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Report: Oregon & Washington to the Big Ten

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Update (6:08 p.m.)— **Per Thamel, the Big Ten’s presidents have voted Washington and Oregon in.

The Big Ten will be the first “super-conference” to reach 18 teams. ESPN’s Pete Thamel and Action Network’s Brett McMurphy are both reporting that Oregon and Washington, currently of the Pac-12, are set to follow USC and UCLA to the Big Ten in 2024.

The Big Ten has been in an arms race with the SEC ever since the SEC added Texas and Oklahoma in 2021. The Big Ten followed that by adding USC and UCLA from the Pac-12 last year. It was thought that the Big 12 would be the conference to die, but the Pac-12 chose against adding any Big 12 schools while the Big 12 signed an early TV deal and added BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF.

Since then, the Pac-12 has struggled to sign their own TV deal, all leading up to Colorado announcing their departure to the Big 12 last week. A TV deal was presented earlier this week, but it relied heavily on streaming and needed to meet subscriber goals to even surpass the Big 12’s reported value.

After Colorado’s departure, the other “four corner” schools (Arizona, Arizona State, Utah) have been rumored by many to go to the Big 12 as well with Arizona being the next domino to fall. Oregon and Washington were viewed as Big Ten or bust, as they’ve both made their intentions about going to the Big Ten pretty well known.

There are rumors that USC did not want another west coast school to join the Big Ten while Cal being excluded in last year’s realignment also caused issues politically. There are also rumors that Cal and Stanford could join the Big Ten as well, putting the conference at 20 teams.

Regardless, it looks like it’s the death of the Pac-12 with the Big Ten further cementing itself as one of two “super-conferences.” Realignment is not over though as the Pac-12 still has seven schools with no home. There’s a chance only one of the “four corner” schools goes to the Big 12 while Washington State and Oregon State are likely heading to the Mountain West, assuming the Pac-12 officially dissolves.

Where does realignment go from here? Florida State has been extremely vocal about how unhappy they are in the ACC, but members of the conference could be trapped due to their grant of rights agreement running through 2036 and being extremely difficult to break. They’re not the only program in the ACC that should attract significant realignment interest if there was a way out of the conference with Clemson, North Carolina, Miami, and Virginia all carrying big brand or market value with them.

And then there’s Notre Dame, who has remained committed to football independence but may be forced to join a conference sooner rather than later. And who knows what the SEC wants to do in response to the Big Ten’s grab of two more west coast schools. With the ACC schools locked up for over a decade, there aren’t many top programs left for poaching now that Oregon and Washington are gone.

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