The College Football landscape it changing rapidly with conference expansion and realignment. Two prestigious schools (Texas and Oklahoma) are leading that charge by moving to the SEC.
The Pac-12 recently lost two if its biggest schools, USC and UCLA, who are being replaced by SMU and San Diego State. This has led many to question the future of the Pac-12 as other conferences strengthen in the wake of the Pac-12’s demise.
On Tuesday morning, ESPN/SEC insider Paul Finebaum went on McElroy and Cubelic In The Morning. He was asked straight-up if the Pac-12 will exist in 2026. Finebaum does not believe the Pac-12 will make it that far and he explains his reasoning.
— McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning (@macandcube) June 20, 2023
Responding to Greg McElroy’s question, Paul Finebaum said (via On3):
“I don’t believe so. I don’t know how it can, Greg. Because it’s — the situation is so fragile right now. The leadership is better than it was. It’s still not very good. And, you know, I think you give the new commissioner, George Kliavkoff, a pass because maybe a year, a year and a half ago, his predecessor literally ran this thing into the ground. But he’s had enough time and I think, so far, you have to give him a failing grade.”
“And ultimately, as much as big conferences don’t really want to expand at the moment, I think they’ll be forced to take the cream of the crop out there, whether it’s the Big Ten going after the northwest schools, whether it’s Colorado or Arizona or somebody else just deciding to go to the Big 12 — I do not believe the Pac-12 can exist.”
This is, of course, juts one man’s opinion. But in this case, Paul Finebaum has his finger on the pulse of College Football as much as anyone.
It remains to be seen how the SEC, Big Ten, Big-12, and ACC will look in the coming years but College Football Playoff expansion to 12 teams and NIL are amongst the numerous factors driving realignment.