Pac-12 Conference Remains ‘Bullish’ On Future Despite UCLA Exit

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News broke Wednesday night that the UCLA athletic program had been officially cleared to head to the Big 10 conference.

READ: UC REGENTS VOTE TO APPROVE UCLA MOVE TO BIG 10, WITH CONDITIONS

The Bruins will join USC, who as a private school, faced no such hurdles.

This is inarguably a massive blow to the Pac-12 Conference, both in revenue and reputation.

With just 10 schools remaining, the conference now faces a much worse negotiating position as their media rights negotiations unfold.

But if you listen to the conference, they’re not worried about it.

Pac-12 reporter Jon Wilner got a statement after the official vote, which showed an admirable amount of optimism.

The conference “remains incredibly bullish on the future success and growth” of their group and member institutions.

Except their biggest media market now belongs entirely to the Big 10.

USC Quarterback Caleb Williams running away from the Pac-12
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 26: Caleb Williams #13 of the USC Trojans runs for a touchdown against Jack Kiser #24 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the second half at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Pac-12 Faces Severe Challenges

Without USC and UCLA, name value in the conference is severely diminished. Oregon and Washington are solid, and Utah might be the most consistently underrated program in the country.

But Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington State and others have very little national name recognition.

They’re frequently banished to “Pac-12 after dark” television windows, while rarely challenging for major bowl games.

Colorado has made major inroads by bringing in Deion Sanders, but it’s one thing to get recruits and another to make them competitive.

READ: DEION SANDERS BREAKS OUT FLASHY CARS, FRESH GRAPHICS FOR FIRST RECRUITING WEEKEND AT COLORADO, LANDS 4* BLUE-CHIP COMMIT

The conference commissioner has claimed that there’s no support among fans of the LA schools for the move to the Big 10.

That might be true now, but if SC and UCLA can both reassert themselves nationally, fans will quickly forget about the past.

As far as the Pac-12 is concerned, they will almost certainly need to expand again or risk schools being poached into other conferences.

Whoever they find to replace SC and UCLA will undoubtedly be lesser names and in smaller markets.

There are so many potential challenges on the horizon, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than those in charge being “bullish” about the Pac-12’s future.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, ice cream expert and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, eating as much pizza as humanly possible, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter.

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