Could There Be A Merger With The Pac-12, ACC?

Jul 5, 2022, 8:55 PM
George Kliavkoff - Pac-12 Media Day...
(Photo courtesy of John McGillen, Pac-12)
(Photo courtesy of John McGillen, Pac-12)

SALT LAKE CITY- In a college football world where anything and everything feels possible, could we see some kind of merger with the Pac-12 and ACC? This is the latest educated opinion coming from John Canzano and there are reasons it makes sense. This might be the least talked about of all the possibilities in front of Utah and the rest of the Pac-12, and it could also just be the answer they are looking for.

How Did We Get Here?

After USC and UCLA announced their intention to leave the Pac-12 in 2024 for the Big Ten, there has been a lot of buzz about what individual teams and the conference as a whole were going to do in response. Up until Tuesday, all the talk seemed to center around the thought teams were leaving- primarily that Oregon and Washington were going to join USC and UCLA  in the Big Ten and Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and ASU were exploring the Big XII (or the Big XII was exploring them).

That buzz appears to have come to a complete stop after the Pac-12 Conference announced they were opening up their media rights for negotiations over the next 30 days. What this seems to indicate is Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff has a plan that the remaining Pac members feel good about.

Once again, most of the thought process when the announcement was released seemed to center on the idea of the Pac-12 and Big XII coming to some sort of arrangement. (Either conference totally taking over the other or working together to merge into a super conference.) However, Canzano and Jon Wilner laid out a case for the ACC which hasn’t been discussed as much in relation to the Pac-12 and has some interesting talking points.

What Would Be Involved In A Pac-12/ACC Merger?

Right now the term “loose partnership” is being used and understandably might be cause for some heartburn amongst Pac-12 fans after what went down with the Big Ten last week. Canzano’s thought on this is the ACC and Pac-12 would have a shared media rights deal with ESPN who currently works with both conferences. This in theory would keep the remaining 10 Pac schools together as more of a division rather than a conference, while also allowing for both the Pac-12 champ and ACC champ to play in a championship game, presumably in Las Vegas.

The one downside is how far apart the conferences are being on opposite coasts, but could offer some interesting match-ups in season- think Utah vs. Clemson or Oregon vs. Miami as an example. The bonus, according to Canzano, is better TV markets than what the Big XII could offer up and money is something the Pac-12 could use more of with USC and UCLA leaving.

Will This Be The Move?

Like every other educated rumor, speculation, or musing involved with the current state of conference realignment, only time will tell. There has been a lot put out there and likely a lot more to come before everything actually shakes out and we know where we are going in terms of college football. It’s been a crazy ride with twists and turns that doesn’t appear to have a resolution yet.

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Could There Be A Merger With The Pac-12, ACC?