The Oregon Duck walks away from the Washington Husky mascot during the game Credit: The Register Guard

Conference realignment armageddon is fully upon us once again. After a series of dramatic turns that even the best soap opera writers couldn’t imagine, the Pac-12 is on the verge of being relegated to the history books and the Big Ten may have landed the decisive blow to their longtime Rose Bowl partners and rivals.

Late Friday, the Big Ten officially announced that Pac-12 stalwarts Oregon and Washington would join the conference alongside UCLA and USC in 2024, bringing the Big Ten to a staggering 18 teams.

The intrigue and drama went back and forth for hours on Friday as the fate of the Pac-12 held in the balance and seemingly yo-yo’d between survival and capitulation on the hour. Finally, it became clear that Oregon and Washington were Big Ten bound. It became official in the early evening hours with both schools and the conference issuing their own announcements.

And here is the announcement from the Big Ten on the addition of the two northwest programs:

The Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors (COP/C) voted unanimously today to admit the University of Oregon and the University of Washington to the Big Ten Conference effective August 2, 2024, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2024-25 academic year. With the schools’ admission, Oregon and Washington will also join the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA), a consortium of world-class research institutions dedicated to advancing their academic missions.
“I’m thrilled that the University of Oregon has the opportunity to join the nation’s preeminent academic-athletic conference,” said University of Oregon President John Karl Scholz. “Our student-athletes will participate at the highest level of collegiate athletic competition, and our alumni, friends, and fans will be able to carry the spirit of Oregon across the country.”
“The Big Ten is a thriving conference with strong athletic and academic traditions, and we are excited and confident about competing at the highest level on a national stage,” said University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce. “My top priority must be to do what is best for our student-athletes and our University, and this move will help ensure a strong future for our athletics program.”

“The Big Ten Presidents and Chancellors are pleased to welcome the University of Oregon and the University of Washington to the Big Ten Conference,” said COP/C Chair and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Robert Jones. “When considering the full spectrum of academic, athletic and research excellence, the alignment with our member institutions is extremely clear. We are excited to welcome them and look forward to collaborating and competing with them in the years ahead.”

Oregon and Washington have long been rumored as potential Big Ten targets after the conference shocked the college athletics world by adding USC and UCLA last year, but the conference was for whatever reason resistant to go for the nuclear option, even reportedly up until earlier this week. That mindset has seemingly changed almost overnight this week as the Pac-12’s long-awaited media contract finally came into view in a fledgling streaming deal with Apple. With the payout per school falling well short of their peers, the Pac-12 exodus began.

First, it was Colorado to the Big 12, then Arizona, and finally, Washington and Oregon were able to receive a golden ticket from the Big Ten, albeit at a reduced rate compared to their new peers.

It seems as if the next step will be the other “Four Corners” schools (Arizona State and Utah) taking the Big 12 to 16 teams and the remaining Pac-12 schools (Stanford, Cal, Washington State, Oregon State) without a seat at the table. Pour one out for those schools, rivalries, and traditions that have been passed over in the name of television contracts.

On the field, Oregon and Washington are a monumental addition to the conference. While they may not bring the history (or the market) of USC and UCLA, they represent two teams that have made it to the final four in the College Football Playoff era. Something that Rutgers and Maryland certainly can’t say. With television money driving everything, clearly, the Big Ten felt like these schools represented additional value and inventory as their new media deal will see them on national television on three separate networks – Fox, CBS, and NBC.

The Big Ten may not have wanted to kill off the Pac-12, but felt like they had to in keeping up with the realignment race. After all, let’s not pretend that college football is about history and pageantry and tradition anymore.

There are TV shows to produce.

[Big Ten]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to