College football’s realignment is in the air again as USC and UCLA announced they will join the Big Ten in 2024.
The move follows another seismic shift from last year, when Texas and Oklahoma confirmed they would move to the SEC in the near future.
BYU, Houston, Cincinnati and UCF followed with a move into the Big 12.
Consolidation and expansion is the way of the future for college football as institutions struggle for position in the ever-mounting tide of television money.
What are the next dominoes to fall? Let’s predict the future.
Clearly the biggest fish in this pond, Notre Dame has always coveted its independence and has been able to keep it for two reasons: 1) it has a great TV deal with NBC, which broadcasts its home games, and 2) it did it in a sensible way to the college football playoffs.
That TV deal ends in 2025 and there would be a big problem if the school thought they were losing their access to the CFP, but the TV partners would be more than willing to include the Irish and their large national fan base in the post-season.
If ND wants to attend a conference, it probably won’t be the ACC, especially considering how far behind that league compares to the SEC and the Big Ten in terms of revenue.
Under current conditions it would have to join the ACC as a football member because it is already for other sports and the Big Ten wouldn’t want the Irish just for football. Which means that for sports other than football, ND would have to pay an exit fee to the ACC.
Minutes after it was announced that USC and UCLA were making their way to the Big Ten, the eyes of the college football world immediately turned to the Ducks.
Oregon has steadily increased its prominence in the Pac-12 and nationally and has become a solid recruiting destination. It also has a strong connection to Nike, whose co-founder Phil Knight is a huge benefactor.
Why would Oregon want to stay at a conference whose existence is threatened? And if it persists, it almost stands in front of you one third lost sales? Oregon can maintain its West Coast matchups with USC and UCLA while expanding its reach by establishing annual rivalries with eastern legacy teams.
Duke and North Carolina
The Big Ten, one of the major rivalries in collegiate sports, could pick up another pair of elite programs in a package deal.
Granted, the Duke football brand isn’t exactly flawless, but both schools are world-renowned for their basketball programs, and Duke brings exceptional academic standards to the Big Ten’s minds.
The big hurdle here is the current ACC granting of rights. That deal runs until 2036, stops departing teams from taking their media earnings with them, and comes with an absurdly high exit fee said to be around $100 million.
However, that amount is expected to decrease over the next few years, and some schools, looking at potential earnings on the other side in the Big Ten or the SEC, might see this fee as a wise investment.
Another option for the Big Ten if they want an institution that screams “elite.” Stanford has one of the largest university endowments in the country, boasts an unrivaled academic reputation and a solid athletic department to boot. Not to mention access to the San Francisco television market and an international reach of alumni from the most respected corners of society. As George Costanza would say, it has the seal of approval of yin yang.
Very similar to the situation in Oregon. Washington is a solid academic institution with good athletics. It is the largest university in its state. And it’s bringing a big media market to Seattle that would give the Big Ten Network a ton more exposure. It would also give the other West Coast teams some geographical relief so they don’t have to travel across the country for every away game.
More from College Football HQ
USC, UCLA plan to move to the Big Ten in 2024
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