What Is The Best Conference Realignment Scenario For The Utah Utes?

Jul 8, 2022, 1:51 PM | Updated: Jul 11, 2022, 9:29 am

Utah Utes - Rose Bowl Game...

The Utah Utes prepare to take the field prior to a game against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl Game at Rose Bowl Stadium on January 01, 2022 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – There are rumors, reports, opinions and so much more swirling around the college football world regarding conference realignment, but what’s best for the Utah Utes?

We asked the KSL Sports team and here are the responses.

Conference Realignment And The Utah Utes

Michelle Bodkin, KSL Sports Utah Utes insider

“There are a lot of different ways conference realignment could ultimately go for Utah, but if we are talking about the absolute best case scenario it has to be eventually finding themselves in the Big Ten.

That doesn’t mean the invite has to happen tomorrow either. It could be a few years down the road.

However, based on what the current trajectory of the sport, it’s hard not to believe that college football won’t eventually end up in two “super conferences”. While I don’t think anyone would complain about an SEC invite, my belief is the Big Ten is a much better athletic, academic and cultural fit for the Utes than anywhere else they could end up.”

Hans Olsen, KSL Sports Zone host

“Utah would eventually be invited to be a part of an exclusive club of programs that will be governed by an independent committee separate from NCAA rule. In the BEST case this club would include 32 teams and give the elite of the elite in the country unprecedented leverage to negotiate a revenue distribution number that rivals the NFL.

Also in this best case scenario, Utah would be nominated as The Home of the BOCF 32 Championship game. Salt Lake City would be the host of college football’s most elite championship game!


Kyle Whittingham retires to take the BOCF commissioner chair and Utah is able to hire Kalani Sitake away from BYU.

You asked for best case….


Sam Farnsworth, Sportsbeat anchor

BEST CASE SCENARIO: Utah gets invited to the Big Ten along with USC, UCLA, Oregon, Washington, Notre Dame. But we all know that is more of a pipe dream.

MORE REALISTIC SCENARIO: Utah remains in the Pac-12 as the conference is able to convince Oregon and Washington to stay. The conference would also then go out and recruit some of the top Big 12 teams and maybe even flip a Big Ten team or two to build back up to 14 or 16 teams. But with no LA market, why would any of those teams want to join a failing Pac-12 conference. Or maybe the Pac-12 alliance with the ACC works out. But that just doesn’t make much sense. So…

MOST LIKELY SCENARIO: Utah joins the Big 12. The Big 12 is not at the same level as the Big Ten or the SEC in football talent or media rights value. But in the midst of this current realignment phase of college football the Big 12 remains one of the most stable college football conferences in the country. Utah, along with three to five other Pac-12 members would be better off joining the Big 12 for its best chance at being included in whatever college football super league is formed in the coming years.

WORST CASE SCENARIO: Oregon and Washington join the Big Ten. The Big 12 takes Nebraska back from the Big Ten and Colorado from the Pac-12 to reunite those old-time rivals. Stanford then goes to the Big Ten to fill the Nebraska void. The Big 12 then adds Arizona and Arizona State to get the Phoenix market and grow the conference to 16 teams.
Utah, Cal, Washington State and Oregon State join the Mountain West Conference to create a 16-team league there. The Utes go full circle and pinch themselves daily in hopes to wake up from this nightmare.

Patrick Kinahan, KSL Sport Zone host

“Best case scenario, Utah would follow Pac-12 counterparts USC and UCLA to the Big 10 in 2024 or shortly thereafter.

From a football perspective, Utah’s program already has proven an ability to compete favorably with all Big Ten teams. But Utah’s only viable option might be to join a revamped Big 12, which has an outstanding football conference even if a cut below the Big Ten.”

Tom Hackett, KSL Sports host/reporter

“The best case scenario for Utah would be to join the Big Ten. It appears that the Big Ten and the SEC will be the two powerhouse conferences, regardless if the Big 12, ACC, and Pac 12 merge, and so it is paramount that Utah joins either the Big 10 or SEC. Big Ten teams closer resemble Utah, and geographically it makes more sence given the incoming of USC and UCLA.

Regardless, the world of college football will forever be changed over the coming months and years. It is quickly becoming a semi-professional sport with the potential for football programs to branch away from their respective colleges and no longer be involved in athletic departments of higher education institutions. Strap yourselves in.”

Ben Anderson, KSL Sports reporter & KSL Sports Zone host

“Utah’s best-case scenario is to hitch its wagon to Oregon and Washington and make its next move with those two schools. The Ducks and the Huskies are the two best teams remaining in the Pac-12, and whether they end up in an expanded Big 12, or remain in the Pac-10 and agree to an alliance with the ACC, the Utes would strengthen their future conference affiliation by aligning with the northwestern powers.”

Mitch Harper, KSL Sports BYU Cougars insider

“The best case scenario for Utah is that they get into the Big Ten Conference. But that doesn’t appear to be an option, nor is the SEC. Maybe in 10 or 20 years if TV executives continue to add to these super two conferences, but not now.

So after that, staying in the Pac-12 would be the move. Utah could be the face of the conference on the field. If the TV money is comparable to the new Big 12, why leave? Each league that isn’t named the Big Ten or SEC is in a volatile spot right now, so make the best of your current situation and take over as the top football property in the Pac, with hopes of one day that turns into a Big Ten invite.”

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What Is The Best Conference Realignment Scenario For The Utah Utes?