Thursday afternoon marked a seismic shift in the college sports landscape as USC and UCLA announced their decision to attend the Big Ten conference.
Questions began to arise about the dominoes that would come next. Are we headed for some ‘super conferences’ dominating college football? Is this just the first of many additions to the Big Ten in the coming months?
The SEC adding Texas and Oklahoma was the right start of something to come, but with the geographic frenzy of two Los Angeles schools attending a midwestern conference, it’s clear that anything is possible.
The Big Ten probably isn’t done adding yet, as they try to build a force to rival the SEC and pull in astronomical numbers from television money.
Where will the conference go next? Which teams want to join? Here is a list of 12 schools that could potentially participate in a Big Ten super conference:
Nov 6, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Fans of Oregon Ducks players pose for a photo as they celebrate after a 26-16 win against the Washington Huskies at Alaska Airlines Field in Husky Stadium. Mandatory credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
A well-known Rose Bowl foe to the Badgers, Oregon to the Big Ten makes a lot of sense. It’s a school with a rich athletic history, the Pac-12 was made as we once knew it, and geography is no longer a factor. The ducks have reportedly expressed an interest in participatingbut the Big Ten currently remains at 16 teams.
January 29, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies football head coach Kalen DeBoer speaks at Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Mandatory credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Washington has a case very similar to Oregon’s, and the Huskies have also expressed interest in the conference. The Huskies bring a solid athletic program, a team that has excelled on the football field in recent years, and another school in the new West Coast pod of Big Ten teams. Does the conference want them? Time will tell.
September 25, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Chris Tyree (25) returns a kick for a touchdown during the second half against the Wisconsin Badgers at Soldier Field. Mandatory credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
While many other teams on this list will have the Big Ten at the wheel whether or not they can compete, Notre Dame is in control of their future. The Fighting Irish have a huge, passionate fan base, a rich football history and a worldwide network of support. Their independence from the rest of the football world is likely to come to an end soon. Who will win the Fighting Irish sweepstakes?
Apr 2, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; ESPN personality Andy Katz interviews Armando Bacot (5) of North Carolina Tar Heels after the game against the Duke Blue Devils during the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four Semifinals at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
If the ACC loses to a super conference combination of the SEC and Big Ten, the Tar Heels have the power to finish in one of the two major leagues. North Carolina would contribute in a major way to an already stacked basketball conference.
March 26, 2022; San Francisco, CA, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Paolo Banchero (5) holds a piece of the net as they celebrate their victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Western Regional Finals of the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament at Chase Center. The Duke Blue Devils won 78-69. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
You can bet Duke and North Carolina are working together, similar to what USC and UCLA just did. If one goes, the other will probably follow.
March 5, 2022; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett calls for instructions during second half against the Louisville Cardinals at KFC Yum! Centre. Virginia defeated Louisville 71-61. Mandatory credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
It was rumored that Virginia would join the Big Ten in the past, and the fit makes a lot of sense. An excellent academic school, a successful athletic department and a team that may leave the ACC if the ship starts to sink.
State of Oklahoma
during the college football game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and TCU Horned Frogs at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.
With Oklahoma’s move to the SEC, that could be the natural course for the Cowboys as they explore a new conference. However, if two super conferences are held, it’s a safe bet that Oklahoma State will finish in one of the two.
January 22, 2022; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Miami Hurricanes head football coach Mario Cristobal reacts as he whips up the crowd during the second half between the Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminoles at Watsco Center. Mandatory credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
It’s hard to imagine the Big Ten not being interested in Miami. Will that interest be reciprocated? When the ACC dominoes begin to fall, a program like the Hurricanes is an attractive addition to a super conference.
Nov 27, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange running back Sean Tucker (34) runs through a hole in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Panthers at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Syracuse would bring a rich basketball history and an established brand name from the ACC. The fit makes a lot of sense, especially when the Big Ten lands North Carolina and Duke.
Georgia Tech guard Michael Devoe (0) dribbles past Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis (1) during the second half of an NCAA basketball game on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)
There were talks about Georgia Tech to the Big Ten at the conference’s latest rescheduling, and this time there will likely be talks between the school and the league. Adding the Atlanta market would expand the Big Ten footprint even further.
Apr 23, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham watches the second half of the Utah Spring Football Game at Rice–Eccles Stadium. Mandatory credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
After Washington and Oregon, Utah is likely next in the Big Ten pecking order if the conference looks set to continue expanding westward. The Utes have created a football powerhouse and run the state along with new Big 12 member BYU.
February 27, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self talks about Kansas Jayhawks guard Marcus Garrett (0) after his team defeated the Baylor Bears at Allen Fieldhouse. Required Credit: Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports
It’s a two-sport story with Kansas. The Jayhawks bring a blue-blooded basketball power to conference alongside a football program that is struggling to say the least. If the Big 12 continues to lose members, the Jayhawks will be one of the first schools to move.