Where Will WSU, OSU Land as PAC-12 Conference Crumbles?
The latest rumbles from the PAC-12 disintegration is that Stanford and Cal might be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference or ACC. Where will WSU and OSU land?
Cougs, and Beavers left to sweep up the wreckage
The PAC-12 crumble began when USC and UCLA announced in late December of 2022 they were joining the Big Ten Conference. Then, as lack of a large TV deal loomed for the remaining schools, they fell apart. UW, UO, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah have all committed to joining other conferences, leaving Stanford and Cal along with WSU and OSU.
The Tallahassee Democrat, a Florida newspaper, reported there were going to be calls this week, probably Wednesday, between Stanford and Cal officials and the ACC. The conference has said they were open to the idea of expansion.
Assuming this happens, or Stanford and Cal land somewhere else, that leaves Washington State and Oregon State. So far, there's been no movement by either to jump off the sinking PAC-12 ship. WSU President Kirk Schulz released a statement that read in part:
"Whatever solution we come up with, it will be different moving forward. Washington State has been a member of the same athletic conference since 1917, which has served us very well over the past 106 years."
There appear to be two realistic options for WSU, OSU
They could play for a year or two as independents, but the lack of TV money from a conference deal would hurt their programs. Some say they should join the Big Sky Conference, but that would drop them out of the top tier of NCAA Division I, the FBS, or the Football Bowl Subdivision. They would have to go to the FCS, or Football Championship Subdivision. The Big Sky has Idaho, Idaho State, Montana, Montana State, Weber State, Northern Arizona. Northern Colorado, Portland State, University of California-Davis, and Cal-Poly. Unlike bowl games, the Big Sky participates in a playoff system with other FCS schools.
And, the Big Sky does not have a major TV contract, and the league just realigned in the fall of 2022.
The most likely landing ground is either the American Athletic Conference or, as most experts agree, the Mountain West.
The AAC is a solid conference but geographically far away, with no regional rivalries. AAC schools include SMU, Tulane, Temple, University of Memphis, Rice University (Texas) North Texas, and others. They do have an ESPN TV deal.
The Mountain West provides the best landing ground for WSU and OSU, where they would have a built-in rivalry with Boise State. The Mountain West also includes Air Force, San Diego State, Wyoming, and Fresno State, which to various degrees have a lot of solid football history. The league also includes Hawaii, San Jose State, Utah State, and UNLV (University of Nevada Las Vegas).
Seattle Seahawk fans recall the legendary Bobby Wagner is from Utah State, an up-and-coming program. We will probably know a lot more by the end of the week.
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