This was the week I was going to share “what I did during the IHSAA moratorium week.” I would have waffled sports, my vocation, and the non-sports segments of my life together to… you know where I would have taken us.

If you’re glad we’re not traveling down that road, thank the athletic directors at the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) for announcing their move to the Big Ten Conference (B1G) in 2024.

Opinions abound, and some purists are “tsk-tsk-ing” the latest breaking conference alignment announcement.

Is the move by USC and UCLA a money grab? It certainly is, but it is a proactive move, nonetheless.

I still enjoy watching college football enough to catch the action even if the Power 5 (ACC, B1G, BIG XII, PAC12, SEC) becomes the Power 2 (B1G, SEC). I prefer, however, at least a Power3 or a Power 4.

Posts and podcasts are chock-full of pundits’ collective concerns.

“This is just a money grab. It’s not what college sports are all about.”

Equipment, room, board, program staffing, scholarships all cost money. The athletes among swimming,  wrestling, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, and track and field will incur operating expenses far greater than their gate revenue. Big tranches of this money come from college football revenue streams.

The schools in the B1G must split conference network and national network revenue among all affiliates. Additionally, the big bowl appearances, particularly the College Football Playoff (CFP) are huge conference paydays.

The two new PAC12 defectors are going to see more money in their mailboxes once they join the B1G in 2024. The “Olympic” sports need this money, too.

USC, for example, will see its television revenue move from an estimated $30 million this year to a figure ranging from $75-$100 million in 2024 and 2025.

When was the last time a PAC12 team other than Oregon qualified for the CFP? A few years under Lincoln Riley’s helm will be all the USC Trojans need to finally see some CFP action. If your favorite team wasn’t in the SEC, the B1G, or your school’s name didn’t start with “Clem-” and end with “-son” the closest your team got to the CFP in the last eight seasons was watching the big screen, except for Oklahoma, and Notre Dame.

Even the Sooners see the merits of increased athletic revenues in national and conference network money pools, and they’ll be trading some wins and losses for the almighty dollar when they join the SEC.

“This destroys the Rose Bowl.”

The Rose Bowl hasn’t been relevant unless it hosted a BCS or CFP championship. The last good Rose Bowl was Texas (35), USC (31) in January 2006.

“Those California schools won’t handle the weather very well.”

The nice thing about this soon-to-be 16-team conference is there will likely be 10 conference games instead of eight or nine, and USC and UCLA will each host five games. The B1G regular season closes the Saturday following Thanksgiving followed by an indoor title game in early December.

How bad does October and November weather truly get in Minneapolis, Madison, Ann Arbor, Lincoln, or State College? What about South Bend? It appears some B1G squads will likely get late autumn games in California at least once per year depending on the schedules the new alignment dictates.

*sigh* Since I bring up South Bend…

“Notre Dame belongs in the B1G.”


They’ll need baby steps to get there, though. Step 1 would be to shift the informal ACC football schedule alignment to the B1G, and formally join the conference in all other sports. Step 2 would be to prick blood from the institution’s figurative finger and become B1G blood brothers.

While Fighting Irish home games are great for the athletic department revenue (compounded by a sweet television deal with NBC), their current revenue structure for road games offsets some of that lucrative home game structure.

The Notre Dame-USC rivalry would join “The Game” – Ohio State vs. Michigan – as a televised rivalry marathon. This time, however, move the Irish’s home game versus the Trojans permanently from October to the final week of the regular season.

College football is – dare I say - too Southern for me in its current state. It will continue to be this way with the equally packed SEC adding Texas and Oklahoma, but if you’re a USC or UCLA fan, this is as close you’ll get to seeing your favorite school’s squad earn a berth to the CFB, especially with the inevitability of expansion.

“When will this conference-hopping end?”

Likely around 2024 or 2025, but who cares? Texas, Oklahoma, USC, and UCLA were more proactive than the rest of the shifting teams.

The Big XII mitigated part of the adverse effects of the Texas-OU defection by securing commitments from Brigham Young University, the University of Central Florida, Cincinnati, and the University of Houston. At least two of these schools – Cinci and Houston – will also make basketball interesting.

Two things need to be certain, though. First, the only other addition to the B1G should be Notre Dame. No one else in the U.S. contributes to the conference’s financial well-being enough to be admitted. Notre Dame, instead, will increase the average amounts distributed among the schools.

Sorry, Oregon.

Second, the NCAA needs a commissioner for football at each level, especially the CFP echelon. Name-in-likeness (NIL) alone needs greater sport-specific governance. The transfer portal is the equivalent of free agency. NCAA football would benefit from the NFL’s governance model to – at the very least –avoid the imminent gap between the B1G-SEC tandem, and the ACC-Big XII tandem.

What about the PAC12, you ask?

Well, the likely moves by Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah to the Big XII would create four 16-team football conferences. If the PAC12 were a stock, it’s already too late to sell.