderson speak on the situation. Others agreed.
Key words he used about ASU were “very coveted”. Basically admitting talks are occurring without saying talks are occurring.
— Becky (@beckarabecka) August 2, 2023
A number of replies interpreted the comments as Anderson admitting that he’s been in contact with another league.
Arizona State to the Big XII a done deal?
Code talk for we are joining the Big12.
— Randall Scott (@StrachanRandall) August 2, 2023
The Sun Devils have been a strong basketball brand in recent years, posting 20-win seasons in four of the last six campaigns. ASU made the NCAA Tournament last year, going 1-1 with a blowout win over Nevada and a two-point defeat to TCU.
At this point, it seems the Big XII is trying to stack basketball powers, which would make Arizona State a coveted target, especially should Arizona also bolt.
The PAC 12 pitched its members on a potential TV deal, which many reported as an agreement with streaming service Apple. The revenue numbers weren’t lucrative enough for league members to pull the trigger.
Things don’t look good for the Conference of Champions. The next wave of realignment might just kill the PAC 12.