Thursday afternoon marked a seismic shift in the landscape of college sports when USC and UCLA announced their decision to join the Big Ten conference.
Questions began to swirl about the dominoes that would come after. Are we on pace for a pair of “superconferences” that dominate college football? Is this just the first of many additions for the Big Ten in the coming months?
The SEC adding Texas and Oklahoma was the proper start of something brewing but with the geographic insanity of two Los Angeles schools joining a midwest conference, it’s clear that anything is possible.
The Big Ten likely isn’t done adding as they look to build into a power that can rival the SEC and bring in astronomical numbers from television money.
Where will the conference go next? What teams are looking to join? Here is a list of 12 schools that could potentially join a Big Ten superconference:
Nov 6, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Oregon Ducks players fans pose for a photo as they celebrate following a 26-16 victory against the Washington Huskies at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
A familiar Rose Bowl foe for the Badgers, Oregon to the Big Ten makes a ton of sense. They’re a school with rich athletic history, the Pac-12 is done as we once knew it, and geography is no longer a factor. The Ducks have reportedly expressed interest in joining, but the Big Ten is currently staying at 16 teams.
Jan 29, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies football head coach Kalen DeBoer speaks at Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Washington has a very similar case to Oregon, and the Huskies have also expressed interest to the conference. The Huskies bring a solid athletic program, a team that has excelled on the football field in recent years, and another school in the new west coast pod of Big Ten teams. Does the conference want them? Time will tell.
Sep 25, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Chris Tyree (25) returns a kick for a touchdown during the second half against the Wisconsin Badgers at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
While many other teams on this list will have the Big Ten in the driver’s seat of whether or not they can join, Notre Dame is in control of their future. The Fighting Irish have a massive, passionate fan base, rich football history, and a global network of support. Their independence from the rest of the football world is likely coming to an end soon. Who will win the Fighting Irish sweepstakes?
Apr 2, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; ESPN personality Andy Katz interviews North Carolina Tar Heels forward Armando Bacot (5) after the game against the Duke Blue Devils during the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament Final Four semifinals at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
If the ACC loses out to a superconference combination of the SEC and Big Ten, the Tar Heels have the power to end up in one of the two major leagues. North Carolina would add to an already stacked basketball conference in a major way.
Mar 26, 2022; San Francisco, CA, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Paolo Banchero (5) holds a piece oft he net as they celebrate their win over the Arkansas Razorbacks in the finals of the West regional of the men’s college basketball NCAA Tournament at Chase Center. The Duke Blue Devils won 78-69. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
You can bet on Duke and North Carolina acting in tandem, similar to what USC and UCLA just did. If one goes, the other is likely to follow.
Mar 5, 2022; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett calls out instructions during the second half against the Louisville Cardinals at KFC Yum! Center. Virginia defeated Louisville 71-61. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Virginia has been rumored to join the Big Ten in the past, and the fit makes a ton of sense. An excellent academic school, a successful well-versed athletic department, and a team potentially leaving the ACC if the ship starts to sink.
during the college football game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and TCU Horned Frogs at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.
With Oklahoma’s move to the SEC, that might be the natural path for the Cowboys as they explore a new conference. If there are two superconferences forming, however, it’s a safe bet that Oklahoma State will end up in one of the two.
Jan 22, 2022; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Miami Hurricanes head football coach Mario Cristobal reacts while hyping up the crowd during the second half between the Miami Hurricanes and the Florida State Seminoles at Watsco Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
It’s hard to imagine the Big Ten not being interested in Miami. Will that interest be reciprocated? If the ACC dominoes start to fall, a program like the Hurricanes will be an attractive add for a superconference.
Nov 27, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange running back Sean Tucker (34) runs through a hole in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Panthers at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Syracuse would bring a rich basketball history and an established brand name out of the ACC. The fit makes a ton of sense, especially if the Big Ten lands North Carolina and Duke.
Georgia Tech guard Michael Devoe (0) dribbles past Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)
There were talks of Georgia Tech to the Big Ten during the last conference realignment, and there will likely be talks between the school and the league this time around. Adding the Atlanta market would expand the Big Ten footprint even further.
Apr 23, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham looks on during the second half of the Utah Spring Football Game at Rice–Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
After Washington and Oregon, Utah is likely next in the Big Ten pecking order if the conference looks to keep expanding west. The Utes have created a football power, and run the state alongside new Big 12 member BYU.
Feb 27, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self speaks about Kansas Jayhawks guard Marcus Garrett (0) after his team defeated the Baylor Bears at Allen Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports
Well, it’s a tale of two sports with Kansas. The Jayhawks bring a blue blood basketball power to the conference alongside a football program that struggles to put it mildly. If the Big 12 continues to lose members, the Jayhawks will be one of the first schools on the move.