The college sports landscape is ripe for a shakeup, with the University of Colorado Buffaloes and the University of Arizona Wildcats reportedly eyeing the Big 12’s doors. With this potential shakeup, there’s also a glaring question mark about which other schools might join their ranks or possibly fill the void they leave behind.
Could Oregon and Washington Follow Colorado and Arizona Out of PAC-12?
Recent reports suggest that the Colorado Buffaloes and Arizona Wildcats are looking to move away from the Pac-12 to the Big 12. In the wake of such high-profile potential departures, a ripple effect is almost inevitable. The question isn’t if others will follow suit, but who and when.
BREAKING: Nothing becomes official until the #Pac12 gets their TV deal finalized, but now multiple sources tell us tonight that the #Buffs and #BearDown will move to the #Big12. No word on the #Utes and #SunDevils, but Yormark may just take two and save some spots for #ACC teams.
— SWAIM SHOW (@GSwaim) June 4, 2023
The Oregon Ducks and the Washington Huskies, two renowned PAC-12 teams, might start reconsidering their alliances in the wake of such a monumental shift. Both these universities are national brands with significant influence, who might not fancy being part of a diluted PAC-12.
Oregon’s college football program is highly regarded nationally, and the school’s successful athletics track record could make it an enticing candidate for the Big 12 or even the SEC. Similarly, Washington boasts a strong athletics program and could be a sought-after addition to any conference looking to boost its competitive clout.
There are also growing whispers about Utah Utes and Arizona State Sun Devils, both current members of the PAC-12, possibly following in the footsteps of Colorado and Arizona. If these rumors solidify into fact, this move could further reinforce the trend of PAC-12 departures and truly disrupt the balance of power in college athletics.
Could UConn and Gonzaga Enter PAC-12?
However, the PAC-12’s potential losses could be other conferences’ gains. Teams like the UConn Huskies and Gonzaga Bulldogs, whose names have been floated in the conversation, could serve as potential replacements for the departing teams. Both have strong athletic programs and, given the opportunity, could fill the void quite well.
UConn, with a historically successful college basketball program, could bring a competitive edge to the PAC-12 and boost its national presence in the sport. On the other hand, Gonzaga’s basketball program has also been incredibly successful, and their addition could add depth to the conference’s basketball lineup.
Ultimately, the game of conference realignment is a high-stakes one, with winners and losers on every side. Colorado and Arizona’s potential departures from the PAC-12 to the Big 12 could set off a chain reaction, resulting in a complete reconfiguration of college sports conferences.
In such turbulent times, it’s not just about who leaves but also who comes in to fill those spots. While the decisions of Oregon, Washington, UConn, and Gonzaga are speculative at this point, the coming months could bring surprises and realignments in college sports that we haven’t seen in years.
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