Skull Session: Pac-12 contemplates another ‘alliance’, Notre Dame wants to remain independent, and Ohio state has huge social reach

Folks, it’s here.

Word of the day: latent.

THE ALLIANCE, PT. II. The first “loose partnership” the Pac-12 agreed to resulted in a quick knife in the back courtesy of the Big Ten as it raided USC and UCLA. So the Pac-12’s answer is to… join another loose partnership?

What would a “loose partnership” with the ACC look like? It could be a shared media rights deal with ESPN, which is currently working with both entities. It could also result in the 10 remaining Pac-12 teams staying together and the winner of that “division of 10 teams” at the end of the season in an ACC vs. Pac-12 Championship game plays in Las Vegas. There may also be some attractive regular season crossover matches between the entities in football and men’s basketball.

“Geography aside,” Thompson told me Tuesday, “(the ACC) has significantly better TV markets than the Big 12.”

As hilarious as this is, it also sounds kind of awesome as a college football fan? I mean, if there’s anything that keeps me interested in the Pac-12 and ACC in the middle of the Big Ten and the SEC simply claiming college football for themselves, it’s a combined title game for a conference in Vegas at the end. of the year.

Someone becomes the first team in college football history to win two conferences in one season, and that’s the norm. I like the new college football.

THIS IS MY LAST WAY OUT. For any of you hoping that this wave of conference rescheduling would be the thing to finally push Notre Dame into the Big Ten, don’t hold your breath.

You’ll be shocked to learn that it sounds like the Irish have no interest in attending a conference until college football as we know it ends.

A source familiar with the school’s thinking told Sports Illustrated that “independence remains the preferred choice and leader in the clubhouse.” It will take much to remove Notre Dame from its cherished identity, but the instability of the entire landscape remains a concern and could further affect Ireland’s prospects.

Two areas to keep an eye on: the fate of both the College Football Playoff and Atlantic Coast Conference. If one or both collapse, Notre Dame can be forced into the Big Ten. Under the current contract, the playoff will end in January 2026. There is no guarantee that another iteration will take its place, regardless of size. “The vast majority of writing is assuming a playoff, and that it will get bigger,” the industry source says. “I’m not sure of that assumption.”

The most interesting thing here to me is actually that bit about the College Football Playoff, because somehow I hadn’t even considered how all this absurdity would affect the playoff.

I think if the playoff dies, the winner of the new Big Ten could play the winner of the new SEC for the title every year. That sounds a bit lame, but realistically a play-off would probably get us anyway.

THE BRAND IS STRONG. If you want to know why the state of Ohio is still attractive to recruits seeking that precious NIL money, even though the Buckeyes don’t swing around with that NIL collective money like other schools, it’s actually pretty simple: the brand .

Ohio State’s national brand and social outreach absolutely surpasses any other team in the country.

With that huge committed fan base, a star player with the Buckeyes is always, always worth a hefty price tag in the NIL market.

UCLA’s Savior. The Big Ten may have just saved UCLA’s athletic department.

The timing is uncertain and the number of teams that would have been affected is unknown, but the Bruins were headed for an Olympic sports Armageddon without the cash infusion that will accompany the departure from the Pac-12 conference in 2024.

Now the 25 teams and more than 700 athletes can exhale in the knowledge that their future is secured, making those Big Ten country cross-country flights and frigid midwinter temperatures that much more bearable.

“If you like Olympic sports, you should be a fan of this move,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond told The Times on Tuesday. “If your program is heavily in debt, it’s hard to sustain, let alone invest. This not only maintains today’s programs – which was not self-evident – but also allows us to invest in them. This move allows us to rethink what UCLA athletics can be with more strategic investment and resources.”

In the past three fiscal years, UCLA’s athletics division had run up a $102.8 million deficit that was only exacerbated given the school’s declining football attendance and paltry Pac-12 payouts that lagged those of major conference teams. counterparts. Now it’s conceivable that the Bruins could receive $100 million a year from the Big Ten if the expanded conference can snag the projected $1 billion media rights deal that kicks off in 2024.

This is a major reason why I thought Stanford would be interested in taking USC and UCLA to the Big Ten — that’s another absolutely massive athletic program that could certainly use a cash injection to keep all of its 36 varsity sports.

SONG OF THE DAY. “Pursuing Happiness” by Kid Cudi.

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