UCLA and USC are leaving for the Big 10, because nothing says Big 10 football like Los Angeles, California. What a sham this is. Rutgers will now play conference games in California. Outrageous!

This is, of course, all about money. It always has been, but now we’re taking this thing to grotesque levels, with a couple of 16-team super-conferences forming by 2025.

Meet your new SEC:

Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Vandy, Georgia, Florida, Mizzou, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas

And your new Big 10:

Indiana, Maryland, Rutgers, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Northwestern, Illinois, UCLA, USC

So you’ve got your pair of 16 team super conferences. Maybe they even go to 18 or 20. Shit, who knows? Who knows if it stops there. If the TV money is absurd and you’re debasing rival conferences via poaching, then why stop at 16? I wouldn’t be surprised if the Big 10 and SEC keep reaching for the likes of a Notre Dame, Clemson, etc.

With Oklahoma and Texas going to the SEC, you had the Big 12 turn to independent BYU and then take Cincy, UCF, and Houston from the American, so the Big 12 will have 12 full members when that happens, but what’s to stop the Big 12 from going after Utah, the Arizona schools, and/or pursuing Colorado for a conference return? That gets them to 16. Oregon is out there as well.

The other thing to consider is the ACC. They currently have 15 football members and are likely pondering the next move as they watch the SEC and Big 10 expand. There is no more Big East football, so they are the only other Power 5 conference with east coast teams. Gotta protect Clemson and FSU from being poached. Do they try to convince Notre Dame to join outright? That would get them to 16. Then you’d have four 16-team super conferences and the PAC 12 would be on life support depending on what the Washington and Oregon schools end up doing.

If I had to rank the best schools for further Big 10 or SEC poaching right now, I’d  go:

  1. Notre Dame
  2. Clemson
  3. Oregon

RE: Notre Dame, Matt Hayes at Saturday Down South writes this:

It’s a simple numbers game, one that Notre Dame — its forever staunchly independent status as much a fabric of its identity as Touchdown Jesus — can’t avoid.

Vanderbilt and Northwestern will make $80 million annually from the SEC and Big Ten.

Notre Dame makes $15 million annually from its NBC contract to televise its home games, and an estimated $10-11 million annually from the ACC (the Irish received a full $35 million share in the 2020 COVID season), depending on the number of games it plays.

That’s $55 million reasons annually Notre Dame will soon have a conference membership.

Bottom line, this is all very bizarre and somewhat sad. Geographical proximity used to mean something. It created fun, hyperlocal rivalries, and now we’ve got Penn State vs. Southern Cal and Maryland vs. USC in conference games. Penn State vs. Pitt is an out-of-conference game and there’s a Florida team joining the Big 12. This is good for revenue and eyeballs and television, but ask yourself how this benefits the players, coaches, and fans. It really does not, unless you’re one of those people who wants the college football version of the UEFA Champion’s League.