It was about this time last summer when we learned both Texas and Oklahoma would be joining the SEC and it seemed at the time that college football as we knew it was in for big changes, the biggest are happening right now in the Big Ten.
Fast forward nearly a year and an even bigger bombshell rocked the landscape of the sport with the announcement that USC and UCLA would be joining the Big Ten conference beginning in 2024.
Needless to say, things are changing rapidly around Penn State Football, within the conference and nationally.
In the aftermath of this realignment, the rumor mills have been swirling in college football circles about what domino would fall next.
Does the Big Ten have more moves to make?
Will Notre Dame be willing to void its contract with the ACC and join the Big Ten?
What could be the next Big Ten shoe to drop?
Reports surfaced that the Big Ten was holding off on further talks with Oregon and Washington from the Pac 12 until they could get a decision out of Notre Dame. Days later, it was being reported that the Pac 12 and Big 12 were on the verge of a merger that would see the two form one super conference that could rival that of the Big Ten and SEC.
The reality of the situation is nobody, including the conference commissioners themselves, know what is going on. The news of USC and UCLA’s moves came out of nowhere, the commissioner of the Pac 12 even admitted he was blindsided by it.
We compiled a list of potential additions to the Big Ten and what kind of impact they could have on Penn State Football moving forward:
The Fighting Irish are the bell of the ball in college football right now.
Every conference in America would welcome Notre Dame with open arms as they are one of the biggest brands in the sport.
The Irish have their own television deal with NBC, and are a quasi member of the ACC with football, but we have learned that can be undone fairly easily. They obviously make geographic sense in the Big Ten and have rivalries with Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue, already.
Notre Dame traveled to Happy Valley in 2007 for the first ever ‘White House’ game at Beaver Stadium, which is now known as the White Out.
These are two historic programs with huge fan bases and having ND in the Big Ten would make for the renewal of that battle and would be great for college football.
Oregon is one of the logical teams everyone will look at as a contender to be the next to the Big Ten, especially after USC and UCLA.
The Ducks have established themselves as one of, if not, the power program out west over the past few seasons. They have one of the best stadiums in the country in Autzen Stadium and have a national brand thanks in large part to their very loud uniforms.
The Nittany Lions met Oregon in a Rose Bowl but has never been to Autzen Stadium.
It would make for one of the best uniform games you’ll find in the sport. Oregon would bring a Big Ten mindset as they are a program built on physical line of scrimmage play and good defense.
Some recruiting exposure in the upper north west could be great for James Franklin and his staff, as only Michal Johnson jr. has come to Happy Valley from that portion of the country in his tenure.
Much like the Oregon Ducks, Washington seems like a logical choice here.
The Huskies have been one of the better programs in the Pac 12 and own the conference’s last playoff appearance which came in 2016, consequently beating out Penn State Football. This is another program with a Big Ten style of play and would immediately make the Big Ten better.
This would be another program that would make for a fun trip for Penn State Football fans to a beautiful stadium set right on the lake in Washington.
This is a team that right now is in a bit of rebuilding mode but in a few years can be back to being nationally relevant and would if them and Oregon joined the Big Ten, could be added to the east while Oregon goes to the West to level the playing field a bit.
Stanford makes a ton of sense academically to join the conference as they are one of the most elite academic institutions in the land, and the Big Ten prides itself on academic standings alongside athletics.
The Cardinal have not been a school mentioned in the potential Pac 12 – Big 12 merger so this is definitely one to watch long term.
Stanford has struggled with Football over the last few seasons, but is consistently solid at both football and basketball and is another Pac 12 program who is built like a BIg Ten team.
David Shaw is a tremendous coach and will have them back to relevancy soon enough. Stanford much like USC and UCLA provides Penn State Football the opportunity for exposure on the west Coast which could do wonders for recruiting.
Duke + North Carolina
We are going to package together the two Tobacco Road rivals together here, as this is probably the long shot of the group.
It would be best for college football if the ACC stuck together and we had four power conferences. But, in the scenario where we really are headed for two mega conferences, these two programs could be very appealing to the Big Ten.
Both Carolina schools are both elite academic universities, and provide more than just a boost with football, they are obviously a huge lift to an already loaded basketball conference.
UNC is on the up with football with Mack Brown at the helm, while Duke is a bottom of the barrel ACC football program. Adding these two on the hardwood would make for a mega conference i basketball but also add a media market to the Big Ten they are not tapped into at the moment.
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