The recent expansion of the Big Ten conference in college football has caused a major stir in the sports world. While the addition of USC and UCLA has been widely discussed, a recent report from Arizona president Robert Robbins suggests that UCLA might not have been the conference’s first choice.
According to Robbins, the Big Ten was originally eyeing Oregon as another target for expansion alongside USC. He stated that he heard that the plan was to take both USC and Oregon to the Big Ten conference. Oregon has been connected to Big Ten expansion rumors in the past, with sources stating that officials from both the conference and the school have held discussions about membership.
Although no formal announcements came from these talks, Robbins claimed that it was USC that initiated the expansion process. He continued by saying that “I think UCLA was a reluctant follower in this whole thing. But [USC] needed a travel partner close by so it makes sense.”
While there may have been initial doubts about UCLA, the conference’s historic media deal may have played a role in changing the school’s mind. The Big Ten recently inked a billion-dollar media deal set to last seven years, much more than the Pac-12 conference is expected to make in any future arrangements.
However, Robbins contends that the real winner in this move may not be UCLA, but instead the conference’s media partner, Fox. “I think Fox wanted to consolidate LA and not let anybody else in. I think it’s brilliant. Well played,” he remarked.
Despite these insider observations, the addition of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten has been celebrated by fans and analysts alike. College football followers are already looking forward to the must-see games that are set to happen when the schools will join the conference.
The new additions present an opportunity for the Big Ten to rise to prominence as a top-tier football conference, rivaling the likes of the SEC or the Big 12. The move will also have implications for the Pac-12 as it will likely need to find a way to counteract the talent drain that is sure to follow.
Only time will tell what the future holds for these conferences, but one thing is for sure – the college football world has been shaken up in a major way.