top of page

PAC-12 Football: Slow And Steady Loses The Race To Prominence And Relevancy

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

Pac-12 Football
Photo Credit- Asyn on Flickr

It is the classic story of Aesop's fable

"The Tortoise and the Hare."

But when it comes to PAC-12 football, slow and steady does not win the race. Slow and steady can cause hesitation at crucial moments and cause your worst fears of becoming Mr. Irrelevant to come true. Such is the case in college football in 2023.

The PAC-12, the west coast Power 5 conference that has existed in many forms since 1915, is on the verge of losing its status as a premier college football league. In college football expansion and realignment, one must strike while the iron is hot, read the writing on the wall, and decipher the tea leaves. And some of the current PAC-12 schools have done just that.

USC and UCLA have decided to move to the Big Ten and will start playing against their Midwest brethren in 2024. Today, according to reports, Colorado's Board of Regents voted unanimously to return to the Big 12 next season. Better to have something than nothing, the Buffaloes will earn an equal share of $31 million next season. Oregon and Washington, the remaining two teams with any type of brand power, have expressed interest in moving to the Big Ten and rejoining their Trojan and Bruin brothers.

It has been a year of negotiations for a NEW media rights deal and still no deal as of last week at PAC-12 Media Day. To hinder the situation, the PAC-12 has not won an outright national title in football since 2003. And, they have logged inconsistent visits to the College Football Playoff. It's no surprise that with each passing day, the PAC-12 loses its luster and ability to command anywhere near the deal that the Big 12 was able to put together, north of $2 billion starting in 2025.

PAC-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff has borne the brunt of criticism for not delivering. This is in stark contrast to Brett Yormark and the job he has done with the Big 12. He adds four new teams this season, BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF, with large TV markets. Reportedly, Yormark is also considering upgrading his league's basketball footprint by luring reigning national champs UCONN and perennial powerhouse Gonzaga to Big 12 country.

Can the PAC-12 remain a viable Power 5 conference? In addition to not having a new media rights deal in place, they failed to replace the departing Trojans and Bruins, and they failed to ease the fears of the schools regarding the instability of the league.

All of this is ironic when you consider the talent that resides in the conference, especially at the quarterback position. As many as six PAC-12 signal-callers could hear their name called in April 2024 at the NFL Draft, and at least two on Day 1 (USC's Caleb Williams and Washington's Michael Penix Jr.).

So what has the PAC-12 done, you ask? Well, as the fable goes, they found a nice shade tree to lie down under and take a nap in the middle of the race to prominence and relevancy.

And, they lost!



Michigan Football
Blue Screen
bottom of page