Conference realignment is the saga that seemingly never ends, with Cal and Stanford being the two schools everyone is waiting on. And, a new report suggests that the schools may now be interested in joining the Big 12.
The two schools are in this position after the PAC 12 essentially collapsed in early August after six teams announced they would leave the conference in 2024, with UCLA and USC having announced the same thing last year. Cal and Stanford, along with Oregon State and Washington State, are the only teams in the league who haven’t announced a departure.
Those four teams are desperately searching for new homes. Oregon State and Washington State’s prospects are, frankly, not good. But, Cal and Stanford have some hope to find a home in what will soon be the power four, given the stature of the school’s elite academics and large market in the Bay Area.
Cal and Stanford almost certainly would choose the Big Ten if they could, but the Big Ten appears to be not interested, especially in Cal. They’ve been actively trying to get into the ACC along with SMU, but whether they will get enough votes is very much in doubt.
Rumors were that Cal and Stanford had rejected advances by the Big 12, likely due to the conference’s lack of academic prestige. But, with viable financial options dwindling, they may be reconsidering. Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle with more.
As talks with the Atlantic Coast Conference persist, Cal and Stanford have begun exploring the possibility of joining the Big 12, a source familiar with the negotiations told the Chronicle.
Though the Bay Area schools remain committed to securing invites from the ACC, they want to make sure they can still land in a Power 5 conference if the ACC doesn’t work out. Talks with the ACC have ramped up in recent days, with negotiations centering on how the league’s annual additional revenue from expansion would be distributed.
Stanford and Cal sharing a conference with BYU would be very funny.
In the meantime, both schools will actually play real football next weekend. That will be a welcome change.