Arizona State AD Says The PAC-12 Was ‘Shocked’ By USC And UCLA Leaving, Doesn’t Rule Out Expansion

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USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten stunned Arizona State AD Ray Anderson.

The Trojans and Bruins stunned the college football world when both programs agreed to leave the PAC-12 for the Big Ten in 2024.

The decision changed the college football landscape forever, and the PAC-12 apparently had no heads up.

USC and UCLA are joining the Big Ten. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

“There was no heads up, not even a hint that those schools were considering that. We were all completely shocked by it. It was certainly done underground, complete secrecy, deception, whatever. They kept it under wraps, I’ll give them that,” Anderson told The Arizona Republic.

Now, the PAC-12 is scrambling to remain relevant. Talks with the Big 12 broke down, and it would seem expansion is the next logical choice. Anderson certainly didn’t rule it out.

Will the PAC-12 survive without UCLA and USC?. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Anderson added, “Nothing is off the table and shouldn’t be because things are constantly changing. We’re still looking for schools that are an academic, cultural fit. That is unique in the Pac-12 and our presidents are sensitive to that. We have high academic standards and if we get to that point (expansion) we’re going to look for schools that have that same belief, that same mission. We’re not going to lower our standards for the sake of adding a team or two.”

Arizona State AD Ray Anderson talks UCLA and USC leaving the PAC-12. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The ASU AD must also be a real optimist because he thinks the PAC-12 might be better off without its two biggest brands.

“There definitely was the belief that people here got used to accommodating those schools in a way that was unhealthy for the rest of us, and definitely more than they should have been given their showing lately. We can sort of reverse course now and make it more equitable for all of us,” Anderson claimed.

USC quarterback Caleb Williams. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

If UCLA and USC leaving and taking their toys (money) with them is better for the PAC-12, it’s certainly not obvious to the average fan!

With the Bruins and Trojans headed to the Big Ten, the PAC-12 is in big trouble. Will the conference survive? It certainly could, but it will never be the same.

Losing your two biggest brands and programs is never a good thing. Anderson can spin it however he wants when talking about making things “equitable for all of us,” but that’s nonsense. It’s not even a good attempt at a spin zone.

How will USC and UCLA do in the Big Ten? (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

The PAC-12 is in big trouble, and no matter what happens next, the conference will never be as relevant as the Big Ten or SEC.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.

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  1. Depending on which source you believe, the Big 12 seems to have their sights on either (1) The Four Corners PAC-12 schools (Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah), (2) just two of The Four Corners Schools (Arizona and Colorado), or (3) The Four Corners Schools plus Oregon/Washington.

    Let’s be honest… the PAC-12 TV deal was atrocious and the PAC-12 is paying for it, first with the loss of UCLA/USC and now with the potential loss of between two and six members to the Big 12.

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