With ongoing talks of a Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC alliance furthering to a point where an announcement could come by next week, it seemed as if any hope one of the remaining Big 12 schools had to jump ship might have started to dwindle. In the words of Lee Corso — Not so fast, my friend.
Pac-12 Commissioner Geoge Kliavkoff spoke with the Las Vegas Review Journal this week, and he said with Oklahoma and Texas bolting to the SEC, he wouldn’t be doing his job if he wasn’t listening to schools inquiring about joining the Pac-12, and said some expansion decisions could come sooner than expected.
“There’s no hard deadline related to any of this, but I would say I don’t think it’s good for college athletics given the vibration that’s going on as a result of the Texas and Oklahoma news,” Kliavkoff said. “The quicker we can dampen that vibration, the better. We will have a decision on whether we intend to expand or not in the next couple of weeks.”
The timeline of further conference realignment has been murky, but most indications have pointed to it dragging out for a while. A power conference announcing intentions to expand in the next few weeks could speed up that timeline quite a bit.
Kliavkoff didn’t go into any detail on which schools he has met with, but he did say the Pac-12 had taken meetings with “everyone” who expressed interested in joining the league.
He also pointed to the fact that there are pitfalls with only having teams the in Mountain and Pacific time zones. That’s something, say, an Oklahoma State could help with, allowing Pac-12 games to be played in more visible time slots across the country.
“Since we have the only Power Five teams in the Mountain and Pacific time zones, when we play a night game, we get paid handsomely for doing that because we’re filling a time slot no other Power Five conference can fill,” Kliavkoff said. “Our audience is limited compared to a nationally televised game because a lot of the East Coast is already asleep or will be asleep by halftime.
“You also have AP voters and Heisman candidate voters who may not be able to see all of that game. So we’re getting paid more for that game, but it costs us in national exposure and perhaps a competitive advantage for getting into the (College Football Playoff).”
A Pac-12 school hasn’t made the College Football Playoff since Washington got in after the 2016 season. Meanwhile, since Reggie Bush’s vacated Heisman trophy in 2005, only Oregon’s Marcus Mariota has won the award while playing in the Pac-12, doing so in 2014.
So, while this three-conference alliance might still be moving forward, it might not necessarily put an end to possible expansion for the eight remaining Big 12 schools.