On June 30th, it was announced that USC & UCLA were planning to move to the Big Ten. Now that their applications had been accepted, both teams will become Big Ten participants starting in 2024. Two of the most historic west coast programs will now take their talents to the Midwest; a move that will take the CFB landscape and shake it upside down.

For the Big Ten, it’s a move that will strengthen their overall prestige. The SEC has been viewed as the best CFB conference with the most talent for a long time. The inclusion of USC & UCLA won’t necessarily put the Big Ten in front, but it will definitely create discussions as to which conference is better. More importantly for the Big Ten, this move will add revenue to their pockets as they expand west.

It will be interesting to see how both teams stack up against the rest of the conference. Last year, UCLA finished with a winning record for the first time since 2015. USC will be looking to return to its winning ways after a 4-8 finish in 2021. Whereas PAC-12 teams are known for their up-tempo offenses and high-scoring games, the Big Ten is known more for its physicality and grit. Will USC and UCLA have their hands full adjusting to the colder weather and the smashmouth football? Time will tell.

Pros and Cons of the Move

Let’s start off with the cons. As much as the move makes sense from a lucrative perspective, it does not make sense regionally. Many of the rivalries PAC-12 fans looked forward to every year will be decimated due to this move. Stanford and Cal will now be left without two of their biggest in-state rivals.

As much as the PAC-12 has struggled to produce postseason playoff teams, it was still an interesting conference with lots of parity. Teams like Oregon and Washington knew they would have their work cut out for them when USC showed up on their schedule. There are still plenty of good PAC-12 teams, but it can’t be denied that losing both of their Southern California programs is a massive blow to the gut.

On the positive side, this conference move creates opportunities for USC and UCLA to test themselves in a stronger conference. Having a ton of conferences can create unanswered questions as to who is better. Cramming more teams into the Big Ten and SEC could eliminate some of those questions, and the best get to play the best more often on a weekly basis. With fewer divisions, there are more opportunities for teams to branch out and play teams they rarely ever played before.

The Future of CFB

I think it’s safe to say that a domino effect is destined to ensue. As a matter of fact, we’ve already heard the rumblings of potential moves in the rumor mill. How does the SEC respond? Will Florida State jump ship from the ACC? How about Notre Dame? They already have a good deal as an independent team playing whoever they want, but what if they move to the Big Ten? Figuratively speaking, USC and UCLA have opened Pandora’s Box, so who knows where the CFB landscape goes from here.

As for the other three power five teams, people have already discussed the potential of a merger. And even then, what would that look like? Will we see a future with 20-team conferences duking it out for supremacy? Would a merger be a better option for the ACC/PAC-12/Big 12 to keep their relevancy?

The Big 12 has already looked into adding Houston, Cincinnati, UCF, and BYU into their conference. What are the chances of the PAC-12 looking to add Boise State and San Diego State into theirs? Would the ACC follow suit and look to expand if any of their teams leave? The questions are endless, and watching it play out over these next few years will be intriguing.

The CFB landscape is literally changing right in front of our eyes. Old conference rivalries are disappearing as power conferences look to add competition and revenue to their markets. NIL deals are in effect and student-athletes get to profit off their labor like never before. It’s a new era, and the future of college football has never been as uncertain as it is now.

I would like to thank you for taking your time to read through this article. For more sports-related content, head over to Belly Up Sports. We have articles, op-eds, and podcasts available on our website. Disagree with anything? Think I’m missing something? Want to continue this discussion? You can find me on Twitter @RevKoka.

About Author

Rev Koka

American with proud Nigerian roots. Former student-athlete. WCU alum. MMA and football enthusiast. Offensive line lover. Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Waver of the Terrible Towel.

1 Comment

    How the heck do I find what you say about Illini football?

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