You remember high school? It’s full of cliques and at least as far as when I was in it (centuries ago ha-ha laugh it up) the jock boys and cheerleaders were still two of the ones it was cool to be in with.
So if you were at lunch with your buddies who you play Magic the Gathering with or your girls who have become proficient on the clarinet and the jocks or cheerleaders ask you to come sit and eat with them, you take them up on it…right?
For Oregon (and Washington for that matter) I suppose it was that kind of scenario, and the Big Ten, er…Big Eighteen now, provided just enough peer pressure that they gathered up their pizza and gatorade and plopped down next to the popular kids.
Utah, Colorado, and the Arizona schools headed to the Big 12, which makes sense geographically and financially.
Oregon and Washington’s move makes sense neither geographically or financially.
As two of the bigger guns in the Pac 12, and certainly the watermarks for the PNW, Oregon and UW garnered much of the TV attention in the conference, and thus were set up with the more lucrative of the Pac-12 Network showings.
The Big Ten has Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, and now, USC, all of who are going to get preferred time slots over Oregon based on their larger fan bases and national prevalence. Heck, Iowa, Michigan State, and UCLA might overtake them in that department.
Geographically it makes even less sense.
14 of the teams in the conference are gathered around the Great Lakes and Northeastern seaboard. Oregon, Washington, USC, and UCLA are thousands of miles from any of them. The expenses for traveling to these other schools possibly every other week will be outrageous.
The only hope there is that maybe a couple of the Pac-12 hanger-ons (most likely Cal and Stanford) come and make it the Big Twenty so there can be a Western/Pacific division to the mega conference.
Oregon will lose money, on TV and on the road. Fellow recent joinees Maryland and Rutgers will gain it.
The only real bright spots here are the fact that Oregon and Washington will continue their rivalry and that more often now the Ducks will have the opportunity to shut Michigan and Ohio State fans up by beating them on the field.
Aside from that you can say goodbye to more easily attending Duck games on the road due to prices and location, as well as the always classic Pac-12/ Big Ten matchup in Pasadena. Hopefully Oregon and Oregon State can continue their rivalry in all sports (although it won’t be the same without conference standings being on the line).
The Pac-12 is disintegrating, and Cal, Stanford, Wazzu, and the Beavs are probably scrambling to find a landing spot.
In a way, it was fortunate that the popular Big Ten deemed Oregon and Washington worthy of getting to hang with them.
In a way.