Last summer, Big 12 powerhouses Texas and Oklahoma shook up the college football landscape by announcing their plan to leave the conference and join a new-look SEC in 2025. And this summer, it appears that two of the Pac-12's flagship programs will cause monumental conference realignment once again. According to multiple reports, city rivals USC and UCLA are preparing to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten as early as 2024, with an announcement imminent.
If or when the Trojans and Bruins part ways with the Pac-12, it'd bump the Big Ten up to 16 teams -- the same exact number as the SEC, once Oklahoma and Texas join the fun. With a pair of megaconferences in place, college football's Power Five structure will be completely reformed, and the Big 12, Pac-12, and ACC conferences will have the tall order of fighting against the two juggernaut leagues. Suffice to say, geography is no longer an obstacle for college teams.
"Shocked, but also not surprised. I think you could say both. I didn't see this coming now, but I figured we were inevitably moving toward two superpower conferences," SI.com reporter Pat Forde explained to the Maggie and Perloff show on Thursday. "Didn't think it was this summer. The timing of it absolutely has caught everyone off-guard... And this is one of those things that they did a very good keeping under wraps for a long time until they've almost reached the finish line. And now, here we are. Second straight summer blockbuster...
"From what I've been told, this has been something in discussion for months. And maybe it came together a bit more quickly than some people anticipated because it was attractive to both sides. The schools themselves and certainly to the Big Ten... I'd be shocked if [Lincoln Riley] took the [USC job] and didn't have some inklings... USC would have to talk to him honestly. And I think most people in college athletics were expecting even more seismic ripples to come from the Oklahoma and Texas move. And by no means are we done."
The entire football conversation between Forde and Maggie and Perloff can be accessed in the audio player above.